Unir–A Spanish word to unite, bind, join, combine, etc. As in “ties that bind multiple cultures”. We asked cheerleaders Katie and Shayla to tell us about UNIR. Note: The Miami Dolphins, as an organization, is strongly committed to community initiatives.
1) Katie and Shayla, we always start our Ultimate Cheerleader chats with you introducing yourself in detail to our readers.
- SHAYLA: Hi everybody! My name is Shayla and this is my 2nd season as a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader and my first season as a co-captain. In 2018, I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from New World School of the Arts. Recently, I’ve began my journey to getting a second degree; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and plan to graduate in 2022 to then continue my schooling in hopes of becoming a Nurse Practitioner and beginning my career in the medical field.
- KATIE: I started dancing when I was four years old! My parents enrolled me in the dance studio as a way to make friends. I went to New World School of the Arts for my freshman and sophomore year of high school and then finished through an online schooling service. At 16 I traveled back and forth to upstate New York to dance with a modern dance company. I attended NYU and received my BFA in Dance in 2016. I’ve studied ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, flamenco, pointe and partnering. In addition to dance, I also minored in nutrition and after graduating, I received my certification in Fitness Nutrition and as a Personal Trainer through NASM. I currently work at Orangetheory fitness as a coach!
2) What kind of show is UNIR? Entire squad involved?
- SHAYLA: UNIR is a dance showcase that will include our entire squad showing our expertise in lots of different styles of dance, from ballet to our well known cheer dance style that we perform on game days.
- KATIE: UNIR will be exactly what it means. We plan on further uniting and bringing our community together, not only as an NFL Cheerleading squad, but as a whole. Our team represents diversity, humility and strength in that, so we aim to showcase those qualities with some amazing and talented guests who will be performing with us.
3) How exciting will this stage opportunity be?
- SHAYLA: It’s been a while since I’ve truly performed in a dance showcase in a beautiful theater like the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and I must say I’m elated. I’ve always loved the magical feeling of being on the stage in front of a massive audience, with lights beaming on you from all sides. It’s truly a feeling that you will never forget.
4) What is the prep work like for UNIR?
- SHAYLA: Preparing for UNIR is not an easy task. It takes a lot of long hours of learning the choreography, to then work to make the vision of each piece a reality. Nonetheless, it’s an extremely fun process. Being surrounded by your best friends and all being able to do what you love is honestly the best feeling.
- KATIE: We’ll begin rehearsals the first week of December! Usually we take a break from consistent practice throughout the off season but not this year — we’ll be using that time to prep for our show!
5) What is it like to dance along all these different styles, influences?
- SHAYLA: It’s incredibly exciting! We get to be immersed in a style that we may have trained in before or may be exposed to a style we’ve never even heard of. But all in all, we get to tap into a different side of ourselves in order to portray that style to the best of our abilities.
- KATIE: I’m really interested to see how jumping back into technical dance styles is going to feel physically for me. But I’m very excited to get back into some of my favorite styles that I haven’t practiced since college.
6) How do you feel about the change from the fashion show to this event?
- SHAYLA: Of course we all enjoyed the glitz and glam that we were able to be a part of in the fashion show, and so it will be missed. But I’m also very excited to break bounds and initiate the important conversations that need to be discussed in this world by being a part of this new tradition that we’re creating, entitled UNIR.
- KATIE: I personally feel that UNIR will be more significant in making a difference. I’m happy we’re changing it up this season and aiming for a performance level and venue that’s even more incredible than our fashion shows in past seasons. We’ve been developing our image as NFL cheerleaders and I think this show will represent exactly what that image is. We’re very lucky to have an organization that wants to showcase our talents and celebrate them in order to bring our community together.
Thank you Shayla and Katie. We are buying our tickets now. See HERE.