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Fast and Furious: A Day In The Life Of The Ontario Fury Dance Team

The Ontario Fury are one of the newest teams in the PASL, the Professional Arena Soccer League, and this past Saturday, they held their inaugural game against the Toros Mexico at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.  And as some of you may know, the Fury have a dance team, the Ladies of the Ontario Fury…and they are a sight to behold.

In honor of their first game of their inaugural season, I thought it would be interesting to feature the dance team and provide our readers with an idea of what a day in the life of an Ontario Fury dance team member is all about.  So I contacted Lynae de Leon, the Director of Community Relations and the Dance Team Director and arranged for a media credential to cover the squad.

Game day begins early for the members of the dance team and with this being the inaugural game in a new arena, the dancers arrived at 4:00 pm to get familiar with their new facility and rehearse on the field for the very first time.

If you recognize some of the dancers as former members of the Anaheim Bolts Dance Team it is because the ownership group, led by Bernie Lilavois, are the same as the old Anaheim Bolts.  They switched cities and have started anew in the city of Ontario, California, a much more soccer savvy locale.  And having previously covered the Anaheim Bolts Dance Team in their old home, I can say that the Citizens Business Bank Arena, a first class facility, is definitely an upgrade over their previous digs.  The field turf is newer and I think the playing area is larger, being played on what appears to be the Ontario Reign’s hockey rink.  At a minimum, the field turf is more level and even.  The old field in the Anaheim Convention Center was lumpy and there were gaps in the turf.

Oh and the different logo at midfield…well I was told that the Fury’s turf was in transit from the mid west and wouldn’t arrive in time for this game, so the San Diego Sockers generously allowed the Fury the use of their field.

At the conclusion of the rehearsal, Lynae went over the schedule for the evening’s entertainment.  The Ladies of the Ontario Fury would perform two dances on the field and host a number of game night promotions, so she wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page and knew where and when they had to be for each event.  Now that is very important because to get from one side of the arena to the other, you have to delve into the inner sanctum of the Citizens Business Bank Arena to circumnavigate the field.  In this arena, the seating area extends right next to the playing field and fans are literally inches away from the action.  What does that mean?  A lot of scurrying around from one end of the arena to the other in order for the dance team to be in place for each event.  This was quite a change from the Anaheim Convention Center, where all you have to do to get from one side of the field to the other, is just walk around the dasher boards.

After rehearsal, the girls made their way to their dressing room to change into their new The Line Up designed uniforms.  It was near 5:00 pm and they had about an hour to freshen up and do their hair and make up before their first appearance of the night. So a little before 6:00 pm, I was let into their dressing room to snap a few photos of them getting ready.

A few of the girls were touching up their make up.  A couple of them were fueling up for the long evening ahead.  And most took photos of each other for posterity.  Who would have thought, girls taking selfies of themselves.  I had to excuse myself…I’m kind of sensitive to airborne allergens and the mix of perfume and hairspray was getting to me.

At 6:00 pm, the dance team made their way to the two main entrances to meet and greet the fans.  I tried to follow them upstairs, but an officious security guard stopped me and made me walk all the way around the arena because the girls passed by the team locker rooms and that was off limits to media credentialed people.  I had to take the long way round.   So, five minutes later and walking three fourths the way around the arena, I reconnected with the dance team at the main entrance.  They were passing out team newspapers and posing for photographs with the excited fans.

So I spotted a nice area to take a few posed photos of the dance team as I am inclined to do so at these types of events, but I was only able to photograph two girls, Christine and Michelle, before they were ushered back downstairs to their dressing room.

Time flies on by during these game nights.  Next time, I shall be more conscientious about the passage of time and make sure I photographs of everyone on the squad for our readers.

About 15 minutes before the start of the game, the squad gathered in the hallway near one of the team entrances.  Lynae consulted her schedule and made sure she had all the promotional items that were to be used.  The girls were getting psyched up for game night, some mugged shamelessly in front of the camera….this camera.

Five minutes before player introductions, the dance team gathered for the prayer circle and words of inspiration.

And then it was time for player introductions and the national anthems of Mexico and the United States.

I had a sense that this was going to be a rough night for the visiting Toros because when their entire team is shorter than half of the Ontario Fury Dance Team…well…you know.

As the game began, half of the squad was assigned to do meet and greets and the other half made their way to a little platform at the top of the concourse area to perform during stoppages of play and goals.  Now if you’ve never been to a PASL soccer game, the action is fast and furious.  It’s like arena football for soccer and it’s played on a smaller, more intimate field which creates fast paced action and plenty of goal scoring.  And with more scoring…there’s more dancing!

 

The girls were scheduled to perform on the field at the break between the first and second quarters, so with about five minutes left on the game clock, the girls made their way down to the tunnel on the opposite side of the arena.  After an rather circuitous walk half way around the arena, we arrived with a few minutes to spare.  Some of the girls stretched out and some of them rehearsed the dance routine.

The horn sounded signalling the end of the first quarter and then it was show time.  The girls ran onto the field and I followed to get to my shooting position to photograph their dance.

Ninety seconds later, we rushed off the field because the second quarter was about to start.  A fast and furious dance indeed.  The same girls made their way back to the other side of the arena to assume their duties on the platform.  There was some downtime between Fury goals, so I snapped a few posed photos.

Once again, with five minutes on the game clock, the dance team members made their way down to the tunnel for their second and final dance performance of the evening.  After the soccer players made their way past the dance team to their locker rooms, I followed the girls once again to the playing field to shoot their final routine.

With their final dance performance in the books, the girls retired to their dressing room to change into Halloween costumes for the second half.  Since they were not going to perform again, the Halloween costumes would be a nice little bonus for fans of the dance team.  I made my way into the bowels of the Citizens Business Bank Arena to get to the employee break room to seek out the vending machines.  I was inexplicably thirsty and a $1.50 bottle of water would hit the spot quite nicely.  Photographing the hottest dance team in the PASL is thirsty work!

After gulping down the bottle of water, I found my way back to the stage area near the concourse and shortly thereafter, the other half of the dance team returned dressed up in their Halloween costumes.  Let’s see, there was Wonder Woman, Rocket Man, A Sailor Girl, a girl in a Kimono, a girl in a Ring Master costume, Poison Ivy, and a Gypsy Girl.  And like before, I took the opportunity to snap a few posed photos…because that’s what you do when you have some gorgeous cheerleaders in Halloween costumes standing in front of you.

Curiously, none of them came dressed as a cheerleader for Halloween.  I hear it is one of the most popular costumes for women, but…hmm?  Oh well.

As the third quarter passed into the fourth, the girls danced and shimmied after each Fury goal.  And there was a lot of scoring as the Fury beat the Toros 16 – 8.

As the fourth quarter began to wind down, the rest of the squad began to filter into our section as their promotional responsibilities were fulfilled.   I couldn’t help but notice that the Ontario Fury Dance Team were celebrities in the eyes of three young female fans, who shyly asked for each girl’s autograph during the lulls in the game action.

Yes, these girls are role models for the young and at this game there were many young people in attendance.  The Ontario Fury is a sports team that really is family friendly.  There’s a lot of soccer action and owner Bernie Lilivois has upped the entertainment value by having an enjoyable dance team that also serve as team ambassadors when not performing.

As the game ended, the dance team made their way back to their dressing room via the concourse, stopping to pose for photos and sign autographs.  It must have taken them better part of twenty minutes to make their way to the other side of the arena.  I followed them for a bit, but when I reached the main entrance, it was clear that my time was done.  My feet were killing me and it was time for me to go home and take a load off my puppies.  I am an old man, after all.

For those of you who were keeping track, it was near 10:00 pm.  Since arriving a little before 4:00 pm, the dance team rehearsed for almost an hour, walked almost a mile getting to and fro, danced for pretty much the entire game, and did meet and greets at game’s end.  This all made for one long day.

So, I hope you have gotten a sense of what a day in the life of an Ontario Fury Dance Team member is like.   It’s a long day and some of it is fast and furious.

I would like to thank Bernie LilivoisLynae de Leon, Bill Norris and the Ladies of the Ontario Fury for allowing me unfettered access in covering the dance team.  I had a wonderful time and I hope to see you soon.

 

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For more cheerleader article and photos, please visit my personal website: thehottestdanceteam.wordpress.com.

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