Luvabulls Poster Shoot

Go behind-the-scenes at the 2009.10 Luvabulls Poster Shoot with host, Luvabull and current Ms. Illinois Ashley Bond.

And if you’re in Chicagoland tomorrow evening head on over to LuxBar: 18 E Bellevue Pl, at State; Gold Coast for the Luvabulls Season Tipoff Party. Meet the new Luvabulls squad and get a shot at free tix to a Bulls-Nuggets game. The party starts at 9pm.

[Chicago Luvabulls]

Chicago Mustangs Dance Team


Former Chicago Luvabull and San Diego Gull Girl (and good friend of the blog) Robyn Villanueva dropped us a line to let us know that she’s finished designing the website for her squad The Chicago Mustangs Dance Team.

One of her co-captain, Imani, is Miss Chicago and made the Luvabulls earlier this year. She’s also designing outfits and the website for Luvabull Captain Shannon Lersch’s latest advenutre: hosting a reality tv show in China about creating an NBA Dance Team.

[Chicago Mustangs Dance Team]

[Robyn Villanueva]

[Shannon Lersch]

Luvabulls Dancer is Reigning Miss Chicago

Imani Josey won the coveted title of Miss Chicago in March and was named to the Luvabulls’ 2009.10 team in August


imanibulsOver the last two seasons, a member of the Chicago Luvabulls has claimed Miss Illinois USA honors. With the selection of the 2009.10 team in August, the Luvabulls now have the reigning Miss Chicago on their team too.

A trained dancer and award-winning playwright, Imani Josey won the coveted title of Miss Chicago on March 28, 2009. Shortly following that success, she went on to place as a Top Ten Finalist at the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant 2009, a Miss America Pageant preliminary.

The magna cum laude graduate of Howard University is “extremely excited” to put forth her mentorship program for young ladies entitled CROWNS, while joining efforts with Triple Threat Mentoring, a program that assists urban youth in Aurora, IL.

Josey is a former editorial intern for Jet Magazine, having written cover stories and having conducted interviews with celebrities and business professionals. She has also held internships with the legal advocacy organization the Advancement Project as well as the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

In 2005, her one-act play GRACE was selected by the Pegasus Players theater company over 600 entries across the city and was produced at the Chicago Cultural Center at the annual Young Playwrights Festival. She now serves as a judge for the annual competition. A dancer since the age of 3, Josey also cheerleads with the Chicago Mustang Dancers and serves as the team’s co-captain. Josey is also a volunteer for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Josey is a former Miss John H. Johnson School of Communications (2006-07) at Howard University and (MAAC) District Miss Black and Gold for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. She graduated from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in 2004.

[Chicago Luvabulls]

[Miss Chicago]

Luvabulls select 2009.10 dance team

Chicago Bulls: The Luvabulls completed auditions for the 2009.10 team on Wednesday, August 5, at the University of Illinois at Chicago Flames Athletic Center. Approximately 270 women were invited to audition for a panel of judges on August 1 and 46 were chosen to attend a mini-camp the following week. The mini-camp concluded Wednesday evening, as 25 candidates were selected to entertain Bulls fans at the United Center and represent the city of Chicago across the U.S. and abroad.


Luv game: How the Bulls’ dance team is made

Ryan Smith
Chicago Now
(Photos by Mike Burley for RedEye)

Melissa Driscoll slumped in her chair and took a deep breath before recovering her ever-present smile. “I could definitely use some coffee soon,” she said moments after her audition for the Bulls’ dance team Saturday.


Performing for a panel of judges to Justin Timberlake’s supercharged “SexyBack” is hard enough, but Driscoll, 25, had an added challenge–she arrived at the tryout in a moving van at the conclusion of a 17-hour journey from Boston.

Talk about having the drive to become a Luvabull.

Driscoll was one of 252 women from Chicago and beyond who flocked to the United Center to twirl, sway and sashay their way onto the Luvabulls dance team. Former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Rycroft has brought widespread notoriety to professional sports dance teams through her appearances on reality TV shows including “Dancing With the Stars,” but actually making the team is an exhausting and competitive process.

At Saturday’s tryouts, the judges were ruthless by necessity, whittling the list of contenders to only 50 who moved on to a three-day mini-camp that starts Monday. When the final decisions are made Wednesday, only 25 dancers will be able to call themselves Luvabulls.

Addressing the women before auditions began Saturday, team director Cathy Core was direct about what it takes to be a Luvabull.


“You need to have lipstick on, your hair should be fashionable, if you have glasses take them off, tattoos need to covered up, no belly rings … we’re sticklers for a polished look,” Core said. “You have to be the total package, the total picture of what we’re looking for. It’s not just looks or your ability to dance, it’s everything.”

The speech prompted Amy Jesse to pull the mirror back out of her makeup bag, comb her hair and apply more lipstick.

“I’m really nervous,” the 21-year-old from Naperville confided. “I almost decided not to come this morning when I woke up and I don’t expect to be picked, but at the same time I’m excited to be here.”

Twenty at a time, the potential Luvabulls–all required to be 21 or older–had several minutes to introduce themselves and perform a couple of freestyle dance moves and a kick line for Core and her panel of six judges. Some dancers advanced to an afternoon session, where they were joined by former Luvabulls who must dance for their jobs back.

“There are no gimmes,” Core said. “Everyone’s got to audition.”


Driscoll, the import from Boston, was one of the 50 dancers invited to this week’s mini-camp.

“I’m resting up and unpacking, but I’m so excited to start,” she told RedEye by phone Sunday.

The women who join the team, which is entering its 30th season, will perform at 41 home games, plus make dozens of promotional appearances on behalf of the club. And for all of the dancers, that’s in addition to full-time jobs.

So why do they want to be Luvabulls? The women who spoke to RedEye said it’s their love of dance.

“I’ve visited Tokyo, Greece, London and Paris, and I’ve had so many opportunities to perform in special appearances,” said Erika Cruz, who served as dance team captain last season. “It’s really amazing.”

Even after six years on the team, the satisfaction of making the squad is fresh for Cruz.

“When they called my number the first year it was surreal, and it’s still surreal,” said Cruz. “I mean, I’m on the court and standing next to Derrick Rose or Kobe Bryant. There are so many exciting moments and I really look forward to every game because you never know what’s going to happen.”

How do they achieve that physique?


Ashley Bond demonstrates step one of kettlebell swings, which work the entire body. (Photo for RedEye by Kate Dougherty)

It’s not easy to look great in the midriff-baring, thigh-exposing, figure-hugging outfits the Bulls’ professional dance team dons during games.

“We really have to be at our best because we’re showing our stomach, legs and arms a lot,” said Erika Cruz, a six-year veteran of the Luvabulls.

Saturday’s tryouts mean the Luvabulls’ short off-season is over, and there is no time for the team to waste. Just as Derrick Rose must have the endurance to lead his team in the fourth quarter of an exhausting game, the dancers need to be in peak condition to keep fans pumped up from tip-off to the final horn.

Of course, just because you’re not one of the 25 women dancing in the United Center doesn’t mean you can’t work toward that type of body.

Luvabulls dancer Ashley Bond (Visit her ChicagoNow blog “Body by Bond”) said she has been preparing herself for the season with kickboxing, strength exercises and yoga.

“My goal is to stay lean and toned and still be able to have lots of endurance so that when we get to those games, I’m not dying after my first routine,” said Bond, a fitness trainer who also happens to be the reigning Miss Illinois.

Once basketball season starts, the Luvabulls get all the exercise they need through high-intensity dance routines they perform during games in addition to two four-hour practices every week.

Fast-tempo dance burns between 200 and 400 calories per hour, according to Naomi Wisely, a dance fitness instructor at Flirty Girl Fitness located on the Near West Side.
“Dancing can help almost every part of your body,” she said. “You’re engaging your arms and legs a lot, and you have to hold your core to keep your balance, so it’s good for that area too.”

TV reality shows such as “Dancing With the Stars” have contributed to a rising popularity of dance fitness, Wisely said. To accommodate demand, Flirty Girl has boosted its schedule to offer more than 40 classes that cover hip-hop, Latin and even pole dancing at all skill levels.

“You don’t even realize you’re working out until you’re sore because it’s so fun,” she said.

Beyond exercising, Bond said she maintains a dancer’s physique by adhering to a strict diet regimen, eating small meals or snacks every three hours. She eats foods high in protein, avoids carbs at night and includes a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit in her meals.

“Everyone knows their own body the best,” she said, “but really it’s all about eating healthy and to stop eating when you’re not hungry.”


Luvabulls Director Celebrates 25 Years

Celebrating 25 years with the Chicago Luvabulls
Nearly 70 former Luvabulls honor Director Cathy Core for her efforts.

Chicago Bulls
April 2009


Luvabulls Director Cathy Core was recently honored for her 25 years with the Bulls organization. On April 4, nearly 70 former Luvabulls dancers were on hand as the Bulls took on the New Jersey Nets to re-unite and thank Core for her years of service.

Current Luvabulls also took part in the celebration in which Core was presented with a plaque and cake after the game.

Also on April 4, the Luvabulls and Core were presented with induction plaque into the Amsterdam Haarlem Basketball Week Hall of Fame. The Luvabulls have performed at the tournament in Holland at since the early 1990s and were inducted this year in their Hall of Fame. Click here for photos.

Chicago Slaughter Girls

The CIFL kicks off its season tonight. In Chicago the Slaughter are hosting the Milwaukee Bonecrushers, and the dance team, The Slaughter Girls, are excited to start cheering for their team.

The Slaughter Girls are under the direction of Wynne Lacey.Wynne’s previous experience includes five years as a dancer and captain in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks. During that time she danced and captained with the AFL’s Chicago Rush Adrenaline Rush dance team.

[Chicago Slaughter Girls]