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Patriots Saddened to Announce the Passing of Cheerleading Director Tracy Sormanti

From Patriots.com:

Dec 07, 2020 at 07:06 PM

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots are in mourning today after learning that Tracy Sormanti, the team’s longtime cheerleading director, passed away on Friday, Dec. 4, after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma. Sormanti, just 58 years old, was in her 32nd season of service with the Patriots organization.

“We are grieving the loss of a beloved member of our family today,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Tracy Sormanti was one of my first hires after I bought the team, and after nearly three decades, I can confidently say that there was no one more dedicated to her job or caring and compassionate about those she coached. Like all great coaches, she was meticulous in her preparation and brought the best out of her squads. We have had the good fortune of having some of the greatest coaches in NFL history grace our sidelines, but none did so with such dignity and grace like Tracy. She earned my utmost respect and admiration for the way her teams always performed, not just on the sidelines, but more importantly as Patriots goodwill ambassadors in our New England communities and on the many Patriots USO military tours she coordinated around the world. She truly loved this organization and we loved her. Her presence will be greatly missed, but she will never be forgotten.”

Sormanti, a Rhode Island native, first joined the organization in 1983 as a Patriots cheerleader. She was a member of the Patriots cheerleading squad from 1983-84 and again from 1991-93, concluding her cheerleading career by representing the Patriots at the 1993 Pro Bowl. Shortly after Kraft bought the team in 1994, he named Sormanti the cheerleading director.

Over the past 27 seasons, Sormanti’s squads have performed at 10 Super Bowls, visited more than 30 countries and two dozen foreign operating bases on military tours, and made thousands of community appearances. As the Patriots’ on-field successes multiplied over the years, so too did interest in the Patriots Cheerleaders program. Sormanti developed an intense “bootcamp” audition process – which included everything from dance, to public speaking, to exams on the rules of football and Patriots history – and attracted hundreds of potential cheerleaders annually. She also created the Patriots Junior Cheerleaders program and a partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that raised more than $400,000 for cancer research through the clinics she hosted.

As director, Sormanti shaped the Patriots Cheerleaders program through her own core values: commitment, dedication, accountability, responsibility and a positive attitude. Her tenure was defined by her commitment to the community above all. She developed a program that taught incoming cheerleaders how to be goodwill ambassadors for the organization and placed as much of an emphasis on community service and engagement as on excellence in dance and cheer skills.

Despite facing grueling cancer treatments for the last three years, Sormanti continued to keep a daily presence at Gillette Stadium. She rarely missed a game or a practice and took great pride in seeing her squad perform on game day. However, her greatest joy came from seeing her cheerleaders accomplish their goals off the field, and she was very proud to assemble squads of not only dancers, but doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs and public servants.

In 2019, when asked what she hoped her legacy would be, she remarked: “That I’ve made a difference in the lives of the ladies and men who were on this team… and that they’ve learned some valuable life lesson because of a coach that they had in their life.”

Sormanti leaves behind her longtime companion, Dennis M. Brolin, her sister, Terri Ford, brother, Timothy Madden, five nieces and a nephew, and hundreds of former Patriots cheerleaders who grew to love her as much more than a coach. Funeral arrangements will be handled by Thomas & Walter Quinn Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, Sormanti has requested that donations be made in her memory to the MSPCA-Angell Animal Care and Adoption Center.

SI.com: Cheerleaders, Mascots Not Allowed on Field at 2020 NFL Games

Per SI.com:

The NFL has banned cheerleaders and mascots from the field for the 2020 season, according to NFL Network

The league’s decision is the latest precaution taken under the joint NFL and NFLPA protocols. Network sideline reporters and pregame TV reporters will also not be allowed on the field in 2020, per NFL Network.

The NFL is still planning to begin the regular season on time despite the COVID-19 crisis, but the league will not be holding any preseason games ahead of opening night on Sept. 10. The Chiefs are slated to host the Texans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, though the stadium will only be open to 22% of its capacity, per a team press release. The 22% mark accounts for around 16,000 fans. 

“As the season progresses, the club will follow the guidance of local officials and public health experts, with the potential that local regulations will allow for different capacities at different points during the season,” Kansas City said in a press release. “Future on-sale dates and details will be communicated once confirmed throughout the season.”

The Giants and Jets are among teams that will not permit fans in the stands in 2020. The Patriots are not allowing fans through September.

CheeRing International Has An Opportunity For You!

Our friends over at Sideline Prep have passed along some information regarding an exciting opportunity.

Ever thought about working in a different country? Have a passion for dance? Love making a difference in children’s lives?

If you’ve answered yes to all three of these questions, let’s take your career to the next level!

CheeRing International is an organization that is located in Tokyo, Japan and they are looking to add passionate people to their team. You’ll be able to experience the Japanese culture while doing what you love… dancing, cheering and inspiring others through movement!

By the way, CheeRing International is the same company that we have partnered with for over six years to launch our Sideline Prep – Japan Division!

If you’re interested in this life changing experience? Please send them an email and your resume to at maki@cheering.jp

They are looking for an enthusiastic dance teacher to foster and facilitate the intellectual and social development of the children. Teaching dance in English includes planning, implementing and assessing lessons. You will teach children with patience and creativity. Dance Teacher duties include designing a teaching plan and using activities and instructional methods to motivate children.

Responsibilities

  • Design and follow a complete teaching plan
  • Teach alphabet and numeracy (in English) along with personal, social and emotional skills
  • Organize learning material and resources
  • Use a variety of activities and instructional methods (songs, stories, media, structured games, basic movements etc) to motivate and stimulate children’s abilities
  • Maintain an open line of communication with students and provide appropriate information
  • Assess students performance and progress to ensure they are mastering the skills on regular basis
  • Monitor children’s interactions and nurture cooperation and sharing
  • Cooperate with administration staff
  • Create fun choreography
  • Follow and comply with teaching standards and safety regulations

Requirements

  • Proven working experience as a Dance Teacher, Dance Teacher Assistant or Teacher Aide
  • Excellent knowledge of child development and latest education theories and practices
  • Creative and artistic teaching abilities
  • Teaching and organization skills
  • Patience and flexibility
  • Strong communication skills
  • Keep abreast with the latest trends and best practices
  • Passion for dance
  • Positive attitude
  • Able to adapt to last minute changes
  • BS degree in education or relevant work experience

If this sounds like something you may be interested in, please be sure to contact Maki via email with your resume at maki@cheering.jp


Best of luck!

Cheers & Love,

GeNienne

CEO & President, Sideline Prep

11-year Professional Cheerleader/Dancer for the NFL/NBA

8-year Washington Redskins Cheerleader – 4-year Captain, Pro Bowl Cheerleader, 2-time Swimsuit Cover Model, 3-time Director’s Choice Award Recipient, 2-time Outstanding Leadership & Choreography Award Recipient, Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

3-year Washington Wizard Girl, 2-year Captain, 2-time Most Valuable Wizard Girl Recipient, Wizard Girl Community StarFormer In-Arena Host, Washington Wizards – NBA & Washington Mystics – WNBA

Join our PREP to PRO Facebook Community!

Are you a part of our PREP to PRO – Cheer & Dance Facebook Group? If not… you’ll want to join us.

This is a group of AMAZING PRO-tentials (TM) that all have one goal in common

–> To Up-level their lives!! You in too?

In this community…

We are there to guide, support, and uplift you.. and ultimately HELP you GO PRO!

We will discuss, inspire, and learn from one another, but most importantly, share our experiences, knowledge, and LOVE with each other.

Click here or below to join us… OR Search for the “PREP to PRO” Group in Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/preptopro/

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Check out the Latest from the Pro Cheerleading Podcast: The Experiences of Black Professional Cheerleaders

Mhkeeba invites Black former professional cheerleaders to share their experiences dealing with racial inequities and microaggressions while cheering in the NFL and what changes need to be made in the professional cheerleading community for people of color.

Check out this podcast episode here.

Business Insider: What It Takes To Be A Dancer For The Golden State Warriors

Business Insider, a publication known more for publishing business or tech related news stories, has a more lifestyle oriented YouTube channel and they recently published a video on what it takes to be a Golden State Warriors Dancer.

Check out the Latest from the Pro Cheerleading Podcast: Interview with Terra Saunders

This special bonus episode with Terra Saunders, Owner of Dallaswear Uniforms, is just what our pro cheerleading community needs to feel inspired during this pandemic. Terra’s love for her country and awesome @dallaswear team inspired her to turn a crisis into an opportunity to help make a difference in her community. She openly shares some of her ups and downs as a business owner and her journey of learning to overcome her fears.

Check out this podcast episode here.

Health Heroes: Cardinals Cheerleaders Fight Coronavirus On Front Lines

Editors note: some good news regarding two cheerleaders who are having a positive impact on the community as we undergo this unprecedented time in our country.  We thank Darren Urban and the Arizona Cardinals for bringing this to our attention.

Darren Urban
azcardinals.com

Cardinals cheerleader Darby, a local nurse, works at her parking lot station this week as she helps screen incoming patients for the coronavirus.

As she watches cars drive up each day, Darby doesn’t know if the person inside will have a mild cough or no illness symptoms at all. She doesn’t know if the potential patient just broke a foot or is showing the serious signs of COVID-19.

But as a nurse, this is what she wanted to do. In another part of her life, Darby is a Cardinals cheerleader (per team policy, azcardinals.com won’t use her last name). But nursing is her profession, and as part of her hospital’s disaster response team for the coronavirus, she has spent the last week in the parking lot screening those that drive up, never knowing for sure exactly to what she has been exposed.

Her hospital has all the personal protective equipment it needs for now. She feels lucky in that regard. But the unknown is reality. Treating someone with no outward symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

“Right now, I don’t feel in danger, but I don’t really know what’s to come,” said Darby, who has been a nurse for six years and is heading into her fourth year with Cardinals Cheer. “Will supplies change in one week? Two weeks? Three weeks?

“I try to stay in the moment. As a healthcare worker, I think it’s important that we keep our calm. Every day it’s changing.”

Shasta has been a nurse for almost five years. She works with newborn babies and their mothers, in that day or two they are in the hospital for a birth. She isn’t necessarily dealing with COVID patients – “I have a crazy amount of respect for the people that are going in there every single day to do that,” she said – but as a nurse, the coronavirus inevitably was going to touch her life.

Shasta’s mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer three years ago. Shasta bought a house two years ago and both her mom and dad moved in. When COVID-19 arrived, the fear set in, and she saw no option other than moving out.

“I couldn’t stand the thought of potentially coming into contact with (the coronavirus), not knowing if I was positive and exposing her to that,” Shasta said. “That would be more catastrophic than anything.”

Cardinals cheerleaders Darby (left) and Shasta in their work clothes as local nurses.

Shasta, going into her third season as a Cardinals cheerleader, first moved in with a friend, who is also a nurse. That friend – who had only had the mildest of symptoms and tested only when she had trouble smelling and tasting – was soon after diagnosed with COVID-19.

Shasta had to stay home from work. She moved to a hotel for a week to quarantine while she waited for her own COVID test results. Those results came back negative, and she moved in with her brother and was able to return to work. (Her friend is doing well.)

“It’s been a little crazy,” Shasta said.

Darby, who has twice gone to Haiti to help provide free medical care in desperate areas, has a boyfriend who is a firefighter. She said he too has the proper equipment now, but with him as a first responder, they have had conversations about their heightened exposure to the virus.

The fall, with the potential of football and cheerleading, can seem so far away. In these circumstances, it can feel meaningless.

“There are a lot more important things than cheerleading and the NFL,” Shasta said. “But this whole (sports) industry gives people hope. If we do what we need to do to get everyone healthy, I keep thinking this will be something people can look forward to. People won’t take (that life) for granted.”

As for nursing, no matter how dangerous the profession has become, neither has regrets.

“I really have never been so proud to be a nurse,” Shasta said. “That doesn’t mean it’s not scary, to think of what the future holds.”

Darby, in a family full of healthcare workers, long thought about being a caregiver at the bedside, doing hands-on patient care. Given the world around her, the idea of being in a different line of work, “you wonder those things.”

“But I am the type of the person where I want to be responding to this,” Darby said. “I want, with my whole heart and soul, to help people.”

Check out the Latest from the Pro Cheerleading Podcast: Interview with Kelsey Pesola

This is the episode you’ve all been waiting for, especially for those who are getting ready to audition to become an NFL cheerleader. This week, Mhkeeba sits down with her dear friend and Personal Trainer, Kelsey Pesola, to discuss all things fitness, everything from having the right mindset to get your body on track for auditions to how to keep in shape during the season. Kelsey offers some amazing advice on how to break your fitness goals down to attainable small wins that will help deliver the results you are looking for to be the best version of yourself.

During Cheer Chat, Mhkeeba talks about this insane coronavirus that’s hit hard in Seattle, a belated shout out to Black History Month performances and celebrations by NBA dance teams, and a cool VIP fan vacation package the Patriots Cheerleaders are hosting during their fitness calendar shoot in Turks and Caicos. Kelsey shares a Locker Talk story of her infamous reputation of being late to final auditions!

Click here to listen to this episode of the podcast.

Check out the Latest from the Pro Cheerleading Podcast: Best Audition Tips from Guests

In this week’s episode, Mhkeeba shares her favorite pieces of advice from past guests of the podcast on pro cheerleading auditions and what teams are looking for in a professional cheerleader.  The past guests include Michelle Burch – Performance Teams Manager for the Portland Trail Blazers, Derric Whitfield – Senior Director of Dance Teams for the Washington Wizards, Michelle Vaughn – NBA/NFL Choreographer, Patrisha Yabes – Former Golden State Warriors Dancer and Los Angeles Charger Girl, GeNienne Samuels – President & CEO of Sideline Prep, and Candess Carroll – Washington Redskins Cheerleader, NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleader & Captain. Each segment covers various topics from learning choreography quickly, what judges are looking for beyond dancing and how to handle the experience of being cut during auditions.

During Cheer Chat, Mhkeeba discusses the only male member of the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders, Kyle Tanguay, who auditioned on American Idol and made it to the Hollywood round and the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders recent UNIR dance showcase featuring pro, college and youth dancers and cheerleaders from South Florida.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Check Out The Latest Pro Cheerleading Podcast – Gossip Folks: Interview with Michelle Vaughn

Brittany and Mhkeeba interview Michelle Vaughn, one of the hottest choreographers for several NBA dance teams and NFL cheerleading squads!  The ladies learn all about her background as a professional dancer in Los Angeles performing with exciting artists like Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida, and her perspective on changes in the pro dance industry from influence of social media.  Michelle also shares how she balances her career as a master teacher at pro dance training programs and dance conventions all over the U.S. and internationally at the pro, college and high school level!

During this week’s Cheer Chat, Mhkeeba and Brittany discuss the trend of branded video content on the various social media sites of pro cheerleading teams and wonder if this concern with re-branding the team image is getting a little bit overplayed.  The ladies also discuss economic justice and pay equity for female athletes in sports as it pertains to professional dancers and cheerleaders.  The ladies have fun getting to know Michelle with the Drop It Like It’s Hot segment!

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

Check out the Latest Pro Cheerleading Podcast

Change Clothes: Interview with Laurel Cancilla, Owner of The Stretch and Sparkle Store

Meet the amazing woman behind all of the glitzy and glamorous uniforms for the Seattle Sea Gals and Seahawks Dancers, Laurel Cancilla! Brittany and Mhkeeba interview Laurel to learn about her long tenure designing and creating the most beautiful handmade uniforms and audition attire. The ladies also get her perspective on some of the newer fashion trends in pro cheerleading uniforms. Laurel shares a shocking Locker Talk story that the ladies would have never guessed in a million years!

During Cheer Chat, Mhkeeba and Brittany discuss the announcement of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira performing in the Super Bowl halftime show in Miami and the Arizona Sidewinders earning Best Dance Team Award by the Indoor Football League. In not so good news, the ladies discuss the decision by the professional club basketball team in Germany, Alba Berlin, to eliminate their pro cheerleading team, the Alba Dancers, with the explanation that the all female squad “is no longer appropriate to our time.” Mhkeeba and Brittany share their thoughts on how the trends they have been seeing in the U.S. to eliminate all female pro cheerleading and dance teams is making its way across the globe.

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

USA Today Photos from Week 3

It used to be that NFL.com and other media site would post galleries of cheerleader images from throughout the season, but it seems like this is a thing of the past.  Somehow professional cheerleading is no longer in vogue or politically correct and that’s a shame.

Well at least USA Today still posts an ongoing gallery of NFL Cheerleader images and that is a good thing because most of their images are shot by AP photographers and they are the best.  So click here to view the USA Today website.

Here are some of the best images from Week 3 of the NFL regular season.

Pro Cheerleading Podcast – She’s Got Legs: Interview with Jacie Scott, Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader & Radio City Rockettes Dancer

Mhkeeba and Brittany interview the amazingly talented and multi-faceted Jacie Scott, former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and Radio City Rockettes Dancer, writer, and founder of her very own foundation, Declare Hope! Listen in as Jacie shares her extensive dance background that took her from the Dallas Cowboys sidelines to the world famous stage of the New York Radio City Music Hall.

Jacie inspires the ladies with her positive perspective and fearless decisions to pursue all of her passions instead of feeling forced to choose just one. During this week’s Cheer Chat, Brittany and Mhkeeba give an update on the status of the newly formed coed NBA dance teams. Jacie gives the ladies a funny Locker Talk story of a show group solo performance gone wrong.

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

 

Check Out the Latest Episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast – Bounce Back: Interview with Derric Whitfield

In this week’s episode, Brittany and Mhkeeba interview the infamous Derric Whitfield, Sr. Director of Dance Teams for the Washington Wizards!  Both ladies learned and performed his killer routines that he taught at the two biggest dance conventions in pro cheerleading and have been huge fans ever since.  Listen in to hear all about his background as a college and pro dancer, pro cheerleading industry choreographer, and highly respected leader of all of the entertainment teams for the Washington Wizards.  Derric ends the interview with Drop It Like It’s Hot so everyone can get the chance to get to know him better! 

During Cheer Chat, Mhkeeba and Brittany discuss an article from The Dallas Morning News by Sharon Grigsby attacking the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as outdated and overly sexualized along with the ultimate clap back article from Paige Skinner in the Dallas Observer pointing out its absurdity.

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

Check Out the Latest Episode of the Pro Cheerleading Podcast – Game Time: The Game Day Experience

Game Time: The Game Day Experience

Join Mhkeeba and Brittany as they experiment recording Cheer Chat using Instagram Live to give listeners an inside look at how they record the Pro Cheerleading Podcast!  During Cheer Chat the ladies discuss some new uniforms that debuted during Week 1 of the NFL regular season for a few teams that are changing the look of the traditional glamorous NFL uniforms.  They also discuss some developments in a lawsuit brought by a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders against the team that resulted in a significant raise for the cheerleaders and a few inspirational stories that celebrate women on and off the playing field.  In this week’s episode, Brittany and Mhkeeba walk you through the entire game day experience while reminiscing on some of their most memorable moments on the sidelines. They wrap up the episode with Locker Talk about a little post-game mischief from lingering in the locker room too long after the game!

Click here to listen to this podcast episode.