Video from the Pats Open Calls

Patriots cheerleader auditions 2009
Mon, 2 Mar 2009
Boston.com

Description: More than 200 women turned out on Saturday to try their luck at landing a spot on the New England Patriots cheerleader team. Watch them stretch, learn and routine and dance in preparation for their audition.

All-Pro3 Announces Dates of the 2009 P-R-O Convention

All-Pro3 Inc, the company that produces the P-R-O Convention has announced the dates for the 6th annual P-R-O Convention. Professional Cheerleaders and Dancers from all over the world will meet in Atlanta, Georgia the weekend of June 27th-28th to learn from the industry’s premier choreographers.

AllPRO3

“We’ve got a new venue in Atlanta, the Sheraton Atlanta. It’s within walking distance from nightlife on Peachtree Street” says Tracy Rutledge of All-Pro3. “Our guests will be treated with the same hospitality and service, but now be closer to things in downtown Atlanta.”

Registration for the P-R-O Convention will open in March. Make your plans now to attend the BEST convention for professional cheerleaders and dancers.

Other highlights of the P-R-O Convention include:

  • Networking opportunities with teams from every professional league. NFL,
    NBA, NHL, AFL, AHL, ECHL, etc.
  • Fully choreographed routines that are ready to be performed in front of
    hometown crowds.
  • Fan friendly, usable choreography that is suited for professional
    cheerleader/dancer teams.
  • Vendor sampling and displays from fantastic sponsors of the convention.
  • The ever popular Sideline Distraction Magazine, which showcases sideline
    hotties from the P-R-O Convention.
  • Complete coverage of the event by the Professional Cheerleader Blog.

[AllPro3.com]

Patriots cheerleader tryouts draw 200-plus

By Adva Saldinger
GateHouse News Service
Mar 02, 2009

Photo Gallery

FOXBORO — More than 200 women jumped, clapped and body-rolled to Britney Spears’ song “Circus”’ Saturday in hopes of winning a spot as a New England Patriots cheerleader.

“I’ve always wanted to be a Patriots cheerleader,” said Alana Hicks, 19, of Weymouth. “Every dance teacher I’ve ever had has been one, so it’s just something I’ve always looked up to and wanted to do since I was just a little kid.”

The judges, said Julie Warner, a Patriots cheerleader captain, were looking for confidence.

Warner, 28, who works full time in addition to being a Patriots cheerleader, will have to try out again herself in the final rounds to keep her position. On Saturday, her role was to help the women learn the routine.

Sara Caldeira, 19, of Taunton said the cheerleaders “are very friendly. They teach you one by one; if you need help, they’re free to help you. It’s an awesome experience.”

Some women failed to make the cut after the first round. Those who remained performed a dance, choreographed to “Circus,” that Patriots cheerleading director Tracy Sormanti taught them at break-neck speed.

The routine was easier to pick up for Danielle Bailey, 20, of Easton, than she thought it would be. She wants to join the squad because she loves to entertain and perform but also because she has always done community service.

“I just want to do something for other people while I’m having fun doing my job,” said Bailey.

Meghan Bossa, 20, of Braintree said the cheerleaders are role models and get to represent the team abroad.

“I think it’s amazing they have that kind of influence,” she said.

Rebecca Kennedy of Bridgewater, who made it to the finals several years ago, said she wants the stature that comes with the job.

“People don’t just come to the games to watch the players; they come to watch the cheerleaders, and you can tell from all the apparel and calendars they buy that they are a huge icon in New England sports,” she said.

Near the end of the day, the judges made another cut and the remaining group of approximately 60 women stayed to learn another routine for another round of auditioning next weekend.

The ones who get through that will be interviewed and go through a two-week trial period, after which the team of up to 24 will be selected.

Once the team is picked, it’s straight to work gearing up for next season on the sidelines.

Los Gatos women on Raiderettes squad visit the troops in Iraq and Kuwait

By Marianne L. Hamilton
Los Gatos Weekly-Times
03/02/2009

When Meena Shams and Ariel Ogilvie make public appearances, they’re almost always in uniform. As members of the Raiderettes, cheerleading squad for the Oakland Raiders, the Los Gatos residents are typically decked out in their familiar silver and black costumes.

Recently, though, the pair found themselves attired in bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets. But to the soldiers they were visiting at military bases in Iraq and Kuwait, it was just business as usual.

On Jan. 28, Shams and Ogilvie — accompanied by fellow cheerleader Jovann Canada from Pleasanton — boarded a plane for Kuwait. The three were chosen to represent the squad by Raiderettes director Karen Kovac, who felt the trio brought a unique set of talents and life experiences to the task.

“Going on these trips is a huge honor, and the slots are highly coveted,” Kovac says. “Meena and Jovann are line captains, and have been with us for several seasons. They have plenty of experience with being in charge, being dropped into different situations at various events, and having to figure it out. They’re both very adaptable and knowledgeable.”

Ogilvie’s impending marriage to Marine 1st Lt. Mike Lamb also carried weight in the decision-making process, Kovac adds. “Having gone through tours to Bosnia and Kosovo myself, I knew that these types of trips really open your eyes in wonderful ways. I imagined this shared experience would help tie Ariel and Mike together. Also, being able to tell the soldiers in Iraq that her fiancÂŽ was in the Marines would be a nice connection.”

The Raiders organization has had a lengthy history of supporting the military. Kovac often sends members of the cheerleading team to disabled veterans’ events and to VA hospitals throughout the state, and the football team regularly hosts active and retired military on the sidelines at games. Just prior to the Iraq trip, Shams joined four other Raiderettes at Camp Pendleton, where they performed for 1,000 soldiers about to be deployed to the Middle East.

“We all get hooked on these events,” Kovac says. “Once you do something with the service personnel, you just want to do more.”

This year’s Iraq tour was orchestrated by the marketing firm Pro Sports MVP, which stages promotional programs and events featuring entertainment and sports celebrities. Along with the Raiderettes, members of several NFL teams made the journey to Iraq. For nine days, the players and cheerleaders toured bases and points of interest in the Middle Eastern war zone, doing a number of meet-and-greets and participating in several special events. Shams says their reception was enthusiastic, from the highest-ranking brass on down.

“We met with Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, who’s in charge of the 4th Infantry Division in Baghdad; he reports directly to Gen. Petraeus, and was appointed by the President. He took the time to thank us for coming,” Shams notes.

Odierno also presented each visitor with a special commemorative coin, a fact that Shams says will come in handy should she ever happen to share an adult beverage with a member of the military. “The custom is that if someone pulls out a coin and challenges you, and you don’t have a coin or theirs outranks yours, you have to buy everyone a round,” explains Shams. “But if yours outranks theirs, they have to buy a round. I think each of us now has a coin that outranks 99 percent of all coins.”

Shams adds that it was a heady experience to leaf through the guest book the cheerleaders were asked to sign in Basra. Following tea with Maj. Gen. Andy Salmon, commander of British forces in the city, she and Ogilvie inscribed their signatures in the book. “Then we turned the page back and saw that [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown had just signed. That was definitely one of the highlights of the tour,” says Shams.

The Los Gatans’ arrival “in-country” coincided with Iraq’s recent elections. Though the event went off peacefully, the Raiderettes’ military escort opted to keep them out of the way of any potential unrest.

“After we landed in Kuwait, we stayed at Camp Arifjan for three days during the election,” Shams says. “From then on, our itinerary was sort of decided upon on a daily basis.”

That schedule included daily meals and many hours spent chatting with the troops about their experiences. Shams and Ogilvie also took part in a re-enlistment ceremony, holding the American flag while military personnel signed on for additional tours of duty. Traveling between bases, their modes of transportation included Blackhawk and Apache helicopters, as well as a C-130 transport plane. They also went for a spin in an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection) vehicle, which is designed to survive roadside bombs.

Super Bowl Sunday found the Raiderettes watching the game with the men and women in uniform in Kuwait. Given the time difference, the game’s live telecast presented some logistical challenges. “We slept until 10 p.m., then got dressed and went out to the base,” says Shams. “The game started at 2 a.m. Kuwait time; it was over about 6:30, then we had breakfast and caught a helicopter for Camp Bucca in Iraq … and we were up until 10 p.m. that night. We were pretty exhausted. But the excitement of being on the trip, and knowing we were there to increase the soldiers’ morale, really kept us going.”

Once at Camp Bucca, where the cheerleaders were outfitted with the protective vests and helmets, Ogilvie says she was surprised at the friendliness of the environment. Located on the Iraq-Kuwait border, the facility serves as a prison for some 18,000 military detainees.

“It’s a very simple setting, but it’s very intimate,” says Ogilvie. “The group that took us around was very close-knit; we could tell by how they interacted with each other. We got a great feeling from them and really bonded with them. I actually cried when we flew away.”

Out of respect for the conventions of Middle Eastern culture, Shams and her colleagues left their regular cheerleading costumes at home. “We dressed very conservatively the whole time we were there, mostly in jeans,” Ogilvie says. “We also wore long-sleeved under-armor shirts, and T-shirts provided by Pro MVP.”

Despite the presence of uniformed troops — both American and Iraqi — carrying weapons of various descriptions, neither Ogilvie nor Shams say they felt afraid. Both were happy to entrust their safety to their escorts, and report that they were protected quite rigorously. Still, there were a few instances that reminded the pair that they weren’t exactly in Kansas anymore.

“At one point I felt a little jittery: We were out on the Green Zone, in an area that’s run by the Iraqi military, and we were swarmed by their troops,” Ogilvie says. “Another time we were staying in a hotel in Baghdad, right across from Saddam Hussein’s Al Faw Palace. I sat in a chair that was given to him by [late Palestinian President] Yasser Arafat. I definitely got a creepy feeling, being around things that used to belong to Hussein. But our escorts knew the best ways to keep us safe, and we basically did what they told us to do and we were fine.”

What led the Los Gatans to trade comfort zone for war zone? Says Ogilvie, a Los Gatos native and graduate of Los Gatos High School: “We’re in this beautiful`bubble’ in this town. I wanted to have a more authentic idea of what the world is like. When we got there, the military really took the time to educate us about their mission, they gave us the history of the bases, and helped us to understand why they’re there. I feel like I have a much clearer idea of what’s going on now.”

Adds Shams, “The soldiers were so appreciative of us taking the time to visit them. A lot of the time they think that no one remembers they’re there.”

Given their cover-girl looks and figures (not to mention the outfits they wear on game day), it would be far too simple to dismiss “Football’s Fabulous Females” as stereotypically vapid vessels. Not so fast: Shams, a graduate of Murray State University in her home state of Kentucky, is a sales and marketing executive for a line of skin-care products and antioxidant supplements, is a former member of the Northern California Women’s Hockey League and is active in several organizations dedicated to fighting breast cancer. Her personal life is active as well, as wife to Saratoga native and Sereno Group sales executive Ryan Iwanaga and stepmom to Iwanaga’s 11-year-daughter.

Ogilvie, a graduate of UC-Santa Barbara, where she was on the dean’s list, is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at Argosy University in San Francisco. After earning her Ph.D., Ogilvie hopes to work with underserved children in the Bay Area. For the near term she’ll be enjoying some welcome time with her future husband: After 12 years with the Marines and several tours of duty throughout the Middle East, including Afghanistan and Kosovo, Lamb will receive a medical discharge next month.

The cheerleaders’ achievements come as little surprise to Kovac, who herself holds a master’s degree in international business. As the Raiderettes’ chief choreographer for the past 13 years, and having served as the squad’s director since 2004, Kovac is never satisfied with merely adding another pretty face to the lineup.

“When a young woman auditions, which everyone has to do every year — even those who are currently on the squad — I look carefully at every application,” says Kovac. “I insist that a Raiderette must either be in school full time or hold down a full-time job. A few are moms, and if they’re doing that, more power to them. I want everyone to be fully engaged in some way, because they have to be strong role models for youths.

“Anyone can put on makeup and do their hair. What’s important is what’s on the inside.”

While they consider where their travels will lead them next, Shams and Ogilvie will both be taking part in the Raiderettes’ April 19 tryouts. Shams says the process is stressful for Iwanaga each season.

“He’ll call me on the day we’re supposed to hear whether we made it or not, and tell me that he’s pacing up and down and can’t focus,” Shams laughs. “He’s a huge football fan, and he also knows how hard I’ve worked to get here. I didn’t make it onto the team until my third try.”

Ogilvie, who says she rarely feels fear, admits that the process of auditioning is always daunting. But if she were asked to retire her pom-poms after this season, it appears that the Sunday afternoon lineup wouldn’t be the biggest thing she’d miss.

“It’s definitely cool being a cheerleader, because you have opportunities to travel and do things you’d never do otherwise,” she says. “But having the chance to support our troops was really an incredible experience.”

Raiderette auditions will be held April 19 at Club One in Oakland. Interested candidates can visit www.raiders.com/Raiderettes.

2009 Junior Knightingales Camp

Jr. Knightingales

The Rochester Knightingales are proud to announce the 4th annual JR Knightingales Entertainment Team One Day Camp.

All participants will be given professional instruction on dance and cheering from the 2009 Knightingales Entertainment Team and learn a dance routine choreographed specifically for this event.

Participants will build self-esteem and character, they will receive an official uniform, autographed picture, and will perform in front of up to 11,000 fans at the Knighthawks home game against the Philadelphia Wings.

Participants will not only meet and dance with the Knightingales, but they will talk about the importance of health and fitness.

Where: Blue Cross Arena, One War Memorial Square, Rochester, NY

When: Saturday, April 18th 2009 1:00-6:00 pm, Perform at Halftime.

Ages: 6-14

Cost: $60 participation fee.

Deadline to Register: March 18, 2009

All friends and family members can purchase additional tickets to the game for only $13 each. That’s $11.25 off the regular Box Office price!

Download a registration form here or for more information email the Knightingales at info_knightingales@yahoo.com

[Rochester Knightingales]

Introducing: The Starting 11 Girls

Join me in welcoming a new dance team to Major League Soccer – the Kansas City Wizards Starting 11 Girls! The Wizards had a dance team about four years ago, but it eventually evolved into a hospitality team. Now they’re bringing the dancers back, under the direction of Stephanie Gazonas (who you may recognize from the Kansas City Brigade Girls.) We’re expecting great things from this group!

This year, the team provides the best of both worlds. 11 of the 16 girls are dancers, while the remaining 5 will be hospitality ambassadors. The 2009 MLS season is just around the corner, so this team has been incredibly busy. Among other things, they recently finished shooting their brand new swimsuit calendar. Ooh la la!

Many thanks to Stephanie for sending us a couple of photos to tide us over until we can meet the whole team. You may recognize these two beauteous young ladies. Both Amy (top) and Ciera (bottom) were Kansas City Brigade Girls. The KC Brigade is out of commission this season, so it’s great to hear that some of the girls were able to find another great opportunity to keep on dancin’.



Pistons Automotion Dancer Chelsey Buhler Splashes into Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition

By Patricia Montemurri
Detroit Free Press

ChelseyShe’s not the cover girl of the vaunted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, but Oakland University student and Detroit Pistons Automotion dancer Chelsey Buhler holds her own on Page 160. Buhler, 21, was one of 10 women chosen from NBA dance squads to model in itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie bikinis in the annual issue, now on newsstands.

Page views: Since Buhler’s profile was featured in SI — and in 36 different poses on its Web site — she’s become a fan favorite at Pistons games. She also got 800 unsolicited requests, nearly all of them from strangers, to be friends on Facebook.

Curriculum Vitae: Buhler, an Ortonville-Brandon High graduate, is majoring in communications at Oakland University and is thinking of going to law school or getting an MBA. She was on the dance team for the WNBA Shock for two years before trying out for the Pistons squad three years ago.

Gotta dance: She took lessons — ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop — starting at age 3 at Creative Dance Center in Ortonville. “I used to obsess about learning a dance routine and knowing it. I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking about a dance routine. It wasn’t enough to do it in my head. I had to get up and dance around at 3 a.m.”

Shoutout: At Pistons games, fans who recognize her shout out “Hey, Sports Illustrated.”

Big Apple Photo Shoot: SI flew her out to New York City for three days in September. They gave her a bikini in the Pistons’ red, white and blue colors. During the one-day photo shoot, she also posed with women from other dance teams, and shot a video.

Career opportunity or cheesecake?
Buhler says she doesn’t view the exposure as being treated like a sex object.

“I think they did a good job of portraying us as professional dancers,” she says. “This is something that every girl wants. You look at the girls in the Sports Illustrated edition and how pretty they are, and you never think you’re going to be in it. And when you are, it’s like a dream come true.”

Bottom line: Some 68 million people eyeballed the swimsuit issue last year, according to SI, and the Web site drew 8.2 million unique visitors. Buhler says she got a small fee plus expenses while in New York City.

“Nobody has said I’m their screen saver yet,” she says. “But I’ve gotten at least 400 text messages saying I look great in the magazine.”

[Automotion]

[Chelsey at SportsIllustrated.com]