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Scenes from the Clippers Spirit Audition Prep Class

2009-spirit-prep-class_32There was a great turnout for yesterday’s Clippers Spirit audition prep class! It was a terrific opportunity for aspiring dance team candidates to meet the Director, Audrea Harris, Assistant Director Cheryl Aure-Azurin, and a few Spirit alumni: Jessie, Brittany, Nicole, Melissa, and Brilane. (Click here for photos.)

Most of the afternoon was spent learning and performing a new combination choreographed by Cheryl. First, The Spirit girls (who had only learned the dance an hour beforehand) performed for the class, and then Cheryl started breaking down the counts. I swear, I hear that “Boom Boom Pow” song every day, and I had no idea the tempo was so fast.

Cheryl taught an 8-ct or two, then the group would do it a few times with the counts, then they’d do it a couple of times with music, and then she’d teach the next 8-ct. The Spirit girls were spread out in the crowd to help demonstrate and answer questions.

After they’d learned the whole combination and done it a few times, Audrea and Cheryl had them perform it in groups of six. Afterward, Audrea said they’d done very well, but she wanted them to try it again and really perform it – smile, attack the moves, keep it sharp, and make it clean. All of the girls took that advice to heart , and the second round of performances was really fun to watch.

Lesson learned: You can’t underestimate the importance of “selling” your performance.

It was a fast couple of hours. After all of the dancing was over, some girls had to leave, but most stayed for a Q&A session. There were lots of questions about everything – the audition process, what to wear, game night, choreographers, professionalism, time commitment, and balancing life as a Spirit Dancer with your life as a student, employee, race car driver, poet, turkey farmer, or whatever else you have going on.

There were lots and lots of questions.

By the end of the day, all of the girls had a MUCH better idea of what to expect and how to prepare for auditions. Tryouts aren’t for another 4 weeks, so the girls have a good amount of time to work on anything that needs to be improved between now and then.

Speaking for myself, I can’t wait to see these girls bring it on audition day. See you July 25th, ladies!

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Nets Audition Blog

Final Decisions, Finally
By Nets Dancer Bonnie
New Jersey Nets
June 24, 2009

Hi Nets Fans! It’s official — the newest Nets Dancers have been chosen, and I think it’s going to be a fantastic team! Hundreds of girls faced a grueling audition process, and the judges chose the elite to represent the Nets Basketball this upcoming season.

The audition routine for the finals, choreographed by Jon Rua, pushed all of the dancers past their comfort zones and allowed the judges to see who could dance in a new and innovative style. Jon’s choreography has been seen on the court of the IZOD Center before: this past season, he choreographed the fan favorite “Strings,” as well as my favorite piece to perform, “Past-Present,” an upbeat hip-hop routine that incorporated “Juicy” and “Move If You Wanna.”

The young ladies who were chosen for the team all exuded confidence, performed to their best ability, and showed the maturity and technique that are expected of Nets Dancers. After the judges made their final decision, I was elated and honored to be the first number called to join the 2009-10 Nets Dancers!! I’m happy to say that all 13 returning members who re-auditioned made it back. We’re also excited to have a returning member back from two seasons ago, Marla! We also have two brand new girls, Terrie and Jen, who both killed the audition and impressed the judges enough to earn a spot on the team. Meeting them for the first time and seeing how overjoyed they were, I remembered how incredible it felt to be called last year.

The night of final auditions was exciting and stressful, but more than one day’s work went into this process. I had been preparing by following a rigorous gym routine as well as eating healthy. Being a dancer, music has a big impact on me, and an energizing mix on my iPod helped me to stay focused. Here’s a small sample:

1. “Shooting Star (Remix)” – LMFAO
2. “The Fame” – Lady Gaga
3. “Showdown” – Black Eyed Peas
4. “What a Feeling” – Peter Luts ft. Dominico
5. “Champion” – Kanye West

I’ve also looked for inspiration from the world of dance. When I’m not dancing for the Nets, I’m teaching at Dance Arts Academy. The students are preparing for the finale to their year, Nationals in Wildwood. Rehearsing with them and seeing how much hard work and love they put into each of their routines, I am reminded of how passionate I am about this art and how fortunate I am to have it as such a large part of my life.

My favorite summer show has also started up, So You Think You Can Dance. The contestants this season are all phenomenal. Seeing all the creative routines they’ve performed the past couple weeks has gotten me pumped up for another season working with my talented teammates and our ground-breaking choreographers.

I am so proud of our new team, and cannot wait to start a new and thrilling season. I know that I will continue to grow and mature as a dancer and a young woman during my next year with the Nets Dancers, and I look forward to watching my teammates do the same. Congratulations, ladies!!

2009-10 A-Town Dance Team

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Atlanta Hawks: Finals are over, and the 2009-10 A-Town dance team has been named! (Click here to view photos from finals.)

One spot is left though. The voting is now closed, but check back Thursday to see which of the remaining three finalists will join the team. In the meantime, click here to meet the three finalists.

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Last NBA Dance Team Standing

Congratulations to the Laker Girls and the Los Angeles Lakers on winning the 2009 NBA Championship.

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And a sincere thank you to all the NBA Dance Teams who make watching an NBA game so special.

SI Gallery Update – NBA

Click here to check out the Los Angeles Laker Girls on game day, at SportsIllustrated.com

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Vote for your favorite A-Town Finalists

Click here to go to the Atlanta Hawks website and vote for your top three picks to make the 2009-10 Atlanta Hawks A-Town Dancers!

You can also click here to view photos from finalist boot camp!

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Magic Dancers at NBA Finals

The Orlando Magic basketball players aren’t the only ones working hard during Finals. The Magic Dancers are also breaking a sweat to keep the crowds entertained. Click here to view photos from last night’s game in Orlando.

The Science Cheerleader

By DeliaTheArtist
for Current.com

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In 1991, Darlene Cavalier was a professional cheerleader for the 76ers. Today however, she’s cheering for a different team – Citizen Science!

“Citizen Scientists aren’t waiting for an invitation to get involved. They are literally changing the way science gets done,” Darlene says. Her website, ScienceCheerleader.com, is a wealth of information as well as THE resource for anyone who wants to get more involved with science efforts in their communities. “It’s important that the citizen scientists get something out of the project and for that to happen researchers must believe that the public is capable of more than just data entry. Volunteers should be given the opportunity to ask questions and draw upon the data. In its most successful forms, citizen scientists even help shape science policy.”

ScienceCheerleader.com’s Project Finder helps connect people with scientific projects in their area of interest. What are some examples of things people can do? “Tag butterflies to help track their migratory habits, count fireflies to help researchers better understand why they appear to be diminishing in some places but not others (talk about a fun family project; my kids and I learned how to differentiate between males, females and stealth predators!), sort through galaxies, help meteorologists predict weather patterns, record earthquakes, help project flu outbreaks, you name it!”

Darlene is also working on having more user generated content on her site as well as “a full-functioning Mother-of-all-Citizen-Science websites” – read my entire interview with Darlene Cavalier, The Science Cheerleader, in this awesome 4th installment of Science is Speaking! [Click here]

Laker Girls: One tough assignment

By Matt Calkins
The Press Enterprise
May 26, 2009

LOS ANGELES – In what form, I don’t know. From which religion, I couldn’t tell you.

And even though it might prompt letters, I’m gonna say this with firm conviction: There is a God.

Here’s an email from my boss last week to prove it.

Subject: Column idea

Matt,
(An editor) was browsing through the media guide and noticed there were two Laker Girls from Corona and Temecula. See what you can do.

I scrolled down thinking I might find Bill Gates’ pin number, too.

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The assignment was to interview Corona’s Richelle Rodriguez and Temecula’s Lindsey Tuer in hopes of better understanding what it’s like to be part of the NBA’s most famous dance team.

So last Thursday, before the Lakers met the Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, I trudged down to Staples Center ready to (cough) work.

Tuer actually had the night off, so my only face-to-face would be with Rodriguez, whom I’d arranged to speak with at 4:30 p.m. But alas, after waiting outside the Laker Girls dressing room for about 25 minutes, it was 4:40 and I still hadn’t seen her.

“Nobody’s walked out of there in the last 10 minutes, right?” I asked an usher.

“No,” he responded. “But if you need to talk to someone in there, just knock.”

Knock on the Laker Girls dressing-room door? I thought. Isn’t that something you win in a “Price is Right” showcase?

But I did so nonetheless, and was pointed down the hall to Laker Girl director, Lisa Estrada, the point of contact for all team members.

“Where would you like to do the interview?,” Estrada asked.

Um…my high school reunion? I thought.

“In the stands is fine,” I said.

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Now, if for some reason you’re ever asked to describe to a sketch artist what you think a Laker Girl might look like, you’ll end up with a portrait of Rodriguez. The 20-year-old is a Colgate, Noxema and Pantene Pro V commercial all rolled into one…yet still manages to come off a little shy.

Turns out dancing has long been the lubricant that’s helped Rodriguez wriggle out of her shell – not to mention a talent that earned her the title of Youngest Laker Girl when she made the team as an 18-year-old last year.

Right now she’s studying dance at Riverside Community College with aspirations of a career in make-up artistry.

Tuer, who I talked with over the phone, is a 23-year-old Temecula Valley High grad living in Huntington Beach. Now in her fourth year with the squad, she works as a bartender and song-leading coach at El Toro High, and hopes to make it in the entertainment industry.

After talking to each for about a half an hour, here’s what some of my extensive (this darn cough won’t go away) research revealed.

1. The Laker Girls are bright: Think mascara is the only three-syllable word they know? Not so much. Past squad members have included medical students, financial analysts, pharmaceutical reps and college professors. Granted… they might occasionally get one of these, but still.

2. The Laker Girls are big-hearted: In addition to the bi-weekly practices and 48 games per season, they attend three to five charitable functions per week, ranging anywhere from the Make-a-Wish Foundation to local volunteer projects. I believe they are also the leading cause of philanthropy in males 18-40.

3. The Laker Girls are brutal: Before each game, the ladies lock hands in a circle, shout something alliteratively sadistic toward the Lakers’ opponents and yell “huh!” Examples? “Nail the Nuggets!” “Bomb the Blazers!” “Slaughter the Suns!”

“You don’t say ‘Murder the Magic’, do you?” I asked Tuer.

“Probably,” she said with a laugh. “We’re pretty hardcore.”

The audition process is no less merciful. Only 22 of the 500-plus women who tried out made the team this season – and everyone has to re-audition each year.

Oh, and how do you know if you made the first cut? Easy. A judge didn’t walk by and snip your wristband off.

It should be pointed out that the Laker Girls are not allowed to fraternize with the players themselves.

I did, however, ask Lakers guard Sasha Vujajic if he’s ever been distracted by them during a game.

“Never,” he said.

Sounds about right.

First of all, getting to the NBA generally requires a healthy supply of focus. And second – the Laker Girls are actually one of the more conservatively dressed dance teams in the league.

“I always laugh when guys are afraid that taking a picture with us is going to get them in trouble with their wife or girlfriend,” Rodriguez said. “I mean, it’s not like we’re the Hooters girls.”

Hey boss, I got an idea for a follow-up.

Final Wizards Girl Named

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Washington Wizards: Congratulations to Javai for being voted in as the last Wizard Girl. Javai was one of two participants that were put in a contest to determine who would receive the last spot on the Wizard Girls. Voting ran from Monday morning through Wednesday at noon. To see more on the 2009-10 Wizard Girls Auditions please click here.

SI Gallery Update – NBA

The Cleveland Cavalier Girls are featured in this week’s Sports Illustrated NBA dance team gallery. Click here to view the game day action.

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A-Town Hopefuls Prepare for Auditions

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Access Atlanta: Dancers from across the Southeast attended a prep clinic for the A-Town Dancers preliminary audition, which will be held Sunday, June 7. Those who are selected will perform at Atlanta Hawks games at Philips Arena. Photos

Laker Girl Fitness Profile: Annika

How did you prepare for Laker Girls auditions this summer?

I stepped up my workout routine by doing extra cardio and really focusing on stretching, since flexibility is important at auditions. I also worked on increasing my stamina since the first day of auditions is a very long day and requires a lot of energy.

What other styles of dance do you do outside of Laker Girls rehearsals to maintain your skills?

I love taking hip hop and jazz classes, and I really need to get back into ballet too!

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Do you do anything outside of dance to stay fit (ie swimming, biking, etc.)?

I love doing cardio at the gym, and I also love hiking when I get a chance to go.

Take us through your typical workout. Do you use weights, cardio, flexibility exercises? If so, please describe.

I start out with 30-45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine. Right after that, I stretch because I like stretching when my muscles are still warm. From there, I move on to my favorite weights/resistance exercises–squats, lunges, sit-ups, and various exercises on the large exercise ball.

What do you eat to stay healthy/maintain energy?

I love having eggs with avocado, and fruit on the side for breakfast. It starts my day off right and gives me the energy I need to get going. My favorite lunch is a turkey sandwich or a fruit smoothie, and for dinner I love having a fresh piece of fish with asparagus and couscous! I love having original tart flavor frozen yogurt for dessert because it’s only about 90 calories per serving and absolutely delicious!

Talk about the importance of stretching, yoga or Pilates in your workout.

Stretching is absolutely essential as a dancer, and I love doing it because it is calming and relaxing for me. I love Pilates because it strengthens my core, which in turn makes me a sharper, stronger dancer. Yoga is extremely therapeutic and beneficial for me too. Its simplicity makes it great for beginners too.

How do you balance dancing vs. other fitness related activities?

I like to workout at the gym every other day (the days we do not have practice), so that I’m active everyday and I can alternate activities.

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Who made you aware of the importance of staying fit?

Honestly, I picked it up on my own when I was in college and realized I had gained about 8 of the Freshman 15. I’m pretty self-motivated because I like feeling fit and in good shape. But, I’m also inspired by the trainers at the gym because of their dedication to fitness.

What do you find a “nutritional snack” during the day? In addition, tell us about your favorite meal to eat that you find healthy for your lifestyle.

I love, love, love Fuji Apples–they are a sweet, nutritional snack and they fill me up just enough to hold me over between meals.

What advice would you give to Lakers fans about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

I would say to make diet and exercise equally important–they go hand in hand and both are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Don’t jip yourself by only doing one or the other.

Do you have an everyday helpful, healthy tips for any of the Lakers Fans?

Drink lots of water!! It gives you energy and is so much better for you than soda and most other drinks. It also helps with portion control because it fills you up.

More Laker Girl fitness profiles, here.

SI Gallery Update – NBA

The San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers are featured this week. Go to SportsIllustrated.com to check it out.

Houston Rockets Power Dancers Dunk

Here’s a sneak peak at the sort of footage you’ll be seeing on the UltimateCheerleaders.com TV show: