Time Magazine: NBA Teams Are Slowly Eliminating All-Female Dance Squads. Dancers Say That’s Sexist.

From Time Magazine

NBA Teams Are Slowly Eliminating All-Female Dance Squads. Dancers Say That’s Sexist.

By Paige Skinner

July 29, 2019

On May 15, an executive with the Sacramento Kings told 48 female contract employees on a conference call that the team would be “evolving” their dance squad, and the women’s contracts would end June 30.

The 48 women made up the official Kings Dancers, the elderly dance team The Classics, and the dance team for the G-League affiliate, the Stockton Kings. The Breakers, a break-dancing team made up of seven male dancers, were not on the call, nor were the co-ed entertainment teams: The Dunking Ushers, Drumline, 91Sticks, and the Sacramento Kings Street Team.

According to two women who were on the call, the executive told them that the Kings were moving in a “more inclusive” direction and would eliminate the three all-female teams, replacing the Kings Dancer and The Classics with a co-ed hip-hop team called the 916 Crew, and replacing the Stockton Kings dancers with a co-ed multi-discipline street team called 209 Hype. The women were encouraged to try out, but were not guaranteed a spot on the new teams—the same process required of them each season. One member of The Classics joked during the call, “I think I can hip, but I don’t think I can hop.”

Kellie Jackson and Mariah Palmiter, both Kings Dancers since 2016, were on the 30-minute call. Palmiter asked if the April hiring of the new Kings head coach, Luke Walton, had anything to do with eliminating the all-female dance teams. Just a few weeks earlier, former Spectrum SportsNet reporter Kelli Tennant had filed a civil lawsuit against Walton accusing him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2014. Walton has categorically denied the allegations.

Palmiter found the timing suspicious, wondering if the organization was worried about showcasing young female dancers while dealing with the accusations against Walton. But she says when she asked this question, she was told, “We’d like to keep this a productive call.”

A Kings spokesperson told TIME: “[The decision to evolve the dance teams] was discussed internally for months and was finalized before the end of season.”

In the past 14 months, eight of the 30 NBA teams have replaced their all-female dance teams with co-ed groups. It’s a trend that some dancers say reflects a fraught societal response to the #MeToo movement: If there’s any chance you could be accused of sexism, just distance yourself from women. Others wonder if franchises are eliminating all-female squads because of prior pushes for better pay and working conditions. NBA teams insist they are merely diversifying their entertainment squads, but dancers, many of whom have trained and aspired to be on these teams for years, say the decision to replace all-female teams is itself sexist, reducing the number of good career opportunities for women.

NBA dancers have been part of the league for more than 30 years, and while their positions are typically part-time, many dancers say they spend more than 20 hours per week learning, practicing, and performing the dances at games. They also represent the team publicly, volunteering in the community and appearing at events to dance or sign autographs.

Palmiter says the decision feels like “a slap in the face.”

“We were always fighting our own organization to get the credit, attention, and respect that we deserved,” she says, “and in hindsight they were already pushing us out of the door.”

Read the rest of the article at Time.com.

Listen to the Latest Pro Cheerleading Podcast – Mean Gurl: How To Deal With Mean Girls On The Squad

Mean Gurl: How To Deal With Mean Girls On The Squad

Brittany and Mhkeeba take on the difficult, but very real, topic of mean girls on pro cheerleading teams. The ladies know all too well that it’s not always peaches and cream in terms of squad dynamics. They explore what defines mean girl behavior and how it shows up in the pro cheerleading world based on their own experiences and those of their listeners who wrote in questions and topics for the episode. The ladies discuss why mean girls even exist in the first place and conclude with some sound advice for dancers, squad leaders and even directors on how to deal with mean girls on the squad. This week’s Cheer Chat includes the latest update on NBA auditions and discuss a cool appearance by the Jacksonville Jaguars Roar cheerleaders performing with Sonny Kiss, a pro wrestler from All Elite Wrestling. Survey results have been steadily pouring in so Mhkeeba and Brittany share some of the highlights from the feedback from their listeners. During Locker Talk, the ladies bravely share their own mean girl confessions and give advice on how everyone can strive to do better to eliminate mean girl behavior in their lives.

Click here to listen to the lastest episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast.

Pro Cheerleading Podcast: An Interview with Lisa Zaragoza, Coach of Portland Trail Blazers Rip City Crew All Male Dance Team

Like A Boy: Interview with Lisa Zaragoza, Coach of Portland Trail Blazers Rip City Crew All Male Dance Team

Brittany and Mhkeeba interview Lisa Zaragoza, the Coach of the all male Rip City Crew for the Portland Trail Blazers and get the inside scoop on what it’s like working with professional male dancers.

Lisa shares her dance background and how she became one of the hottest choreographers for NBA, college and high school teams. The ladies learn about her experience as a BlazerDancer for the Portland Trail Blazers for five seasons and a member of the 2014 NBA All-Star Dance Team. Lisa explains how she balances it all and also finds time to be the Coach of her alma mater, Oregon Cheer!

During Cheer Chat, Mhkeeba and Brittany give an update on NBA auditions and squad selections. They also discuss the number of NBA teams that have formed all male hip hop crews. The ladies get to know Lisa better during Drop It Like It’s Hot!

Click here to listen to the latest episode of the Pro Cheerleader Podcast.

Check Out the Latest Episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast

The Climb: The Journey of Rookie Year

Alright, you made it through auditions and became a pro cheerleader, now what?!? Join Brittany and Mhkeeba as they discuss the journey of rookie year that often times can be very difficult to navigate. The ladies begin with the typical squad business that happens when you first make the team – photo shoots, long practices to learn dance routines, boot camp, and promo appearances. They also discuss the biggest mistakes and lessons learned from their rookie year on the squad. Cheer Chat includes an NBA auditions update and discussion of some NFL cheerleading teams bio photo shoots, calendar magazines and squad mini camp. During this week’s Locker Talk, Mhkeeba and Brittany share some scoop on mistakes they made rookie year.

To listen to the latest episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast, click here.

Check out the Latest Episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast

I Wanna Be Your Lover: Love & Relationships as a Pro Cheerleader

Between managing a full-time job, school, time with friends and family, dance practices and games, when is there time for love?? Mhkeeba and Brittany invite their BFF of the show, Lindsay Rosenberg, to return for a deep dive into love and relationships. The ladies cover everything from insecurity, jealousy, first dates, marriage and your most important relationship – the one you have with yourself. Listen closely as the ladies share the truth behind the poms and discuss how difficult it can be to manage relationships while pursuing the dream of becoming a pro cheerleader. Cheer Chat includes a very important update and last call to action to elevate the voices of pro dancers about what is happening to female dance teams in the NBA. The ladies also discuss the P-R-O and Pro Action Dance professional dance conventions held every summer in Atlanta and Las Vegas. Lindsay turned the tables on Brittany and Mhkeeba for Drop It Like It’s Hot to get to know them better!

Click here to listen to the latest episode.

Check Out the Latest Episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast – Doctor Doctor: Interview with Dr. Brittany Krake, Former NBA Dancer & Naturopathic Doctor

This episode is full of good news for female athletes and dancers about ways to care for their bodies and feel more empowered about their overall health!! Brittany and Mhkeeba interview Dr. Brittany Krake, a Naturopathic Doctor and former NBA Dancer for the Portland BlazersDancers. Learn about how Dr. Krake completed medical school while dancing in the NBA and built her naturopathic medical practice to empower people to make informed decisions about their own health. Dr. Krake’s background as a professional dancer gives her a unique understanding of the specific health risks and physical demands placed on pro cheerleaders and dancers.

During Cheer Chat, Mhkeeba and Brittany discuss their self-care regimens (or lack thereof) during their time cheering in the NFL. They also discuss the Philadelphia Sixers’ decision to change the Sixers Dancers female dance team to a coed hip hop dance team. The ladies also recap Mhkeeba’s appearance on the Open Mike morning sports radio show hosted by Mike Bianchi from the Orlando Sentinel in response to his blog post about the Orlando Magic Dancers, Dr. Krake shares the funniest story involving hair extensions for this week’s Locker Talk and plays along for Drop It Like It’s Hot!

Click here to listen to this espisode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast.

Check Out the Latest Episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast – Work: Being a Pro Cheerleader in the Workplace

Work: Being a Pro Cheerleader in the Workplace

Escape the mid-week slump and tune in to Mhkeeba and Brittany, two former Seattle Sea Gals, as they discuss how they balanced their lives as pro cheerleaders with their careers – from the white lies they told to escape work to participate in promo appearances to not being taken seriously in their 9 to 5 roles. Whether balancing a few part-time jobs or tackling the corporate world, all pro cheerleaders and dancers need to have solid income to support their dreams of dancing. This episode explores how pro cheerleaders tackle difficult workplace issues such as sexual harassment and issues with difficult managers.

Cheer Chat is a very unfortunate announcement of yet another team removing their female dance team to be replaced with a coed hip hop crew – the Orlando Magic. The day before this episode launched the Philadelphia Sixers also announced the elimination of the all female Sixers Dancers to be replaced by a coed hip hop team, which brings the grand total to six NBA teams including the San Antonio Spurs! During Locker Talk the ladies reminisce on some of the craziest things they have had to do at work in order to arrive at dance practice, a game or an appearance all glammed up!

Click here to listen to the latest episode of the Pro Cheerleader Podcast.  Please support their efforts by listening to their podcast and be sure to check out their prior episodes for a unique take on professional cheerleading.

Check Out the Latest Episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast

Listen in as former Seattle Sea Gals Brittany and Mhkeeba interview Lindsay Rosenberg about her illustrious career as a former NBA Dancer that led to so many wonderful opportunities.  Don’t let Lindsay’s title fool you as she has worn so many exceptionally cool hats in the pro cheerleading industry.  She shares her unique approach to photographing dancers in the NBA and NFL, the importance of head shots, and advice she gives when shooting with her clients.  Lindsay gives the absolute coolest Locker Talk story about a Pro Bowl halftime show performance by Rachel Platten.

Click here to listen to the latest episode of this wonderful podcast.  Let’s help support their efforts to highlight the latest developments in the professional cheerleading world.

Pro Cheerleading Podcast – Protesting the Elimination of NBA Dance Teams

For all you fans of professional cheerleading, check out the latest episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast.  Brittany and Mhkeeba, two former Seattle Sea Gals, review the latest developments in the professional cheerleading world and this week they discuss the disappointing news that the Sacramento Kings Dancers and the Dallas Maverick Dancers have eliminated their pro dance teams in exchange for a hip-hop focused co-ed dance and entertainment crew. 

They have a unique perspective on the subject matter and discuss the reasons why these changes were implemented.  The latter portion of their podcast includes an in depth interview with four members of the Sacramento Kings Dancers, who discuss the circumstances surrounding the demise of their squad.

This is certainly a must listen to podcast for all of us who enjoy and support professional cheerleading.

Click here to listen to their current podcast episode.

Introducing the Maryland Colts Dance Team Coaching Staff

Introducing the Maryland Colts Dance Team Coaching Staff, Lindsey Sanders and Kelley Campbell.

We are overjoyed to accept this new opportunity to build this new semi pro dance team based out Baltimore Maryland.  We are proud to represent The Minor League Football Team as we embark on a great season!

Interested in auditioning? Email kelsmugo@gmail.com or dancepro713@aol.com

Commitment:

  • 5 Home Game Perfomances: 6/8, 6/15, 6/22, 7/13, and 8/11.
  • Paid Appearances
  • Once A Week Rehearsals in Studio

Why be a MFL dancer?

There are many advantages to be being a MFL dancer.  The shortened season allows dancers and cheerleaders to continue training during the summer as they prepare for auditions, clinics, workshops and school.  Being a semi pro dancer in this league who works along side the NFL will help those who want to pursue a pro dance or cheer career gain the necessary connections, resources and training atmosphere to set them up for success.

We hope to see you this summer!

Rams Fire Relief Fundraiser Generates Over $1.1 Million for United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Disaster Relief Fund

 

Los Angeles, CA (November 16, 2018) — On Wednesday the Fire Relief Fund multi-platform fundraising event, hosted by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Rams, CBS 2 and KCAL 9, raised more than $1,173,905 for United Way’s Southern California Disaster Relief Fund. The Wednesday fundraiser will serve both immediate and critical long-term needs of economically vulnerable neighbors affected by recent fires. While phone lines are closed, funds are continuing to come in as individuals text 2018fires to 41444, log in to unitedwayla.org/2018fires and send in checks.

“The community came together in an unprecedented way Wednesday. From celebrities to event organizers to those who waited on the lines to donate whatever amount they could—many of whom have themselves been impacted by the fires—our community came together as one,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “At least one donor tripled their pledge by the end of the night, volunteers stayed beyond their shifts and people are still reaching out from around the world to donate. Thanks to the incredible support of all those who have and will continue to join with us, we can help thousands of individuals and families rebuild their lives.”

Los Angeles Rams COO Kevin Demoff joined President and General Manager of CBS 2 and KCAL 9 Steve Mauldin to kick off the fundraiser. Throughout the day, Rams players including Jared Goff, Andrew Whitworth, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Johnny Hekker, Brandin Cooks, Mark Barron and General Manager Les Snead made appearances on-air to offer support to the community.  Additionally, former Rams players Eric Dickerson, Jackie Slater, Vince Ferragamo, Harold Jackson and Greg Bell joined Los Angeles Rams cheerleaders and staff to answer phones.

“It has been inspiring to see our community come together after so much destruction to help our neighbors begin the long process of recovering and rebuilding,” said Kevin Demoff, COO of the Los Angeles Rams. “As our brave first responders continue fighting these fires and protecting our region, we are grateful to the generosity of all who contributed to helping those in greatest need.”

A number of celebrities made appearances and answered phones, including Alyssa Milano, Robin Thicke, Bob Odenkirk, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood and Stephnie Weir. Others–including Britney Spears, Stephen Colbert, Mark Hamill, Dr. Phil, Adina Porter, Bob Odenkirk, Vivica A. Fox, Chris Martinez, LA Galaxy player Daniel Steres — voiced their support on Twitter and other social media channels. CBS Los Angeles tweeted a heartfelt video message from James Corden: “The devastation caused by the Woolsey and Hill Fires means we all have an opportunity and a calling to come together and help care for our neighbors. Already so many brave firefighters have risked their lives to stop the fires and so many Southern Californians have opened their hearts and homes to help. But this is going to be a long rebuilding process and we are only just beginning the fight.”

Corporate donors and individuals made pledges to the fund over the phone, on websites, social media and via text. Top pledges include: IBM, $125,000; JP Morgan Chase & Co., $125,000; Edison International, $100,000; Annenberg Foundation, $50,000; Dole Food Company, Inc., $50,000; 21st Century Fox, $25,000; Charlize Theron, $25,000; The Sikand Foundation, $15,000 and Pauley Perrette, $10,000. Anonymous pledges were also given in the amount of $175,000. Another generous pledge of $50,000 by City National Bank was received Thursday after the fundraiser ended.

One group of entertainment professionals came together to donate—Actor Barrett Foa, who appeared on the broadcast, sent a group text to the entire “NCIS: Los Angeles” cast and crew, who immediately responded with a $10,000 pledge.

“Everyone at CBS 2 and KCAL 9 was honored to participate in this fundraiser,” said Steve Mauldin, President and General Manager, CBS 2 and KCAL 9.  “We were deeply moved by how our employees, our partners at the United Way and Los Angeles Rams, and all the volunteers poured their hearts into this relief effort.  And it was gratifying to see our viewers respond the way they did. We are thankful for every donation.”

United Way of Greater Los Angeles extends immense gratitude to CBS 2, KCAL 9 and the Los Angeles Rams for their continued partnership. United Way also thanks the volunteers, organizations, and individuals who provided support at the event. While not an exhaustive list, these include:

  • Those who appeared on the broadcast, including Amy Johnson, Robin Thicke, Heather Tom, John McCook, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby, Dole Food Company Director of Corporate Communications William Goldfield, Los Angeles Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn, Areva Martin, Kevin Frazier, Alyssa Milano, Milwaukee Brewers player Christian Yelich, Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenz, Bob Odenkirk, Los Angeles Laker Girls, Daniel Goddard, Sharon Osbourne, Sheryl Underwood, Adam Rodriguez, Stephnie Weir, Amber Stevens West, A.J. Buckley, Toni Trucks, Eric Braeden, Nita Landry, Sportscaster and Anchor Jim Hill, President of the Los Angeles Kings Luc Robitaille, California State Senator Henry Stern, Pauley Perrette, AEG President and CEO Dan Beckerman, Nischelle Turner, Los Angeles County CEO Sachi A. Hamai, Los Angeles Galaxy Player Daniel Steres, Patrick Fabian, Justin Melnick and Dita, Sandra Mitchell, Judge Michael Corriero, and Victor Williams.
  • Volunteers from organizations including AEG Worldwide, American Red Cross, California Highway Patrol, Deloitte, KPMG, LA Galaxy, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Scale Management, Sedgwick, Starbucks, United Airlines, United Steelworkers Local 675, Laborers’ Local 300 Union, United War Veterans Council, UTA, Utility Workers Union of America, and Valero.

“The United Way of Ventura County appreciates all the hard work and talent that went into this event to support those impacted in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties by these devastating fires,” said Eric Harrison, CEO, United Way of Ventura County.

United Way of Greater Los Angeles established the Southern California Disaster Relief Fund on November 9, to provide longer-term support to help the most vulnerable individuals and families affected by wildfires across Southern California. The fund was established in partnership with the United Way of Ventura County and United Ways of California and will be administered by United Way of Greater Los Angeles, which will allocate and distribute funds to support impacted counties. United Way of Greater Los Angeles committed to giving 25 percent of funds generated from the Fire Relief Funds event to the American Red Cross® to facilitate immediate relief efforts including shelter, meals, health services and comfort to those affected by the wildfires.

49ers Cheerleader Kneels for National Anthem

From the BBC:

A cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers appeared to kneel during the US national anthem at an NFL game on Thursday, echoing recent player protests.

The woman, who has not been identified, was pictured kneeling before the team’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

The 49ers are the former team of Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the anthem as a protest back in 2016.

His aim was to highlight police brutality against African-Americans.

While the rest of the cheerleading squad held pom-poms aloft in unison during the Star-Spangled Banner, one woman knelt down and put her hands on her hips.

If confirmed, it would be the first time an NFL cheerleader has protested in this way, although five members of a college team in Georgia did so last year.

For context, there is a precedent for conduct with respect to the flag and this may help explain why kneeling for the national anthem in front of the national flag is considered controversial, even while trying to bring attention an important social cause.

The Flag Code covers all aspects of etiquette in relation to the Stars and Stripes, including how to behave when the anthem is played. The code is never enforced, however, and there is no punishment for breaching it.

The code states that persons present are expected to stand and face the flag, if there is one. Civilians should stand to attention with right hand over heart, while military personnel in uniform and veterans should salute throughout. A recent amendment to the code said that military personnel out of uniform could also salute.

Controversial?  Appropriate or inappropriate?  You decide.

Male Cheerleaders Set To Make NFL History in 2018

By Ralph Warner, NFL.com
Published: Aug. 6, 2018 at 07:24 p.m.

The 2018 season is still 31 days away, but it’s already shaping up to be a historic one. For the first time in NFL history, there will be male cheerleaders on the sidelines.

Napoleon Jinnies and Quinton Peron will be cheering on the Rams cheerleading squad. The Saints will have a male cheerleader on their cheer team, too. Jesse Hernandez, a 25-year-old male dancer who made the Saintsations, said he was inspired by Peron and Jinnies.

“My mom had sent me a link about the L.A. Rams cheerleaders that just had made the team a couple weeks ago,” Hernandez told KATC in April. “She told me that it was my time to shine.”

Cheerleading has been a part of the NFL since 1954 when the Baltimore Colts added a cheer squad to their marching band. Today, 26 of the 32 teams in the NFL have official cheerleading squads.

NFL Alumni Partners with The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization

Mount Laurel, New Jersey (August 9, 2018)– NFL Alumni (NFLA) today announced a partnership with the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFCAO), which is a group of 14,000 former NFL team cheerleaders around the country. This partnership will increase membership, sponsorship and brand awareness for the NFCAO and overall benefit both organizations.

The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization’s mission is to enable former NFL cheerleaders to connect, contribute to local and national charities, and support fellow alumni. NFCAO’s motto is “United and Forever Strong.”

“The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization is proud to be an official partner to NFL Alumni,” says NFCAO Co-Founder and President Terri Crane-Lamb. “Together we will make a difference in our communities by continuing to support charities and NFL Alumni in need.”

The NFL cheerleaders group was formed in 2009 while NFL Alumni was organized in 1967.

“We are pleased to partner with the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization,” says NFL Alumni CEO Elvis Gooden. “One of our priorities is to align local NFCAO chapters with our own local NFL Alumni groups. This will provide increased access and continuing opportunities to the terrific cheerleaders who have supported the 32 NFL teams over the years.”

NFL Alumni looks forward to creating a synergistic team with the National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization.

About NFL Alumni

NFL Alumni was founded in 1967 and is the oldest and most recognizable national organization of retired professional athletes. NFL Alumni consists of former NFL players, coaches, executives, spouses, cheerleaders, and associate members.  NFL Alumni’s mission “Caring for our Own” is to serve, assist and inform its members and their families. NFL Alumni offers a wide array of medical, financial and business programs to help members lead healthy, productive and successful lives.  NFL Alumni also promotes the post-playing careers of its members and it also contributes to local community initiatives under its “Caring for Kids” programs. Pro Football Legends is the commercial marketing name and logo of NFL Alumni.

For more information please visit: www.nflalumni.org

About The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization

The National Football Cheerleaders Alumni Organization (NFCAO) was founded in 2009 by Terri Crane-Lamb, President, Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Alumni and Mickey Crawford-Carnegie, Director, Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders Alumni. The NFCAO is a non-profit 501(c)(7) organization comprised of former NFL Cheerleaders Alumni chapters and is the only official alumni organization for retired NFL Cheerleaders. The NFCAO invites all former NFL cheerleaders to join their NFCAO cheerleaders alumni Chapter to help support local and national charity efforts and participate in social events. NFL Alumni Cheerleaders can become an official member and part of the NFCAO database by joining their team’s cheerleader Chapter.

For more information, please visit: www.nationalfootballcheerleadersalumni.com.

Galactic Dancers at the Battle of Cologne XV

Michael Fischer, our European Correspondent, has sent us some news and photos regarding the state of German Cheerleading.
 
This season, the Galactic Dancers (headed by Tamara Kurti) have gotten support from former U.S. pro cheerleader and model Christine Lynn C. from Honolulu.
 
 

Christine studied Fine Arts at the California State University at Los Angeles and has lived in Chicago.  She danced with the NBA Chicago Luvabulls Dancers and she was selected as Mrs Waikiki 2016 and 2017.  Christine lives with her family in Heidelberg Germany, near the U.S Army Base and she drives to the Galactic Dancers training session from Heidelberg to Frankfurt Main, a long drive, every week.
 
 
This month Christine and the Galactic girls visited Düsseldorf for cheerleader performances on a big party ship along the Rhein River.  These performances were the highlight of the NFL Europa Fans memorial weekend – Battle of Cologne XV.  Tickets were sold out some months ago and some American Football Fans disguised themselves as pirates.
 
 
The ship sailed from Düsseldorf to Cologne and back, 9 hours of non-stop partying on deck.  In the middle of the crowd the cheerleaders. During the breaks between performances, the Galactic Dancers took some selfies and posed with some of the fans for a group shot.
 
 
Cheers,
Michael
 
For the latest information regarding the German cheerleader scene, check out Michael’s facebook page, “Don´t call it Puschel