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Adrenaline Rush Dancer Brittanie Named to “AFL Dream Team”

Chicago Rush
July 11, 2011

CHICAGO (July 14, 2011) — The Chicago Rush is pleased to announce that Adrenaline Rush dancer Brittanie has been selected by arena football fans to represent the Chicago Rush on the AFL Dream Team sponsored by Aaron’s at ArenaBowl XXIV. She will be performing during the game as well as making numerous appearances throughout the week leading up to the ArenaBowl on August 12th.

“I’m very, very excited and thankful to have been selected by the fans,” says Brittanie. “It’s a great accomplishment to represent Chicago.”

Brittanie is a second-year member of the dance team and lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Off the field she works as a teacher as well as a bartender.

“I am so happy for Brittanie,” said Adrenaline Rush Dance Coordinator, Gloria Esposito. “She is extremely deserving of this recognition and will represent us well.”

The Aaron’s “AFL Dream Team” is comprised of 18 dancers from each AFL team who will perform at ArenaBowl XXIV. 36 dancers competed for the available spots as fans voted for one dancer per team at ArenaFootball.com. The dancers with the most votes were named members of 2011’s Dream Team.

Cheerleading a Real Rush for East Leyden Grad

By Danny Carlino

After years of attending games and concerts at Allstate Arena, Nicole Cargola gets to be part of the show in that facility.

The 2009 East Leyden graduate is poised to be in the spotlight as the youngest member of the Adrenaline Rush Dance Team when the Arena Football League’s Chicago Rush begin their home schedule against the Philadelphia Soul on Friday night at the Allstate Arena.

The trip to the game will seem short for the lifelong Rosemont resident, but the journey is a long one that began when Cargola started dancing at the age of 3.

She began participating in organized cheer and dance teams at 7 years old at the Rosemont Park District and cheered through junior high at Rosemont Elementary School. She took dance classes all along and that helped bring her to the Leydenettes poms team in high school as well as the dance team at Elmhurst College before she tried out for the Adrenaline Rush. Much credit for her talents goes out to Leyden dance coach and neighbor Brenda Drehobl who has coached Cargola through most of her dancing.

“Games were a lot smaller than this,” Cargola said, comparing her high school experience to what she’s preparing for now. “There is a lot more going on while we’re on the sidelines, and we have more routines. In high school we just performed at halftime. It’s definitely been like nothing I’ve ever done before in my life. It’s been a great experience.”

Those varied experiences have prepared her for this moment, and they’ve helped her grow into her current role. Cargola was team captain of the Leydenettes her junior and senior years and credits that leadership role for giving her greater knowledge and even more respect for what it takes to be a good dancer.

Being the youngest member of this year’s squad provides a readjustment for the 19-year old as she goes from being a leader to one of the 11 rookies on the 18-woman team.

The goal of the group is to become a cohesive unit, so it’s in everyone’s interest to give and take instructions so every performance brings the crowd to their feet.

“The veterans have been really helpful,” Cargola said. “It’s especially important to ask them questions. All the rookies have big sisters, and they help us with any problems or questions we have about our routines, and they’ve been great about getting to practice early for questions.”

The team didn’t waste any time getting its act together as it began regular practices the week after the Dec. 4 final auditions.

It’s up to team coordinator Gloria Esposito to make sure that the performance quality stays high and the rookies look like veterans in short order. She’s been a part of what is considered the best dance team in the AFL since its inception in 2001, so she knows what makes a good dancer, and she already sees great things in Nicole.

“I look for someone who has the total package — great attitude, good looks, and being personable,” said Esposito regarding the criteria she emphasizes in a prospective dance team member. “She possessed all of those qualities as well as being a great dancer. She’s always dancing full out, putting her all into everything she does. She’s definitely determined and a harder worker than I was expecting.”

That hard work is paying off in ways that Cargola and her family hadn’t imagined before now. Her parents, Frank and Dianne and younger sister Amanda, who followed big sister’s footsteps and is currently a junior at East Leyden and a captain on the poms squad, have provided an excellent support group every step of the way.

The realization that their many sacrifices have paid off for Nicole has started to set in for the family.

“I was just at their house, and they saw me on WGN (during a morning show performance with the team back in December),” Cargola said. “They never thought that from taking me to my first ballet lesson that I’d be on a professional dance team. They’ve always been very encouraging. I can’t tell of a single game or audition where they haven’t been there supporting me.”

This week the team is going for a walkthrough at Allstate Arena to familiarize themselves with the surroundings and get a sense of what performing there will be like. They will also get some practices on the field so they’ll be fully prepared when they first have to get the crowd pumped up on Friday night for the Rush’s home opener.

It will take some time to get used to, but it’s an opportunity for which she has been working her whole life.

“It’s weird going from watching games and concerts (from the stands) there to be where they perform,” Cargola said. “It will be nerve-racking having the whole stadium with their eyes on you.”

[Nicole at ArenaRush.com]

Video: Chicago Rush Dance Team


2011 Adrenaline Rush Dance Team Roster


Chicago Rush (December 4, 2010) – Saturday marked the conclusion of the 2011 Adrenaline Rush Dancer auditions after four weeks of extensive training and preparation. Eighteen ladies were awarded a spot on the squad after a panel of judges determined that they best exemplified the skills, appearance and attitude of an Adrenaline Rush Dancer.

Several faces on the 2011 team will be familiar to Rush fans with seven veterans of the last season’s Adrenaline Rush Dancers returning this year; Mekial, Ashley F., Brittanie, Courtnie, Lindsay, Raquel and Vicky. Mekial is the Adrenaline Rush captain entering her sixth year with the squad. The other eleven members are entering their rookie campaign as Adrenaline Rush Dancers; Ashley M., Ashley C., Corina, Crystal, Nicole, Kara, Michelle, Amber, Kim, Emily, and Caitlin.

“The final audition was one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences I’ve ever been through! Knowing I had just a few minutes to make a lasting impression on the judges was the most stressful part,” commented Adrenaline Rush Dancers rookie Michelle. “But the second I saw how many supporters and fans we had out there, it was totally exhilarating and reinforced how much I really wanted a place on the team. Being a rookie, I’m not quite sure what to expect this season but I know there will be a lot hard work and fun times. I’m thrilled to be a part of the awesome RUSH organization!”

”On top of the jitters the girls already were feeling, we had to throw in a potentially dangerous drive downtown in the midst of a snow storm, but despite all that pressure the girls performed extremely well,” Dance Coordinator Gloria Esposito said. “I couldn’t have been happier with the way they performed. We had a huge range of talent to choose from and the final decisions were hard, as each judge had their favorites. I think in the end we picked a great team of 18 ladies who will represent the Chicago Rush in every manner that is expected of us.”


Bank teller auditions for Rush dance team

John Rice
The Forest Park Review
December 7, 2010

On a snowy Saturday morning, the Chief called with breaking news. Vicky Rosjana, a teller at Forest Park National Bank, was fighting to keep her spot on the Rush Adrenaline Dance Team. I had to get to the Tilted Kilt immediately to cover the audition.

vicky-rosjanaI had been hoping to interview one of the bobcat cowboys who plow our sidewalks. Instead, I had to endure another dance audition. Plus, I was warned that the waitresses at the Tilted Kilt wore Catholic school uniforms. After looking at those outfits for eight years, I had no desire to see knee socks ever again.

When I got to the packed pub, I noticed the waitresses wore very abbreviated red plaid skirts, tight white shirts tied in front and some sort of suspension bridge device on top. The dancers favored sports bras and shorts. Surrounded by all this pulchritude, I had only one thought – would the food be good?

My French Dip sandwich was excellent and I finished just in time to see Vicky and her partner Racquel take the floor for the last audition routine. First they answered questions from the judges. Vicky spoke of how the Rush football players, dancers and fans were like a big family. In fact, Vicky’s mom and dad were there, along with members of her fiancé’s family.

Their eyes were on Vicky, as the hip-hop strains of “Hey Baby” started and the two veterans began whipping through their moves. They broke the laws of physics several times and moved muscles that most humans don’t have. There was an edge to their dancing that set them above the competition.

Vicky later told me they had drilled those dance moves for six hours that week. Their work paid off because their twists and twirls were as identical as their outfits. After they finished to huge applause, the judges deliberated. This was tense. Thirty girls had tried out and only 18 would make the squad. If Vicky was cut, the Chief might kill the story.

Then I saw him: my personal hero of Chicago journalism. Elliott Harris, author of the Chicago Sun-Times “Quick Hits” section, was one of the judges. If you’re not familiar with “Quick Hits,” it features large photographs of assorted cheerleaders, dancers and well-toned female athletes accompanied by very few words.

After the results were announced and Vicky was safely on the squad, I told the great man that I was covering Vicky for the Review. I’ll never forget his reply, “So, you call this work, too.”

Work it had been and now I had to get my picture taken with Vicky, painfully uncertain about where I should place my left hand. I smiled for the camera but inside I was worried – would the bobcats be finished plowing before I got back to Forest Park?

Adrenaline Rush Dancers Spend Thanksgiving with Navy

Final Auditions are this Saturday and Open to the Public

The Mt. Prospect American Legion proudly hosted members of the U.S. Navy on Thursday, November 25, to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Many service men and women are unable to enjoy Thanksgiving with their families during their short break; fortunately the American Legion honors the service of these men and women by doing all they can to make them feel at home.  As part of this year’s holiday excitement the troops were treated to an appearance by the lovely Adrenaline Rush Dancers.  This is the fourth year that the Adrenaline Rush Dancers have participated in the annual event.


“I’m thankful for spending Thanksgiving with real life brave heroes, it really touched my heart,” effused Adrenaline Rush Dancer Brittanie Matug.  “It really made me realize how much we take for granted in our life.  It truly makes me proud to be an American.”

The Adrenaline Rush Dance Team will be making their next appearance at the Tilted Kilt located at 17 N. Wabash in Chicago this Saturday, December 4th, from 12 to 3 pm where the final auditions to decide the 2011 squad will occur.  All are welcome to attend the event and get the first glance at the official 2011 Adrenaline Rush Dance Team.

2011 Chicago Adrenaline Rush Dancer Tryouts Set for November 21

The Chicago Rush is looking for 16 articulate, attractive, multi-talented performers to represent the team as members of the 2011 Adrenaline Rush Dancers. Those women will be selected when the Rush holds auditions for the squad beginning November 21, the team announced today.


Dancers who meet the criteria who wish to audition for the 2011 team must be at least 18 years old by January 1, 2011. Tryouts will start Sunday, November 21, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and auditions will begin promptly at 9 a.m. Dancers should arrive early and expect to spend the entire day auditioning.

At the November 21 audition, the field of potential dancers will be narrowed to a group of 40 finalists who will then compete for the final 16 spots in front of a live audience of Rush fans on Saturday, December 4 (location TBA).

To be considered, all dancers must fill out an Adrenaline Rush Dancers’ Application and return it along with a completed waiver and release form, a recent photo and a $50 non-refundable registration fee (made payable to the Chicago Rush). Applications and waivers may be obtained by e-mailing the Rush at dancers@arenarush.com or calling the team at (847) 882-9400. The completed information should be mailed to:

Chicago Rush
920 W. Golf Road
Schaumburg, IL 60195

All applications must be received no later than Thursday, November 18.

For those dancers who would like help in preparing for the auditions, the Rush will be hosting audition prep classes on Tuesday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 16 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The cost of the class is $20 per session and those dancers who attend both sessions will receive a $10 discount off the audition registration fee.

2010 Adrenaline Rush

The Chicago Rush website has been updated with individual profiles for the Adrenaline Rush Dancers. Click here to learn more about the team!


Students Graduate From Ballroom to Hip Hop

By Amy Deis

jacquelinebullsMoving to the sound of Jay-Z, Shakira and Jay Sean, Westview Hills Middle School students have been breaking it down as hip-hop dancers.

Every year the students have a dance unit in their gym class. In the past, the school hired a company to come in and teach the students ballroom dancing. This year, physical education teacher Gregg Boldman wanted to do something different.

“With hip hop, you see kids doing this stuff out in the hallways and after class,” he said.

The PTO sponsored hiring Jacqueline Howard to come and teach the sixth- through eighth-graders. Howard is a member of Chicago Rush Adrenaline dance team and a former Chicago Bulls Luvabulls. She also is a member of the internationally known hip-hop group Dance2XS.

She encourages each student not to just learn the moves but insert their own flair into the dance steps.

“You’re still adding style and expressing yourself,” she said.

During Tuesday’s session, Howard taught the sixth-graders a move they refer to as the Matrix where they move in slow motion. Moving in slow motion, Howard said, helps them understand the way the body moves, like what happens if they move their arm a certain way.

“You learn how to counterbalance your weight,” she said. “It’s all about form.”

One of the students’ favorite hip-hop exercises was standing in a circle while each student gets four beats to do four different moves. The students share ideas but still manage to insert themselves into the dance.

Learning hip-hop dance encourages the students to try new things but not feel stupid if they can’t get it the first time.

“We all embarrass ourselves,” sixth-grader Nick Curtiss said.

He prefers doing hip hop to the foxtrot.

“You don’t have to move along with the other person,” he said, demonstrating the kick-step-tap move.

For students like Nick, learning hip-hop dance was a bit easier because he has been dancing since he was 4. Sixth-grader Haley Henricksen said her cheerleading experience helped her do a handstand more easily.

Haley said learning how to transfer her body weight while moving quickly, however, has been difficult. She said Howard was instrumental in her mastering the steps.

“She’s really encouraging; I couldn’t do anything when we started,” Haley said.

One of the harder moves for Barret is a move called the six-step, which is a breakdance move where the person supports his body while his legs move around in a circle.

“It’s like Twister except you’re by yourself and it’s to music,” he said.

The sixth-graders learned how to incorporate the six-step with other hip-hop moves like The Reject (similar to the Running Man but backward) and the Pindrop.

“There’s no limits to what you can do,” Barret said.

Even if someone is a hesitant to try hip-hop dance, Willowbrook sixth-grader Camia Wright has some advice.

“Just pretend you know,” she said.

2010 Adrenaline Rush Dancers Selected



After a year-long hiatus, the Adrenaline Rush Dancers are back.

The 19 women who will represent the Rush this season were chosen on Saturday at the Donald E. Stephen’s Convention Center in Rosemont.

The day began with 67 women registered to compete for a spot on the team. After learning three separate routines, the women were broken down into groups of four and asked to perform in front of a panel of Judges, which included coach/choreographer Gloria Esposito, assistant coach Bob McMillen, and Rush rookie kicker Chris Gould.

Over the next couple hours, the group was trimmed down from 67 to 46, and ultimately from 46 to the final 19.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back on the team,” Adrenaline Rush veteran Tracey Williams described, “there were a lot of talented girls who auditioned, and I just can’t wait to get to work.”

The team will be run by Esposito, who has been a member of the team since its inception in 2001.

The final group, which consists of nine dancers from the 2008 team and 10 newcomers, will begin practice later this week and make their debut on April 11 when the Rush takes on the Cleveland Gladiators at the Allstate Arena.

Adrenaline Rush Dancers Back in 2010


Sixteen of the most recognizable faces of the Chicago Rush organization – the Adrenaline Rush Dancers – will be back at Allstate Arena this season, with tryouts for the 2010 squad set for Saturday, January 9, the Rush announced today.

“We could not be more excited about the return of the Adrenaline Rush Dancers,” said Rush president Ken Valdiserri. “Like the Rush players, the dancers set a standard of excellence that we will look to replicate during the 2010 season and beyond.”


To continue the strong tradition of the squad, the Rush is looking for articulate, attractive, multi-talented performers to represent the team both on and off the field.

Dancers who meet the criteria who wish to audition for the 2010 team must be at least 18 years old by January 1, 2010. Tryouts will take place Saturday, January 9, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and auditions will begin promptly at 9 a.m. Dancers should arrive early and expect to spend the entire day auditioning.


To be considered, all dancers must fill out an Adrenaline Rush Dancers’ Application and return it along with a completed waiver and release form, a recent photo and a $25 non-refundable registration fee (made payable to the Chicago Rush). Applications and waivers may be obtained by e-mailing the Rush at chicagorush@arenarush.com or calling the team at (847) 882-9400. The completed information should be mailed to:

Chicago Rush
920 W. Golf Road
Schaumburg, IL 60195

All applications must be received no later than Thursday, January 7.