Lynn O’Brien Cheer and Dance Camps

Former New Orleans Saintsation Lynn O’Brien runs her own Cheer and Dance Camps. But the most important thing Lynn wishes the girls would take away from the camps is not cheer and dance technique. She wants each girl to walk away from her clinics and classes with a smile, pride, and knowledge that they can use in the future. Lynn says, “It is a rough world out there, especially for girls.”

Lynn O'Brien
Lynn with a dance camp class

Before we get back to the camps, here’s a little about Lynn. She danced on her high school dance team, the Goldenettes at Turner High School in Kansas City, Kansas. She was also a UDA All-Star Dancer. Lynn had always wanted to cheer for the NFL growing up. After high school she met her then boyfriend (now husband) David and moved to New Orleans after dating long distance for two years.

She started college at the University of New Orleans and worked as a waitress. One of the girls she met waitressing was on a dance team, the “Dominators of Dance”, that performed at Mardi Gras Parades. Lynn tried out and made that team. Unfortunately her friend that had introduced her to was kicked off the team for not perfecting a signature move. Lynn consoled her friend by saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll try out for the Saints”. Two months later they both tried out and made the team.

Since she had always loved pro football, Lynn says have that one of the most exciting parts of being a NFL Cheerleader was being so close to action. During one of the very first games she cheered at two players tackled with terrific force and impact just two feet from her. Lynn says that most of her teammates moved away, but she was too busy watching to see if the Saints still had the ball.

Her proudest moments as a Saintsation would come while visiting small towns outside of New Orleans. The people, the kids and the entire town were so grateful for the Sainsations appearances. Lynn says she felt such a great sense of pride when she stood under the hotel’s marquee that read “Welcome Saints Cheerleaders”. She says, “I know it’s a small thing, but you can’t take small things for granted.


Lynn on the set of Kansas City LIVE

Today Lynn runs Lynn O’Brien Cheer and Dance Camps. There are five-to-eight week long camps over the summer, as well as two day clinics and weekly classes. Lynn decided to start the camps just after she had her fist child, David. She was not ready to leave him for a long period of time and really wanted to dance again. She had an idea to hold a cheer camp where she would utilize her talents both as a dancer and as a teacher.

During the first camps the girls seem to really open up to her and talk about pretty important things. Lynn had 5 year-olds telling her they think they need to go on a diet! She realized the impact she could have on their lives. These girls really looked up to her, really listened to her and she had to take advantage of that.

A typical class begins with stretches, dance and cheer technique. Then they move on to free dance, where Lynn talks to the girls about moving to the music, if the music goes fast, dance fast, if the music moves slow, dance slow. Most importantly, Lynn tells them dance in a way that makes you feel good. She encourages the girls to use dance as a release of feelings. She advises, if you are happy, sad, mad, scared, just put on music in their room and dance and soon you will feel better.

Then they have “girl talk”. Lynn explains to the girls that now that they are on a dance team (cheer team) together they are best friends. They can rely on each other to learn and lean on. She brings up a topic and let the girls comment on their experiences and their thoughts. Some “girl talk” topics include: body image, giving to our community and those in need, standing up for yourself, healthy eating, smoking prevention, taking care of yourself, a positive body image and role models and much more.

Lynn gives all the girls her e-mail address and phone number in case they want to talk or just let her know how school is. She says she gets great e-mail updates and questions about issues the girls are facing at school.

Lynn says she is especially pleased when parents tell her stories of how their daughters came home and taught the family a lesson that Lynn taught them. One example Lynn cites is a mom who told her 6 year-old daughter had another girl that was being mean to her and mom asked her how she dealt with it. The girl said “I put on my best cheerleader smile and said, I am sorry you are having a bad day, but I care about you.” Her mom said, “You sound just like Ms. Lynn.”

Lynn says that each girl at each camp, class, and clinic holds a special place in her heart. She has had over 350 girls participate in her camps in the past five years and she can tell you something about each of those girls.

Lynn O'Brien

Lynn’s three-year old daughter Maddie is now participating in the camps and classes, and they have a great time making up the dances and learning from each other.

Lynn also has a clinic for the winter that is held one week before Christmas. The girls learn a fun Christmas dance, rockin’ around the Christmas tree, two cheers and we will talk about the importance of giving. And there are more clinics coming during Spring Break. And between camp, classes, teaching pre-school and raising her own children Lynn spends an astounding amount of time with kids, so how do she do it all and keep her sanity? Lynn says she adores children, her own and others. “Kids are amazing and have nothing but love to give. I have never loved a job so much. I love how excited the girls are, the way they look up to me, the impact I have on them. I also appreciate the parents. I think I would go insane without kids. I have a very goofy personality. I need to be crazy and silly and I just don’t think adults would get that.”


Lynn speaking about her Cheer and Dance Camp from Kansas City LIVE! Learn more about Lynn’s camps at LynnObrienCheer.com.

2009-10 Houston Areo Dynamics Auditions

Date: August 1st 2009
Time: Registration – 9:00am, Audition – 10:00am
$10 registration fee at audition – Cash Only
Location: Shops at Houston Center
Shops at Houston Center

areodynamics

Please fill out the Aero Dynamic application and send with an 8×10 full body photo to:

Houston Aeros
Attn: Aero Dynamic Auditions
1221 Lamar St. Suite 1100
Houston, TX 77010

Applications must be received by July 20

REQUIREMENTS
Must have a full/part time Job or attend college full/part time
18 Years of Age by August 1st 2009 (NO EXCEPTIONS)
Reliable Transportation
Must attend all practices (Tuesdays & Thursdays), games, community and charitable appearances

WILL I NEED TO CHOREOGRAPH MY OWN DANCE?

Yes. You will be required to make up your own dance with your own 1 minute song choice (Please have edited music).

WHAT DO I WEAR?

Dance shorts to show your legs (required for uniforms)
Midriff-baring top (Dance or Athletic Bra-Top)
Dance or Athletic Shoes
Select attire that is eye catching and unique

HOW SHOULD I WEAR MY HAIR AND MAKE-UP?

Have your hair and make-up performance ready; please make sure to have your make-up to accent your natural beauty. Your hair should be fixed to the style it is currently in and not to hide your face.

HOW WILL THE AUDITION PROCESS GO?

Registration will start at 9am in the Park Shops Mall and you will be given a number when you register. You will then proceed to the photography area where you will be photographed with our photographer.

At 10am the auditions will begin and we will start to call out numbers randomly for each individual to perform their own 1 minute choreographed dance.

After every participant performs we will have a 30 minute lunch break.

You will then learn a 1 minute dance routine choreographed by a dance instructor and perform in groups in front of the judges.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
Your 1 minute choreographed music on a CD
Valid Drivers License
$10 Registration Fee (Cash Only)
Water
Snacks

IS BEING AN AERO DYNAMIC A FULL-TIME JOB?
No. Being an Aero Dynamic is time consuming and requires commitment to the Aeros for a full season. Aero Dynamic dancers do have full time jobs or attend college and is a volunteer position.

AUDITION LOCATION
Shops at Houston Center
1200 McKinney St., #545
Houston, TX 77010

Parking is available in the Shops at Houston Center garage at the corner of Austin and McKinney or at the parking meters on the streets around the building. Please bring cash for parking, an ATM is located in the Shops.

[Houston Aero Dynamics]

Raiderettes Visit Troops in Iraq

Raiders.com
June 8, 2009

Last week, a group of five Raiderettes, Tiphanie, Cole, Meena, Emily and Ashlee, visited several United States military bases in Iraq. The Raiderettes spent time with U.S. servicemembers in Iraq.

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Meena sent the following on May 30th: “I am finally getting some time to sit down and send off some e-mails. We arrived at FOB Delta in Iraq this morning. It is near the city of Al Quds. For the first time in our Middle East experience we are staying in a tent! It is lined on both sides with about six or seven bunk beds down each side. The “wall” and “ceiling” are tent-like with solid metal beams as interior supporting structures. Cool air is pumped in, but it’s not doing much in this heat. It is super windy and when we lay down on our beds the “walls” actually are snapping with the wind and hitting us in the head. It’s pretty funny actually.

We’ll be performing on an outdoor stage, it is basically the bed of a flat bed truck. The crews here have placed a wood flooring on top of the rusty metal. In the background is a bombed out building, and all around the stage there are mortar bunkers. It’s quite a scene. Today while we were marking our spots and rehearsing our show a soldier approached us and asked if any of us had cheered in high school or college. I was the only one who said yes. He asked if I cheered coed, and I again said yes. Without missing a beat, he asked “Do you wanna stunt?” So after we were finished rehearsing I threw a couple of stunts with him. It was really cool. I also learned that the Raiderettes are the first cheerleaders to perform at this base, so the troops here are extremely excited.

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Our first two days included an evening performance at Camp Beuhring in Iraq after enduring a day of 130+ degrees. Unkown to us, our security detail had made a call to have medics standing by during our performance in case any of us went down. We all made it through safely, but it was good to know our security detail was looking out for us. Our second performance was at Camp Basrah in Iraq to one of the rowdiest crowds I’ve seen in awhile. We had a lot of fun with them and found some die-hard Raider fans.

It’s a little cooler today, maybe around 100 degrees…very windy, we can actually feel the dust and sand on our teeth. I don’t know how these men and women live in this day in and day out. Until you’ve been here, it is difficult to fully understand. I would compare it to standing in front of a massive blow dryer all day.

That’s it for now…we’ll touch base as soon as we get a chance again! Not sure where we are headed next, but we are ready for the adventure.”

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Cole checked in on June 1st: “We did a live appearance from here in Iraq on KRON 4 [with Vern Glenn]. We have already completed two shows. We started in Kuwait, then flew to Baghdad, and back to Kuwait, and then to Iraq. This has been such and emotional trip in many ways. We all are so humbled by what we have witnessed. Equally so proud of what our soldiers have accomplished. They truly are our country’s heroes and we are so honored to be able to thank them for all they do, and all they have sacrificed. Great stories already to tell. Funny moments, tearful moments. We met one of the generals last night, big highlight for all of us. We have collected four coins and one patch so far. We have to go get ready for our next show this evening at 1900. Our agenda is demanding. Not a lot of sleep, or downtime.”

Cole checked in again on June 2nd: “Just quick update. We met a three-star general today! We have six coins now and three patches. We played Rock band with the special forces yesterday, and had a jam session for fun. We also were present during a private promotion ceremony for the special forces. We’re about to head to our next meet and greet, and then get ready for our show here at Camp Striker. Thanks for all your support. We are in such great hands, and feel very safe. Military troops are motivated and happy we are here. Carmen our tour guide is taking such great care of us.”

2009-or-in-iraq_11

During the Raiderettes trip to the Middle East, several soldiers sent e-mail to Raiders.com thanking Football’s Fabulous Females for visiting them. Here is a sampling…

“I am writing this e-mail for “Team C,” the Raiderettes, who appeared in FOB Delta on Saturday night in Iraq. I just wanted to thank your team for coming out here to give us a little entertainment while we are deployed. It meant a lot to us and something like that really goes a long way.” – Marc R

“I am writing this to you today from FOB Delta, Iraq. I am writing this to you today because last night myself and hundreds of other soldiers were entertained by five of your sexy and lovely and courageous Raiderettes. They are Tiphanie, Emily, Ashlee, Meena, and Cole (TEAM C). I would like to thank the Raiders for allowing them to come here to Iraq and entertain us. It was a great show. They were very enthusiastic and they tried very hard to get people up on stage. I myself was one that was up on stage during the dance off. And like it was said last night by a colonel of the base, ‘maybe we’re heroes for being here doing what we do best but just the simple fact that they came here just to try and show us a good time and help us have a good night that made them the heroes’ hero.’ Even though they were here for just one night it was the best night that I have had in a long time. We are eternally grateful for them coming. If they didn’t come I probably wouldv’e just stayed in my tent like I have so many other nights and watched a movie. But them coming here made me so happy. It just boosted my morale level so high for the next month. Them being here and giving us the best show that they could made me feel like I was sitting in the front row on the 50-yard line at a Raiders game. They did a outstanding job and I believe they should be recognized for it. In closing I would just like to say THANK YOU again for allowing them to be here last night. Thank you again and have a safe and happy 2009. From your number one Raider and Raiderettes fan…” – John G.

We’ll have more from the Raiderettes trip to the Middle East, including Vern Glenn’s satellite interview, online later in the week.

Laker Girl Fitness Profile: Annika

How did you prepare for Laker Girls auditions this summer?

I stepped up my workout routine by doing extra cardio and really focusing on stretching, since flexibility is important at auditions. I also worked on increasing my stamina since the first day of auditions is a very long day and requires a lot of energy.

What other styles of dance do you do outside of Laker Girls rehearsals to maintain your skills?

I love taking hip hop and jazz classes, and I really need to get back into ballet too!

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Do you do anything outside of dance to stay fit (ie swimming, biking, etc.)?

I love doing cardio at the gym, and I also love hiking when I get a chance to go.

Take us through your typical workout. Do you use weights, cardio, flexibility exercises? If so, please describe.

I start out with 30-45 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine. Right after that, I stretch because I like stretching when my muscles are still warm. From there, I move on to my favorite weights/resistance exercises–squats, lunges, sit-ups, and various exercises on the large exercise ball.

What do you eat to stay healthy/maintain energy?

I love having eggs with avocado, and fruit on the side for breakfast. It starts my day off right and gives me the energy I need to get going. My favorite lunch is a turkey sandwich or a fruit smoothie, and for dinner I love having a fresh piece of fish with asparagus and couscous! I love having original tart flavor frozen yogurt for dessert because it’s only about 90 calories per serving and absolutely delicious!

Talk about the importance of stretching, yoga or Pilates in your workout.

Stretching is absolutely essential as a dancer, and I love doing it because it is calming and relaxing for me. I love Pilates because it strengthens my core, which in turn makes me a sharper, stronger dancer. Yoga is extremely therapeutic and beneficial for me too. Its simplicity makes it great for beginners too.

How do you balance dancing vs. other fitness related activities?

I like to workout at the gym every other day (the days we do not have practice), so that I’m active everyday and I can alternate activities.

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Who made you aware of the importance of staying fit?

Honestly, I picked it up on my own when I was in college and realized I had gained about 8 of the Freshman 15. I’m pretty self-motivated because I like feeling fit and in good shape. But, I’m also inspired by the trainers at the gym because of their dedication to fitness.

What do you find a “nutritional snack” during the day? In addition, tell us about your favorite meal to eat that you find healthy for your lifestyle.

I love, love, love Fuji Apples–they are a sweet, nutritional snack and they fill me up just enough to hold me over between meals.

What advice would you give to Lakers fans about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

I would say to make diet and exercise equally important–they go hand in hand and both are necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Don’t jip yourself by only doing one or the other.

Do you have an everyday helpful, healthy tips for any of the Lakers Fans?

Drink lots of water!! It gives you energy and is so much better for you than soda and most other drinks. It also helps with portion control because it fills you up.

More Laker Girl fitness profiles, here.

Former Laker Girl Has New Book Due in July

Former Laker Girl Sanda Colton from FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and most recently Dancing With The Stars Semi-Final Round Results Show with Raphael Saadiq, has done it again! You’ve seen her on the American Idol promos, the currently running Subway commercials for the ‘$5 Footlong,’ in the upcoming David E. Kelley show “Legally Mad,” The Dream’s video “Rockin’ That Thing” on stage with Rihanna and so much more!

The Spring 2009 Issue of her magazine, O.G. Magazine is now available Original Girl Magazine is a lifestyle publication Sandra created geared toward college students 18-26 years old for those who are On the Go, In the Know and Very That! Go to OriginalGirlMagazine.com to check out the Spring Issue Today! You can also see the Winter 2008 Issue there as well.

Sandra’s book entitled, BOOK ME! How To Become A Successful Working Dancer In Hollywood! is also due out this July. Featuring Over 50 Top Choreographers, Dos and Don’ts at Auditions and On The Job, Sandra hits this one out of the park! A long overdue compilation giving dancers from novice to professional tips from before you move to what to do once you arrive and how to get working, stay working and steps to move your career forward. She attacks this book like she does life, with a fiery passion! An avid writer, Sandra is also on the Board of Directors for the LA Chapter of AFTRA and is also a member of the Recording Academy, SAG and ASCAP. She put this book together to help dancers really understand what it takes to navigate through the Hollywood Dance Scene!

Sandra Colton (Pink-Cover "I Can't Dance")

[SandraColton.com]

[Original Girl Magazine]

Ivy League Grad, Presidential Management Fellow, Cheerleader

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DC Body Armor Dancer Jess majored in International Relations at Princeton. While in college, she took time out from dancing to concentrate on her studies, but she did direct a small tap dance company. She also got her first taste of journalism as a stringer for The Princeton Packet.

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Before the game Jess relaxes while reading Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown.

After graduating from Princeton, Jess earned her Masters in International Relations from Johns Hopkins. She was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship at the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BGB). The BGB is the agency in charge of all non-military US government broadcasting. Think Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, etc.

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In her position at the BGB, Jess rotates into various positions and departments. She just finished up a stint working as an online reporter/editor for the English radio service.

Her fellowship lasts another year. After that she plans to take a job in the Civil Service.

[DC Body Armor]

Check out our list of Ivy League Pro Cheerleaders/Dancers here.

Volanda Calloway, WRAL-TV, Raleigh, NC

valonda
Volanda Calloway is the weekday noon anchor for WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC. Before coming to WRAL, she was an anchor and reporter at WNCT-TV in Greenville, N.C. Volanda began her career in 1994 as a writer and reporter at the Voice of America radio in Washington, D.C.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Winston-Salem State University, where she graduated cum laude.

Valonda cheered in college from 1990 to 1994 and professionally for the Washington Redskins from 1995 to 1997.

Check out our list of reporters here.

[WRAL-TV Station Bio]

[Valonda Calloway on Twitter]

Michelle Guidry Named Turfcats Cheerleader Director

From <a href=”http://www.turfcats.com/news/2009-03-14/guidry-named-cheerleader-director.html” target=”_blank”>Turfcats.com</a>
<blockquote>The Austin Turfcats were pleased today to announce that Michelle Guidry has been named the Director of Cheerleading and Dance for the team.

Guidry is originally from League City, Texas, south of Houston. She grew up dancing from the age of three. She attended Clear Creek High school where she was a member of the Cavaliers Dance team and was honored to be an officer for two years and serve as Captain of the dance team her senior year.

<center><img src=”http://procheerleaderblog.com/blog/images/2009/Mar/guidryturfcats.jpg” alt=”Michelle Guidry” /></center>

After graduation Michelle spent two years at Kilgore College where she was a member of the world famous Kilgore College Rangerettes. While with the Rangerettes her performances include the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, the second inauguration of President George W. Bush in Washington D.C., several halftime performances at Dallas Cowboys games and halftime performances at the Cotton Bowl.
After attending Kilgore College, Michelle went on to finish her college career at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. She majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. Michelle attained a degree from Texas State University this past year in Psychology.

Guidry spent two years cheering and dancing for the Austin Wranglers of the Arena Football League. Her second year she was honored to also direct the team and choreograph routines for the cheerleaders.

She is looking forward to a great season with the Turfcats! The team cheerleaders are currently seeking a title sponsor. Having your company’s name on our team can reach approximately 250,000 sports fans each year. More importantly, a title sponsorship can help establish a scholarship fund for members of our team. With rising tuition, and increased demands on our team, we desperately need a scholarship fund to ensure our program’s success.</blockquote>

Building for the future

by Frank Jolley, Sports Editor
Daily Commercial
March 12, 2009

LEESBURG — Deanna Clover has been a performer for as long as she can remember.

She has performed in dinner theaters, danced on cruise ships and as a member of the dance teams for the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League and the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Clover’s lifetime on stage has allowed her to travel the world as a promotional tool for the NBA and the Magic, and reached a peak this year when she was chosen to represent the team in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition.

Feeling the aches and pains from years of performing and realizing she had likely accomplished as much as she could as a dancer, Clover decided that this year, her fifth with the Magic, would be her final season.

That doesn’t mean, however, that Clover is leaving a business she has devoted most of her life to. Instead of dancing in the limelight, Clover is looking to move into the wings as the dance-team coordinator for the fledgling Leesburg Thundercats professional basketball team.

Clover accepted an offer from Thundercats’ owner Kevin Simmons in December to become the franchise’s first dance-team coordinator. She held tryouts throughout the county and the seven-dancer team was unveiled recently during Eustis’ Georgefest parade.

“Part of my job is to get the Thundercats name out in the public and let them know we’re bringing professional basketball to Lake County,” Clover said. “We’re going to do that by performing at games and by giving dance clinics in the community. We want to be an active part of the community and become a positive influence for young people.

“This team is going to help develop the image people have of the Thundercats, so we want to make a very good impression and be a staple in the community.”

Clover said she decided to make this season her final year as a Magic dancer after suffering a torn labrum and assessing the amount of wear and tear her body has endured over the years. She recently turned 30, and while there is no age limit to be a Magic dancer, the grueling annual auditions to make the team were taking their toll.

Also, because of her commitments to the Magic, Clover was not spending as much time with her family. She has been married for nine years to her husband, Cliff, who she met when she danced on a cruise ship.

In addition to her dancing duties, Clover works part-time at her husband’s real estate business in Kissimmee and she also has taught dance classes at a studio in in Kissimmee.

“The commitment with the Thundercats will not be as big at the Magic,” Clover said. “Outside of the public relations functions, such as giving clinics or taking part in parades, there will be only 15 home games with the Thundercats as opposed to the 41 home games for the Magic. I’m really excited about the possibility of being able to spend more time with my family.”

Simmons said he when he learned about Clover’s availability, he spoke with the Magic’s dance team manager Jeanine Thomas, who recommended that Simmons hire Clover. Simmons said Clover went to work immediately to form a dance team, juggling that with her commitments to the Magic.

“Deanna’s done a great job helping to put a face on this franchise,” Simmons said. “When I started this project, I wanted to move slowly and do things right. Our goal right now is to get the word out about the Thundercats and what better way to that than with a professionally organized dance team.

“Now we have a way to let people know we’re here and I can get down to the job of signing players and putting a product on the floor.”

Simmons said he currently is exploring his options for finding a home for the Thundercats. He has signed three players to contracts, including former Eustis High School standout Jimmy Hudson, and hopes to fill out his roster after the NCAA Tournament and the NBA Draft.

One of the biggest selling points for the Thundercats, Simmons said, will be the cost of attending a game. Whereas a family of four can expect to spend in excess of $100 — and oftentimes more — to watch a Magic game, he believes families will be able to go to a Thundercats game for less than $40.

“We’ll be affordable entertainment,” Simmons said. “I’m hoping to get area businesses on board as sponsors and work together with community leaders to make this Lake and Sumter County’s team. It may take a year or so to get completely established, but I can see the Thundercats becoming something everyone can rally around and take pride in.

“I’m here for the long haul and so are the Thundercats.”

The Thundercats will host the Orlando Kings at 7 p.m. March 21 at the Everett Kelly Convocation Center at Lake-Sumter Community College. A charity game will begin at 5 p.m.

A portion of proceeds from the game, according to Simmons, will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Pats Tour Diary

NFL Navy Tour Journal
Patriots.com
2/24/09

Read our journal sharing the experience the Patriots Cheerleaders recently had while traveling overseas to visit our U. S. military troops who are stationed in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Africa.

View Photos from the tour >>

Hey everyone, Brittany here! I am so excited to share with you the experience the Patriots Cheerleaders recently had while traveling overseas to visit our U. S. military troops who are stationed in the Middle East, Persian Gulf and Africa.

The excitement started in early January, when Angela L., Danielle, Jillian, Julia and I were notified by Coach Tracy that we had been selected to take part in an overseas tour with the Navy. We couldn’t wait to see the world, as it was a first-time military tour experience for all five of us.

Jan 27th & 28th, 2009
Packed and ready to roll, we met at Logan airport late Tuesday evening. We said our goodbyes to family and friends, and skillfully reorganized our suitcases to meet the 50-pound bag requirement at the check-in counter. Boy did our carry-on bags get heavy! After what seemed like days, we arrived in Amsterdam to meet up with the second half of our crew; five NFL players and their escort, Dave. We spent a few minutes introducing ourselves to Dave, Noah, Adam, Nick and Tyrone. “The players” or “guys” as we often referred to them, all came from different teams throughout the NFL. At the time of first meeting, I don’t think any of us could have anticipated that these strangers from rival teams would soon become a part of what morphed into an awesome family of NFL representatives. Our group, now doubled in size, boarded the next plane to Bahrain. We were unsure what exactly the next 10 days had in store for us, but were eager to find out.

Jan 29th, 2009
The first two days of traveling seemed a blur as we awoke in a Bahrain hotel room ready to start the adventure on Thursday morning. Our first trip was a journey by helicopter into the Persian Gulf onto a ship called the USS Carter Hall. For most of us, this was our first time traveling in a “helo.” All strapped in, I was initially a little frightened. But after we were off ground, it was really beautiful to see the Arabic Sea, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia from the air.

Once landed on the Carter Hall, we were greeted cheerfully by the crew and took part in a guided tour around the ship. With our cameras out, we clicked away hundreds of pictures as we learned all about the jobs of the sailors on board. We learned that the Carter Hall is called an “Amphibian” ship because it functions both on land and in water. One of the most priceless moments of the night came when Tracy decided to transform from cheerleading coach into a barber, and skillfully gave one of the crew members a sharp “edge up.” We all thought he looked fabulous and Tracy now has a retirement plan from NEPC!

Jan 30th, 2009
Friday morning we awoke to the cheerful sounds of Danielle and Noah over the loud speakers on the morning announcements. With Michael Jackson playing in the background, they offered up the daily trivia question: “The more you take, the more you leave behind.” What could it be? Think about it…. (If you give up, you can find the answer at the end of this blog). And just for a hint, the answer is something that we had to take a lot of while on board the ships. What a workout!

After exploring more of the ships separate departments, we went up on deck to watch one of the special mission crew’s simulate a mission. The sailors and marines scaled the side of the ship, with guns on their backs, on a ladder that lowered them into a smaller boat in the water below. The mission: investigate a suspicious boat nearby. Could it be pirates? Well, this time it was just for practice but these guys are no joke! Go Navy!

After lunch, we said our goodbyes to the Carter Hall and departed via helicopter to our next destination, the USS Nitze. Onboard the Nitze, we were taken to “the bridge,” where we took turns steering the ship! We made our way around the ship and introduced ourselves to the crew. One of the coolest rooms, the command center, looked like a big arcade filled with video games. Obviously, they weren’t games, but rather surveillance mechanisms aimed at keeping the ship safe. We learned that unlike the Carter Hall, the Nitze is a “Destroyer” ship, mainly used for combat.

At dinner, we split up as some ate among the crew in the mess deck, and others with the “XO” or Executive Officer. I must admit, food time was one of the best parts of each day! Every meal we had the opportunity to sit down with the sailors and soldiers on board and learn about their lives, their families and ask the famous question “when do you get to go home?” Despite a little wave of seasickness here and there, we all managed to have a nice evening. We signed autographs and took pictures with our new friends. Best of all, it ended with an ice cream social to honor some members of the crew and to celebrate January birthdays. Yummy! Sleeping was somewhat a challenge, since the bunks were piled three high and allowed minimal room to move! I still can’t figure out how the big NFL guys even fit!

Jan 31st, 2009
Before our departure the next day, we toured the Nitze some more. Again, snapped a hundreds of pictures and said our goodbyes to the awesome crew. Where to next? Back to Bahrain for the night, but not before we had a slight detour to Kuwait. In order to make a transfer from helicopter to a C-130 plane, we were dropped off on an airport runway for about an hour as it became dark outside. We attempted to pass the time away and calm our nerves by playing a little game led by Julia called “would you rather.” She was very creative in her examples and one of my favorites was, “would you rather have velcro facial features or a transparent torso?” Tough one…but you’ll have to decide. Even better, we had a HUGE rice crispy treat that had been given to Tracy onboard the Nitze that was passed around for all to share. Needless to say, we survived!

Feb 1st, 2009
After a good night’s sleep at the hotel, we were ready to head out to the biggest ship yet, the USS Theodore Roosevelt. In our days prior, we had heard so much about this ship and could not wait to perform our first show on what everyone calls the “Big Stick.” This trip, we flew in a COD plane (Carrier Onboard Delivery) and actually got to land on the aircraft carrier! The running joke is that COD actually stands for “Crash on Deck.” It actually felt like a rollercoaster ride, a huge rush! When we got off the COD, the CO (Commanding Officer), XO and tons of the other crew members were there to welcome us. After a delicious lunch and the best chocolate chip cookies ever, we geared back up and headed out to the flight deck. There, we were able to get up close and personal to watch some flight operations take place. Literally, the planes were landing and taking off the ship right in front of our faces! We could feel the heat of the engines and were practically blown over by the wind and smoke.

The rest of the day was just as exciting, as we toured this amazing ship and met the crew. At one point, we all took part in what’s called a daily FOD walkdown (foreign object detection). This is where the crew walks the entire length of the flight deck looking for any objects or material that may damage the plane’s engine if it were to get sucked in. We were pro’s at this walk since the cheerleaders take part in a similar exercise at the end of each practice when we pick up the stray pom-pom pieces off of our practice field!

As the evening approached, we began to anticipate our 1st show! We relaxed for a bit by watching the beautiful sunset and we even saw dolphins and flying fish soaring through the waves. It was quite a sight to see. After dinner, we prepared for our big show in the hangar bay. About 2,500 of the shipmates attended our show and eagerly took part in the audience participation. We had a blast! After the show, we signed autographs and took pictures until well after midnight. Since the Super Bowl didn’t air live until 3:15 a.m. there, we made it our personal mission to stay awake and watch!

Feb 2nd, 2009
After an almost all-nighter (45 min of sleep max) we rallied along to the next day. The crew guided us in a tour of the divisions we had yet to see. It was unbelievable to learn about all of the tasks that take place each day on the TR. When it was time to go, we met back in the Captain’s quarters to say our goodbyes, sign autographs and take part in a special presentation by the TR crew. In addition to being presented with some more awesome coins, the CO presented us all with a Tailhook certificate, to certify that we had successfully participated in a COD wire catch and catapult launch (impending at the time). We are all proud to proclaim ourselves as honorary NEPC Tailhookers!

With that said, let me next describe to you the experience of the catapult launch. Well, truthfully it can’t really be explained so you are just going to have to imagine what it may feel like to go from zero to nearly 140 miles p/hr in less than 3 seconds! Yikes! Back to Bahrain we went, our “home away from home.” After a relaxing night, we were refreshed to head off to our next destination- Djibouti, AFRICA!

Feb 3rd, 2009
The flight to Djibouti was long, approximately 5 hours. As we flew, many of us took turns visiting the cockpit and some of us even attempted to fly the plane! Talk about turbulence! We embarked on Africa with our heads glued against the windows to view the sights from above. On the base, we toured around mostly in an air-conditioned bus since it was so hot outside! Later that evening, we hosted show number two at a recreation club on base called “11 Degrees North.” Again, the troops were pumped to take part in the act and definitely helped us perform a great show for their peers!

Feb 4th, 2009
In the morning, we had fun touring the helicopters and playing with big guns (unloaded of course)! The girls even took part in a friendly game of basketball and hacky sac with some of the soldiers. After lunch, we geared up in our newly purchased military garb and were back off to Bahrain. This time the flight was a bit longer and we took a C-130 cargo plane. We made it into Bahrain by 9 p.m. and spent the rest of the night relaxing on the town with a nice group dinner. Reality was starting to set in that our trip was almost over. Looking around the dinner table, it was an incredible feeling to realize the amazing friendships we had developed with our group and the many people we met along this journey so far.

Feb 5th, 2009
Although Bahrain had been our “home base” for the last 10 days, we had yet to explore outside the local hotel area. Today, that would change! We woke up early and headed out to see a bit of the city. Our first stop was at the Mosque, the largest one in Bahrain! In order to enter this place of worship, we had to dress in traditional Islamic attire with robes and scarves. We were guided around the Mosque and learned a lot about Islam. It was beautiful! After that, we ventured over to the market place known as the Souq, or Souk. Here, there were tons of stores selling everything from gold to singing stuffed camels. We all spent the next few hours getting our shop on! Later on, we went back to the hotel for a quick change and were off to the Bahrain military base. On the base, we felt as if we were on a college campus. It was a cool place. We walked around for a bit and met the CO, while recruiting people to come watch our show. Around 5:00 p.m. we performed our final show of the tour. It was a great way to end a great trip!

Our adventure came to a quick end back at the hotel when we sadly saw off the players and Dave the escort. As they continued on to Greece, we packed up our things to head back home to Boston. During our travels, many of the troops thanked us for taking the time to come and visit them. Our response to them was honest; it was to them that we owed thanks. This trip allowed each of us to gain a much better understanding of the work our troops are doing overseas to protect us all here at home. I think I speak on behalf of all of us Patriots here in New England and around the world, when I say “Thank You” once again to the true Patriots who are out there fighting for our country. This tour was truly a life-changing experience for us all and we can’t wait to go back!

I hope you enjoyed hearing about our travels and if you’re still stuck on the trivia question, the answer is………………………….. “STEPS!”

Cheers & Go PATS!
Brittany

Cheering with the Force: Shannon McClattie

From the Website of the South Carolina Force:

Shannon McClattie was named Director and Choreographer of your South Carolina Force Cheerleaders.

She comes to the organization with a wealth of experience in dance and professional cheerleader knowledge. An 11-year professional cheerleading veteran with the Panthers, she has assisted in choreographing show team shows, the 2000 millennium halftime show, and performed in St. John’s, Newfoundland at the 2001 Bud Bowl. In 2005 she represented the Panthers at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii and in 2006 in a nationally televised show competing with other professional cheerleading teams.

Shannon is no stranger to hard work and works full time as a Forensic Social Work Investigator for the Department of Social Services.

She earned a BA in Criminal Justice from Fort Valley State University where she served 3 years as Captain of the Blue Machine Marching Band Dance team, The Dancing Dolls. After graduating college, she choreographed dance routines for high schools in Georgia and Florida.

“My goal is to have a great season with this organization and bring my professionalism to the cheerleading team so that the finished product is one the city and surrounding area can be proud of. I am thankful for the opportunity to work with the Force and look forward to a winning season” says McClattie. Shannon also states “My motto has always been ‘Don’t watch the show, be the show’ and I plan to incorporate my enthusiasm and love for dance and football together to bring to the fans the best cheerleading team in the AIFA”

The South Carolina Force gladly welcomes Shannon McClattie into its organization.

Auditions for the South Carolina Force Cheerleaders are Sunday, March 8th in Greeneville. Complete details here.

Nets Dancer a ‘Jac’ of All Trades

by Ben Couch
NJNETS.COM

Jaclyn, NJ Nets You might know her as the “Jac of All Nets,” or the coach of the NETSational Senior Dancers, or a model in the Capezio catalog, or “that girl” in several commercials or … well, you get the point. However you’re familiar with Nets Dancer Jaclyn, it’s safe to say she’s exploring the opportunities afforded her.

The Pomona, N.Y. native, now in her fourth year with the team, is a Rutgers graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism. Jaclyn recently took time out of her crowded schedule – 16-hour workdays! – for an exclusive interview with NJNets.com.

NJNets.com: You’re entering your fourth year with the Nets Dancers. How’d you get started with the team?

Jaclyn: I was on a Broadway tour, right after I graduated from Rutgers, and I broke my foot on the tour. They sent me home, and after many months of rehab, I heard that Petra Pope was coming over from the Knicks, and she was starting a new team with the Nets. I thought it something I would be interested in, and when I looked it up online, I saw the audition was the next day. So I just showed up, and I’ve been here ever since.

NJNets.com:
That’ll do it, ha. Two follow-up questions. First: How’d you break your foot?

Jaclyn: I was on the national tour of the Broadway show Contact, which is all swing dancing, and I was dancing with my partner, who – I don’t want to say he dropped me, but he kind of did. I was in 3-inch heels and when my foot hit the ground, I heard it pop. I finished the show on a broken foot. But once I saw the X-Ray and I saw the purple, I knew it was time to go home.

NJNets.com: And what about Petra coming to the Nets made you want to audition?

Jaclyn: Going to Rutgers, I lived with a couple of the Knicks City Dancers, so I knew about her, I knew her background starting the Laker Girls and coming here to New York. I knew that she would run a great team and a program I’d be proud to be a part of, so I figured I’d give it a try.

NJNets.com:
What made you come back after that first year?

Jaclyn: There’s nothing like it. as a dancer, to be able have a steady gig dancing is very rare. I loved all the ladies I danced with, they became best friends of mine and it just doesn’t feel like a job. No matter how many hours we put in, or how many injuries we have, it’s just always fun. There’s no reason to give it up until the time is right.

Jaclyn, NJ Nets NJNets.com: In four years, have you made any memorable mistakes?

Jaclyn: Mistakes … let me think. I think everybody’s probably had a mistake now and then. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything absolutely awful. Thank God – knock on wood – I’ve never tripped on my face and fell. Watch – I’ll do that at the next game. Hopefully not.

I would say costume malfunctions are always an issue, that kind of thing. I know I had an issue in my second season with a pair of shorts being too short, and I got in trouble for that, but ironically that picture ended up on the Web site for the dancer contest the NBA has every year. It got us to the second round, so I can’t complain now.

NJNets.com: What’s been your hardest routine?

Jaclyn: We do so many different styles of dance, that’s probably the hardest part, is transitioning. We’ll do something very Broadway-ish; we did a Lion King number last year where we were barefoot. It was very modern and we had a choreographer from the Broadway show come in and teach it. Then we do Fosse-style numbers and we do really serious hip-hop dances. We’re all over the place: salsa, swing – you name it, we do it. That’s what makes it fun. It’s why we like to do what we do; it never makes it boring.

NJNets.com: Do you have a stylistic preference?

Jaclyn: You know, I don’t. I enjoy partner dancing, I think it’s fun and appreciate that we get to do it here as well. But I love hip-hop and jazz; I was trained in jazz my whole life. Whatever we do, I’m loving it. I guarantee you that.

NJNets.com: How’d you get involved with Contact?

Jaclyn: I auditioned when I graduated from college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, a lifelong dream of mine was always to be on Broadway, and I figured, “Let’s give it a shot, see what happens.” And they hired me.

Check out parts two and three of Jaclyn’s interview.

[New Jersey Nets Dancers]

Tips for hopeful 2009 Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader contestants

Get Your Eagle On!
Tips for hopeful 2009 Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader contestants

By Alyssa D’Egidio
NBCPhiladelphia.com
Feb 25, 2009

BCPhiladelphia.com intern, Alyssa D’Egidio, cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles during the 06′ and 07′ season. She will be providing tips for contestants on how to nail this year’s audition.

It has been almost three years since I had my first audition for the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Squad. Although a few years ago, memories of my first audition are still fresh in my mind as I think about stepping into the crowded room at Lincoln Financial Field.

For anyone who is planning to audition, this is the most intimidating part. Sprawled across the upper level of the stadium awaits nearly 500 girls who are primping, stretching and practicing dance moves while waiting to learn the routine. Seeing this will most likely raise your blood pressure but it is important to stay calm and rely on all the preparation you’ve put in prior to the open call.

As far as preparation goes, the most important thing to concentrate on is physical fitness and dance ability. At the open call audition contestants will be put into groups and walk into a room with a long table of judges. At this point, the judges are focusing on two main things: fitness and dance ability.

Focus: Fitness

With just a few weeks left until the March 28th auditions, it is important to start sculpting and toning your body. The judges are looking for toned stomachs, arms and legs. One thing they are not looking for is stick thin women. It is important to look healthy but fit.

Stephen Williamson, a trainer and owner of Body Blast at Weston Fitness has a few helpful tips for perfecting physiques in a short period of time.

“I think women trying out for the team are going to want to look aesthetically pleasing. The girls need to be able to move which is why an integration of strength training, plyometrics and cardio will be best for these women,” Stephen said.

Let’s break down what each of these consist of and how many times a week they should be done:

Strength Training is important for being able to push your own body weight. Exercises to do include lunges, leg presses and calf extensions. For toned arms and back muscles, push ups are great.

Cardio is also good for keeping your lungs in good condition. “Cheerleaders don’t need to run marathons therefore a combination of sprints and jogging at a pace will keep their lungs in good shape for their dance routines,” Stephen said.

Lastly, plyometric training is used for speed and agility. This training helps the neuromuscular system for quick steps and foot moves. This is great for dancing and picking up choreography quickly.

Stephen suggests doing a combination of these three. “A full body routine twice a week which is made up of half strength training and half plyometrics should do the trick,” Stephen said. “Cardio should be done two or three times a week for 20-30 minutes.”

Diet is also an important part of a cheerleader’s life, so sticking to a high fiber diet will help keep the pounds off. “Taking in a diet of 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrates and 20 percent fat will energize the body and keep it slim,” Stephen said.

Focus: Dance

Once your physique is at its peek, the next goal is to get your dance moves down. At the audition, a short choreography routine will be taught, which contestants have about 20 minutes to learn and an hour to perfect. Obviously contestants can’t practice the dance until the day of the audition, but there are some ways to help make this part a lot easier.

Many college campus gyms offer dance classes from hip-hop to ballet. College students who are auditioning should try to go to at least three dance classes a week prior to the auditions. I did before I auditioned and it really helped me pick up the choreography much quicker. Try taking a hip hop or jazz class which is more the choreography style of the Eagles Cheerleading Squad.

Not a college student? Well, many dance classes are offered in the city and surrounding areas.

Society Hill Dance Academy and Koresh School of Dance in center city offer hip-hop classes for $15 to $20. Classes focus on cardio, movement training and choreography.

The Dancers Studio on Passyunk Avenue offers an hour long Wednesday night jazz/hip-hop class at 6:30 pm. A four-week session costs $15 and will give contestants four paid classes to work on their dance techniques. Call 215-271-6277 for more information.

If you are not sure what kind of dancing the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders do, then it would be helpful to watch last year’s Final Audition Webcast on the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders web site. Before I auditioned, I watched the previous year’s webcast which helped me get a feel for the style of dance the squad does.

KC dancers – are you ready to go pro?

Fluid Dance Convention is coming to Kansas City, featuring former Nuggets dancer and director Sarah Schachterle and Jabbawockeez choreographer Ken Jiminez.

Going Pro Entertainment will feature a special one-day program for college and professional dance audition prep, with special guests Mandy Pruett, the University of Kansas Dance Team Coach; Gretchen Bretz, the former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and Kansas City Brigade Girls Coach; and choreography by Jenni Hanson from the local Best Dance Crew Nu Swagger. Take advantage of several partner discounts for skin care, fitness, photography, dance training, attire and more.
Fluid Dance Convention – Going Pro Agenda
Westin Crown Center Hotel – Kansas City, Missouri
Saturday, March 7, 2009 8am-5pm

$99.00 for one day, $160.00 for full weekend
Register at www.fluiddance.com
Download the official flyer at www.goingproentertainment.com/events