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SI Gallery Update – NBA

The San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers are featured this week. Go to SportsIllustrated.com to check it out.

NBA D-League – Anaheim Arsenal A-List Girls

James, our fearless publisher, emailed me a few weeks ago asking whether I would like to come down to Anaheim and report on the Anaheim Arsenal A-List Girls. You see, I’ve taken on an expanded role with the blog as we take this endeavor to the next level and James has been kind enough to provide me with a couple of opportunities to increase my involvement. So, it was with great excitement that I accepted his offer./I knew this would be a challenge because the Arsenal plays their home games in the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, home to the Big West Conference basketball tournament. These arenas can be a challenge because the lighting is typically not so good and you have to have the experience and right equipment to be able to capture fast moving action under these difficult conditions. Now, I have been known to shoot a cheerleader or two in my day, so I came with my “A” game.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

The Anaheim Arsenal play in the NBA D-League, the NBA’s minor league farm system that provides experience and training for young basketball players. Coincidentally, the A-List Girls seem to be a feeder system to other professional cheerleading organizations. For example, former A-List Girls Jenny, Jacqueline, Lauren and Michelle made the jump to the big leagues: Jacqueline and Lauren with the Clippers Spirit, Michelle with the Laker Girls and, of course, Jenny with the Charger Girls. And current A-List Girls Amy, Megan and Monique recently made the 2009 ChivaGirls squad. This is not surprising considering A-List Girls Director Jodi Adamo was a former Clipper Spirit dancer and Laker Girl in the early 90’s. She knows what it takes to perform at the highest levels of professional cheerleading, so I am guessing that being one of her A-List Girls is excellent training for those who aspire to the major leagues of cheerleading.

Arsenal A-List Girls

One of the first things I realized when I got settled in the arena was the number of families with young kids that were in attendance. The Anaheim Arsenal creates a very family friendly environment with reasonable ticket prices and accessible players and cheerleaders, a rather stark contrast from the more impersonal NBA. You get a sense that the staff of the Arsenal makes it priority to reach out to all the fans. All in all, I think an Anaheim Arsenal game is an excellent value for the entertainment dollar. And the cheerleading is first rate.Editor’s note: Yes, I know they are dancers! But enough chit chat. Let’s get on with the photos. Now, I must say I was a little dismayed when I saw the A-List Girls come out wearing warm ups for the national anthem. I’m a red blooded American male and when I think of professional cheerleaders, I think of hot girls in sexy outfits, not warm ups. I quickly realized that the warm ups were a simple but effective prop incorporated into a hot dance routine. Here’s a few photos of Jen, Victoria, Elyce and Aisha working their warm ups.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

However, I was not to be disappointed because at the end of the first quarter, the A-List Girls changed into more conventional attire. Did I mention that these girls are hot? Yes, sizzling hot! And they are all great dancers, as you can see from these photos.

Here’s Elyce, who hails from Brea, California and aspires to be a nurse.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Victoria and I have something in common. She’s from Pasadena, a city that I used to call home for 10 years. Another thing we have in common is dancing…she’s great at dancing and I’m great at watching dancing.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Villa Park’s Lindsay K. aspires to become a real estate professional and a buyer for a clothing company.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Statuesque Rhea calls Yorba Linda her hometown and she is also an OC Flyers Victory Girl. The OC Flyers are a professional baseball team owned, in part, by James Denton of Desperate Housewives fame.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Megan, another Yorba Linda native, is one of three A-List Girls who recently made the 2009 ChivaGirls. She’s really nice and very approachable…I’m not saying you should do so, but that’s the great thing about the A-List Girls. You can walk up to them at the game and get an autograph or pose with them for a photograph. That’s unique in professional sports, that level of accessibility. But, let’s get back to Megan.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Interesting fact about Aisha…she’s a football player who aspires to be a top choreographer. Here’s Aisha in her finishing pose from the second quarter dance performance.

Arsenal A-List Girls

Now I must admit that I was taken a little bit with Teri. You see, Teri has these beautiful eyes and a great smile. And she is very, very photogenic and that’s a rare quality, indeed.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Now, I haven’t forgotten about Jen. I just don’t have a photo of her in this particular outfit. But, that’s okay because I have a few photos of her in the A-List Girls third uniform of the day. That’s the one thing about basketball versus football…many uniform changes. Here are a few photos of Jen in the A-List Girls second half outfits.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Jen hails from beautiful Del Mar, California which is a suburb of San Diego. Now I was told that Jen is going to be trying out for the San Diego Charger Girls in a few weeks and I wanted to wish her well…you see, that’s my normal gig, covering the Charger Girls. So, maybe we’ll see each other next fall.

And speaking of football, here’s another shot of Lindsay K. doing her best Heisman pose.

Arsenal A-List Girls

And one of her hollering to the fans…just kidding. It just looks like that. I kid. I kid. Anyway, Lindsay is very photogenic and it was a very interesting look, so I took the shot…it’s what I do.

Arsenal A-List Girls

And speaking of hot looks, here’s three sizzling photographs of Teri.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Another A-List Girl that was rather striking on the court…Aisha.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

And here are a couple photos of Elyce and Megan dancing during the promotional break in the fourth quarter.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

Speaking of fan friendly promotions, the Anaheim Arsenal passed out Thundersticks in the second half to the fans in attendance…mainly kids, who went crazy with these things. Here’s a photo of Teri banging her Thundersticks together.

Arsenal A-List Girls

Because of a number of in-game promotions and a special performance by a local dance company, the A-List Girls didn’t perform a dance routine in the second half. But, Jodi let me know that I could take photographs of the girls throughout the game to get the shots for the blog. So, I took the opportunity during the lulls in the action to take a few posed photos of the A-List Girls.

Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls
Arsenal A-List Girls

After the game, the A-List Girls signed mini posters for the fans in attendance. That’s the thing about going to an Anaheim Arsenal game. You can meet the players and cheerleaders up close, something you rarely get to do at an NBA, MLB or NFL game.

Arsenal A-List Girls

So, in closing I had a great time in shooting my first NBA D-League game. The Anaheim Arsenals put on a great show and the A-List Girls are worth the price of admission alone. They are truly a top notch squad with some great looking dancers, some of whom you might see gracing the sidelines of an NFL game or courtside at an NBA game in the future./My thanks go out to Danny Peterson, Director of Media and Community Relations for the media credential. And a special thanks to Jodi Adamo, A-List Girls Director for providing me with the access and availability to photograph the squad. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Houston Rockets Power Dancers Dunk

Here’s a sneak peak at the sort of footage you’ll be seeing on the UltimateCheerleaders.com TV show:

Behind the Scenes at the ChivaGirl Photo Shoot

The Sunday before last, the ChivaGirls (dance team for the MLS Chivas USA ) reported to the Home Depot Center in Carson , CA for their very first team photo shoot. The plan for the day was to photograph the girls individually for their team photo and profiles on the Chivas USA website. With almost 20 women to beautify, outfit, style, and photograph in a single day, they certainly had their work cut out for them.

When I arrived around 8:30 in the morning, things were in full swing, but you could tell that the switch to Daylight Savings Time had hit everyone pretty hard. It was a bit chilly in the room, though and that helped wake everyone up. I checked the digital thermometer on the wall. 54 degrees. Woo! This was going to be fun! As always, I took tons of photos for you guys. Check them out here.

The previous day, ChivaGirls Director Aimee Edmundson had clued me in on the plans for the photo shoot. There would be a new approach to the team photo this year. The team shot is their signature photo and will be posted on the Chivas USA website and will be autographed and handed out by the dancers at numerous game day and community events.

A lot of people will see this photo, so it has to be perfect.

Instead of a standard dance team photo, with the ladies lined up in rows, Aimee was going to try something entirely different. A little elbow grease was called for, as this project involved props.

Aimee’s husband Gavin had been put to work constructing a collection of giant letters to spell “ChivaGirls.” The plan was to position the girls in and around the letters. They’d shoot each letter individually, and then Photoshop them together for the team photo. Photographer Mike Nowak (who also shot the team’s swimsuit calendar) was going to jazz it up a little in post-production, so the finished product would be really slick. I couldn’t wait to see it all come together.

Aimee was the first person I saw when I walked in the door. She showed me all of the letters set up in the corner of the room. Each letter one was about five feet tall and made of half-inch foam board and plywood. A few of the letters had 2x4s built in for the girls to sit or stand on. Gavin swore up and down that the boards were sturdy enough to support a dancers’ weight, but I was a bit doubtful. A 2×4 is pretty narrow. I kept thinking how funny it would be if someone jumped up on that letter H and the whole thing crashed to the ground. Crash! Bang! Boom! I mean, it would be bad of course. It would kind of ruin the photo shoot, and someone could get badly bruised. But imagine watching that video over and over. It would never get old.

(Does that make me a bad person?)

I was particularly interested to find out which girl would have to perch on the center bar of the letter H. Somebody’s hindquarters would be extremely sore by the end of the day. I wonder if the ChivaGirls get hazard pay?

Most of the girls had arrived before I did and a few of them were already in hair and makeup. Big curlers. Fuzzy slippers. Uggs. It was all glamour.

There was a lot of ChivaWear laying around the room. Some of the girls were trying on their uniforms and warm-ups for the first time. All of the girls got new boots. There was a cardboard box off to the side, where the veterans had tossed their old boots. Poor, sad go-go boots. They had obviously seen some rough times.

Looking around, I immediately noticed someone I didn’t expect to see there. She looked an awful lot like the a red pailette girl I mentioned in my earlier post. (FYI: her name is Erica. Thank you Amanda, for the scoop on that.) I mentally ran through the photos of girls who had made the team. As far as I knew, the only blondes were Laura and Mandi. Yet here was a third. After about 5 minutes of peeking at her from the corner of my eye, I was 100% sure it was Erica.

What was she doing there? I’d seen the list of girls who made the team, and her name wasn’t on it. I did a quick headcount. She can’t have replaced someone. All 17 members were accounted for. Had she shown up at mini-camp and everyone was too chicken to take her aside and say “Look honey, you didn’t make the team. This nice man right here is going to escort you from the building.”

(Just to clarify, I’m not saying Erica hadn’t been selected because she is a bad dancer. She’s a great dancer and a beautiful girl, and I was surprised when she didn’t make the team. But what was going on here? Somebody had some ‘splainin to do.)

I casually sidled up to Kelley and Marie. “So, uh….what’s with blondie over there?”

The scoop is there are actually 19 ChivaGirls, not 17 as I believed. Two of them had been left off of the Chivas website for various reasons. Erica is one. Liz is the other.

Erica and Monique
(Meanwhile, I really need to talk to Aimee about this thing with the odd numbers. What is up with that? 17 and 19 aren’t even divisible by anything! Why not 16? Why not 20? Who picks 19 girls for a team? I am sorry, but that is just weird.)

I did another headcount. This time I came up with 18 ChivaGirls. Sandra was absent because she had to be out of town for a prior commitment. Whatever it was must’ve been pretty important for her to miss the photo shoot. The group photo is kind of a big deal. Now she’s going to spend the entire season autographing that photo and she’s not even in it! Bummer. Surely there’s some way to include her. Can’t they photoshop her head in there somewhere? Or maybe draw a stick figure in a red and white vest, with an arrow that says “Sandra.”

I mentally tucked that away to ponder later, and went looking for Jebbel and Alheli. Somebody needed to tell me how to say Jebbel and Alheli.

ChivaGirls Pronunciation Guide:
Alheli. Pronounced All-hey-LEE. Alheli is a type of flower (similar to an oleander). FYI: the whole plant is poisonous. If you ingest it, you’ll get really really sick. Like “barfing up a lung” sick. If you burn the plant and breathe the smoke, you’ll be dead. Keep that in mind before you mess with Alheli.
Jebbel. Rhymes with Dave Chapelle’s last name. The J is a soft J like “Elijah.” Not a hard J like “Jerry.” Jebel (slightly different spelling) means “mountain” in Arabic. There are a lot of mountains called Jebel this or Jebel that in the UAE and that area of the world. I don’t know if that’s what her parents were going for.

(Yeah I looked it up. You got a problem with that???)

The actual photography was scheduled to start at 10. In the meantime, there were various activities going on: sleeping, reading, writing, working, playing “The Price is Right” on the I-phone, etc.br br

It’s so interesting. During auditions, everyone has their game face on. It’s only after you make the team, and that you start to see what you’re working with. They’re a bunch of goofballs and troublemakers, if you ask me. It’s just that some are quieter about it than others.

The other person on hand was Aimee’s son, aka Hurricane Keiran. He is two and a half, and like most kids his age, has an insane amount of energy. He’s the kind of kid you have to tag-team to keep an eye on. Aimee had him. Then Gavin had him. Then Megan, then Marie, then Kelley. Keiran has a monster crush on Marie. He luuuuuuvs Marie. He went outside and picked a flower for her. Soon after that, he passed out, dead asleep. Oh man, I miss being two years old. Was that the life, or what?

I helped Aimee move the letters to an open area so she could figure out everyone’s individual pose and how they would all look together. They did “Chiva” first and Mandi was the lucky girl who got the “H” (snicker). Aimee told her to hop up there and Mandi’s eyes got big like “I thought you were joking about that part.” But she climbed up there. A few minutes later, she was looking mighty relieved when Aimee had her switch places with Alheli.

Meanwhile, Marie was cute as a bug in a rug, tucked into the letter C like that.


All of this was a bit more challenging than it looks. Remember, those letters are made of foam board, which isn’t sturdy enough to support anyone’s weight. So everyone appearing to lean or rest on the letters had to fake it a little. Those who were sitting on the 2x4s didn’t have a much better deal.br /br /Alheli was next. I have to give her credit. She rolled with it like it was no big deal, but she had to be in some of the most awkward, uncomfortable positions ever. She was sitting there with one leg in front of the H. Aimee and Mike couldn’t decide if they wanted the other leg in front of the H or behind the H, so she had to keep moving it. Keep in mind that she was sitting on a 5inch wide board, 3 or 4 feet above the ground. Every time they wanted her to move that leg, she had to balance on one side of her tush and lift the other foot way up in the air and over the H to get it to the other side. After watching the first couple of attempts, Emi stepped in to keep her from toppling over. (I wanted to take a photo of it, but I was too busy laughing. Come on, it was funny!) Then they told her to take one boot off while she was balanced up there, and I just about lost it. But Alheli did all of it without batting an eye. That’s what I call a team player!

Emi gives Alheli a hand

Monique and Mandi were next. I don’t know whose idea it was for Monique to have her foot up in the air like that. I warned her she was going to be in serious pain afterward. She didn’t believe me. “I only have to hold it for a few seconds” were, I believe, her exact words.

Monique and Mandi
br /I hate to say “I told you so.”
(But I did tell you so.)

Methinks it’ll be a while before Monique does another heel stretch.

On the other hand, some of the girls had it easy. Megan, Emi, and Amy were all sitting on the floor, so they had it made. Nicole had the G, which is the easiest letter ever.




(Serena, on the other hand, I’m sure had board marks on her posterior long after the shoot was over.)



Tiffany’s pose looked a little painful. She had to squat down and balance on one foot with the other leg stretched out to the side. I bet she really felt it when she stood up afterward. That whole crouching thing was not working. A little voice in my head was sing-songing “I see London. I see France…” Somebody put this girl in a different pose already.

Aimee called in Lindsay for reinforcements on this one. Lindsay is a former Clippers dancer and now works a steady stream of dance gigs. It took a minute, but Lindsay was able to come up with a pose that put Tiffany on the ground in a position that didn’t require squatting. It was sort of a halfway kneeling thing, and I know Tiffany was grateful. (Although I bet that one hurt too.)


Speaking of Tiffany, check out her new hairstyle. The stylist took a few inches off and created a graduated bob that’s a bit longer in the front than the back. That hair gives her a lot more “oomphf.” And who knew she was so adorable?

Liz had a tough one too, leaning against the A like that. I think they put Ashley on the other side to keep the A from wobbling.

Ashley and Liz

Can we talk about Ashley’s hair for a minute? She’s got this gorgeous, curly hair and it is huge. She is not a big person so when she sits down, it’s like a big pile of hair with some legs and feet sticking out underneath. I’d love to have that hair. I’d trade with her in a heartbeat. I’m serious.

Watching everyone transform from “regular girl” to “ChivaGirl” was fascinating. It was like watching Bruce Wayne turn into Batman. (But with chicks in short skirts.) Hey, they both wear tights, right? And boots. ChivaGirls may not have a utility belt like Batman, but at least they don’t wear their underwear on the outside.

Kelley was doing double duty as one of the two makeup artists for the day. She used to work for MAC. Now she freelances for special occasions (weddings and such.) That really says something about Kelley, because a bride on her wedding day is one of the scariest creatures alive. Wound up. Hysterical. Tearful. Crazed. Drunk. And that was just MY sister on her wedding day. (Well, except for the drunk part.)

Jebbel and Marie were the first to get dolled up and ready to go.br

Jebbel and Marie

After their turn, they wanted to look at photos. Aimee had to put an end to that because they were getting hypercritical and picking themselves apart. It’s not that they were all having a Jan Brady moment (I’m ugly! UGLY!), but each found at least one body part to be horrified about. They were making themselves mental over it, so Aimee cut them off. (Access to the photos, I mean. Not their body parts.)

Marie, you look fine

I don’t know if that helped or not. Sometimes the unknown is scarier than the known. Clearly some of them were sitting around, convinced that they would look like drooling, cross-eyed lizard-women in their photos.

On the other hand, I guess it could’ve been worse. They could have been stomping around the place like “I cannot believe you are unable to capture my innate hotness with your camera.”

It’s not that they’re shallow. I mean, I get it. If someone was taking a photo of me and I knew
(A) hundreds, if not thousands of people would see it
(B) I would be surrounded on both sides by good looking women,
(C) looking good is part of the job, and/or
(D) there are no do-overs,

I guess I’d be a little paranoid too.

I don’t like people taking my picture, and nobody ever even sees those!

Mostly, they just got this pained expression on their faces.

I was sympathetic at first. I started out the morning, like “What are you talking about; you look totally cute in this picture.” But that wore off a couple hours into it and I found myself torturing them instead.

ChivaGirl: Ugh. My thighs are huge.
That is not true. The one on the left looks perfectly fine

ChivaGirl: I think one of my eyes is bigger than the other.
Me: You noticed that too, huh?

ChivaGirl: Why does my face look like that?
Me: Genetics. We all have our crosses to bear.

Hey, I kid because I love.

Honestly, they all looked great. Better than great. I wished they would realize that and stop fussing about it. I really wanted to stand up on a chair and say “Listen up, ChivaGirls. Knock it off!”

A few letters into the shoot – somwhere around V or A, it all started to come together. I could visualize the end result in my head. This photo is going to be so cool.

The girls shooting in pairs (letters C-I-A-R-S) were interesting to watch. Inevitably, one girl’s pose was way easier than the other girl’s pose. Take Amy and Laura, for instance. Amy sat down, and she was good to go. Meanwhile, it was “turn this way Laura, turn that way Laura, take a step towards me, turn to the side, nevermind, go back to where you were, can you do something different with your arms?”

Everyone’s trying to figure out where to put Laura and Amy’s just chillin like “Whatever. Take your time; I know what I’m doing.”

Yeah, except where’s the rest of your uniform, Amy?
D’oh. So easy to forget about that vest.

Amy and Laura

Once they were into the letters G-I-R-L-S things started to speed up. The girls at the end of the word were thinking they still had a lot of time, and then all of a sudden, it was “Get it together girls. I need bodies over here!” Then there was a big red and white flurry as everyone hurried to get ready.

Kelley and Dalila were the last pair. Earlier in the day, the news that they were going at the end, was a real downer. What none of us realized though, was the girls with the last letter would have the first individual shoots. So in the end, they actually wound up finished before everyone else. Nice!

Kelley and Dalila

Dalila stepped up to go first for the individuals. Dalila is a baseball-hat-and-sweats kind of gal, and she looked more than ready to be done with the shoot and jump back into her comfy clothes.

The other girls were off to the side, trying to figure out poses that were flattering and not weird-looking. Each girl did a few photos with the soccer ball and a few without. Believe it or not, there aren’t that many things you can do with a soccer ball. Especially if it’s a ¾ standing shot. You can’t kneel or sit or rest your foot on the ball. You can’t hold it over your head, because you’ll look like a lunatic. It’s pretty much “do I want to hold this thing on my right side or my left side?” Given the limitations, I thought they came up with some good ideas.






The individual shots went faster than fast. They kept it moving like an assembly line, and the next thing I knew, it was over. That was around 3-ish, I think.

I wondered what a ChivaGirl does when the photo shoot is over and she’s standing there in sweats with a face full of makeup. There’s still plenty of daylight left. Do you take that face and that hair rollerblading? Do you go see a movie? Go home and defrost the freezer? Do you find your boyfriend and make him watch while you peel off your lashes, because you know that freaks him out?br /br /Or am I the only one who thinks like an 8 year old?

The NBA Dance Team Bracket is Back!

I’m sorry Heat Dancers, but we have to take it away from you this year.
Click here to cast your vote.

Cronulla dancer is determined to shine

A little tidbit from Australia’s National Rugby League. Looks like reality tv is snapping up pro sports dancers down under…

By Eva Tejszerski
St. George Leader

Chanelle Johnson of Cronulla will do everything it takes to prove to Australia she can dance.

And she is one step closer to that goal after making it into the nation’s hottest new reality television show.

The lyrical contemporary dancer was the first entrant to secure a place in the top 100 of this year’s So You Think You Can Dance.(Aussie version)

A trained gymnast, Ms Johnson started “dancing” at her mother’s dance school even before she could walk.

But when she was 10, doctors found a curve in her spine.

“`After I was told I had scoliosis, a specialist said I would need to wear a brace for two years and would need an operation, but I kept dancing [instead],” she said.

“Now, because I am so fit and flexible, dancing has helped build strength in my back muscles.”

When she’s not carving up the dance floor, Ms Johnson cheers in the Cronulla Sharks Mermaids cheer squad, and jets across Australia as a flight attendant.

She auditioned for the TV series when it premiered in 2008, making it into the top 50 before being knocked out of the competition.

This time she hopes her moves will take her further.

“I want to show myself that no matter what, I can make it.”

SI Gallery Update – NBA

This week, the New Orleans Hornets dance team, the Honeybees, are featured on Sports Illustrated. Go see the photos.

Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad Auditions

Opportunity to perform with one of the WNBA’s premiere dance teams during 2009 season

Hip Hop Squad

The Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad is seeking highly energetic, experienced male and female dancers to be part of the 2009 season, which runs from June through September. Auditions for the dance team will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 28 at US Airways Center. Finalists will move to the next round of auditions taking place on Saturday, April 4 at Tempe Marketplace.

Interested participants must be at least 18 years old and available for all Mercury 2009 home games.

Hip Hop Squad Coach, Weezy, will hold prep classes prior to auditions for contenders to familiarize themselves with the style and format of the tryouts. The clinics will be held at US Airways Center on March 9 and 11 at 7 p.m. and March 16 at 7:30 p.m. Clinic fees are $10 per session and are not mandatory.

For more information please visit phoenixmercury.com.

WHO: Mercury Hip Hop Squad

WHERE: US Airways Center 201 E. Jefferson St.

WHEN: Saturday, March 28 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

More Chicago Slaughter Girls

Reader Joel was at the Chicago Slaughter home opener this past Friday night. And he sent us some photos. Unfortunately, the Slaughter Website isn’t updated, so we can’t match faces to names.

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

Chicago Slaughter Girls

[Chicago Slaughter Girls]

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.

PCB Field Trip: ChivaGirl Final Auditions

Final auditions for the 2009 ChivaGirls took place on Wed, Feb 18th. (Yes, I know that was three weeks ago. If it weren’t for this pesky day job getting in the way, I’d have finished this a lot sooner. )

If you missed prelims, you can read all about them here. All of the photos from prelims and finals are right here.

I drove down to the Home Depot Center that afternoon, confident that I knew exactly where I was going. When I got there, I found out that there was an LA Galaxy game that night and there was a lot going on in the parking lot. I told the parking attendant why I was there, and she directed me to Lot 13. What? That’s miles away from the Velodrome!

Get out of my way, lady. I know what I’m doing. I hit the gas, drove right by Lot 13 and proceeded to the Velodrome, where there was plenty of parking. Ha! Did you see all those idiots in Lot 13? Suckers!

(Sidebar: I wonder why the Galaxy doesn’t have a dance team? Switch the red and white for and blue and gold and viola! The ChivaGirls are now the Galaxy Girls It’s not the first time a dance team ever did double duty for multiple teams. (Where is the Galaxy suggestion box? I need to write this down.)

I parked, got out of my car, and immediately noticed that there was something weird going on. There were an awful lot of people around, and none of them looked like future ChivaGirls. Many of them were carrying bicycles. They didn’t look like the sort who would conveniently schedule practice during auditions, so they could ogle all of the dancers.

Inside the building, there was definitely something wrong. Aside from all the cyclists zipping around the perimeter, there were two full on knee pads-and-everything volleyball games in progress. I got the feeling they had all been there for a while. It didn’t look like any of them planned to exit the building in the near future.

Hmmm. This was certainly a puzzle. Was I out of the loop? Had the auditions been rescheduled?

My first thought was “Oh, no! Does Aimee know about this?” So I whipped out my phone and called her to report that dozens of crazed volleyballers were squatting in the Velodrome.

If I had thought about it for even half a second, I suppose I would’ve realized that as the Director of the team, Aimee was the one who booked the location for the auditions. She would of course know if there was some complicated activity going on beforehand.

If the venue had changed, she’s probably the one who changed it. She wasn’t going to answer the phone all freaked out, like “Volleyball! Oh no! Auditions are in less than an hour. Sasha, you have to get rid of all those people!” And then I’d have to get a bicycle pump or something and chase them all away.

(I have been known, at times, to overestimate the importance of my role in certain events.)

Long story short: finals were scheduled for the tennis pavilion, not the Velodrome. Duh.

I got in my car and drove back around to the front, where the parking attendant directed me to – guess where? – Lot 13. I guess that made me a sucker too. I cheated and parked in 10 though. 10 was a little bit closer to the building. I was still a bit twinge-y in my ankle and didn’t want to walk any farther than absolutely necessary. (If you missed out on the whole sprained ankle thing, all you need to know is that there was an small “incident” at prelims that left me with only one working foot. That’s all I care to say about that particular topic.)

When I got to the tennis pavilion I realized – thank you, Lord – there was a ramp to the door instead of the five hundred flights of stairs at the Velodrome. Maybe some things were going to go my way tonight.

Inside, Aimee and the camera crew were getting set up. (There’s a crew filming the ChivaGirls for an upcoming reality show.) The judges’ table was set up on one side of the room. Instead of one long table, there three or five small desks, kind of like the ones you see in elementary school. But bigger, of course.

Nicole and Lauren

Liz, Emi, and Sandra

Many of the girls had arrived early and were busy warming up. Mr. John Peters was also in the house. Judging this time. Not teaching. If you ask me, that kind of sucks. With regular “I have never seen you before and therefore am not biased at all,” judges, you could miss a small step and maybe nobody would notice. Or maybe they’d think one of the other girls messed up instead of you. But when one of the judges is the choreographer, you are sadly outta luck. That guy’s not going to miss a thing. Dang.

Gloria, Aimee, Mr. John Peters, and Lisa

I had arrived early enough to scope out the situation beforehand. It was going to be something of a challenge, photography-wise. The lighting was a bit dim, and the wall opposite the judges was nothing more than a series of glass doors and windows. I worried that I would wind up at the end of the night with 50 photos of my own reflection, and another 50 of the light from my camera flash.

However, I wasn’t the one with the major challenges. The dancers had a bigger problem to deal with. The tennis pavilion is somewhat tent-like and vulnerable to the elements. I imagine in the summers, you can open all the doors and enjoy the weather outside, without actually being outside. But on this particular evening, nobody appreciated the cold weather creeping indoors. All of the ladies were zipped up from ankles to eyeballs. I put on a sweater over my short sleeves and was fine. Then again, I wasn’t wearing a little two-piece audition outfit. I really felt for the dancers. For them, it was going to be a bit like tap dancing nekkid in Antarctica.

On a side note, Juicy Couture must’ve made a bloody fortune on those velour track suits.

At one point, Aimee deputized me to help out with the photos. The girls were instructed to line up on one side of the room, where Gloria was taking Polaroid head shots. After the Polaroid, they had to come to the other end of the room, where I was shooting individual photos. Those photos would be posted on the Chivas USA site when the team was announced the next day.

This is how cold it was in the room: the girls would do the Polaroid, put their warm-ups back on (for the five second walk to the other end of the room), whip the warm-ups off for a quick photo or two, and then jump back into the sweats and zip them up as far as they could go.

A couple of girls tried to get sneaky after the Polaroid. Instead of coming directly to me, they’d try to huddle down for a few minutes to get warm. I don’t know who they thought they were fooling, but it ain’t yours truly. I can see you over there! Don’t be a weenie. Get over here and take this photo like a man!

After the first 9 or 10 girls, I resorted to “escorting” them across the room for the second photo. Not that they wouldn’t have made it there on their own, but I’m a “rip the band aid off” kind of gal. Yeah, you’re freezing your buns off, but it’s only for a minute. Just get it over with.

It didn’t take long to finish with the photos. I like to think that my “warm air is for losers” approach helped move things along. There were a couple of snafus – Gloria ran out of Polaroid film and I missed getting one of the girls, but for the most part, it went well.

    Let’s talk about Gloria for a minute. Who is Gloria? She’d been at prelims too, to help tabulate the scores. Gloria, Gloria, Gloria. I knew I’d seen her somewhere. But where? So far, I know she was on the Beijing Aoshen Olympian (NBA D-league) dance team. But I know I’ve seen her somewhere else too…Hm….

    (Note to self: figure that out.)

I was standing off to the side, minding my own business when – holy crap. Lisa Estrada popped up out of nowhere. One minute she wasn’t there. The next minute, she was. I bet this is what the natives felt like when Captain Kirk beamed down from the Enterprise.

Lisa Estrada – for those who don’t know – is the Director of the Los Angeles Laker Girls. I’m sure I’ve previously mentioned my ongoing mission to cover the Laker Girls for the blog. I might’ve even called it “stalking” a time or two. The Laker Girls have been a tough nut to crack.

Here was an opportunity to talk to The Chief Chick-In-Charge Herself.

Oy. What was I gonna do?

I had to say something, right? This might be the only time I ever saw Lisa Estrada in person. I had to at least introduce myself. It’s part of the job. I was uncomfortably aware, however, that I could really screw things up for this whole entire blog. No Laker Girl coverage EVER. I was skeered to talk to her. Most of this is in my head. But I was still skeered.

This reminds me of the time I went scampering across a football field in Oxnard, chasing after Kelli Finglass, Director of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. As I was running after her, half of me was saying “Just do it, honey. This is probably the only chance you’ll ever have to introduce yourself and show that you are not psychotic.” The other half of me was rolling her eyes, saying “For God’s sake, Sasha. You’re a grown woman. Where’s your dignity?”

Apparently I had none. But I did meet Kelli Finglass and she is a lovely woman.

Now history was repeating. I didn’t know if Lisa was staying or what, so if I was going to do this, I had to do it right away. I got ready to scurry over there. Feets don’t fail me now!

But then I stopped. What exactly was I going to say to this woman?

I couldn’t run over there and be all “Hi-Lisa-My-Name-Is-Sasha-I’m-from-the-Pro-Cheerleader-Blog-I-don’t-know-if-you’ve-heard-of-it-Nice-to-meet-you-I-promise-I’m-not-a-creep-See-don’t-I-look-like-a-nice-respectable-person?-Can-I-come-to-a-game- and-do-some-behind-the-scenes-coverage?-How-about-a-rehearsal? -How-about-auditions?-You-tell-me-where-to-sit-and-I-promise-not-to-move-at-all-or-make-any-sound-whatsoever-You-won’t-hear-one-peep-from-me-no-ma’am-Not-one.”

She could very well look down her nose at me at tell me to get lost. I knew she wouldn’t, but still. That lady with the chimp who went crazy and attacked her friend never saw that coming either.

Not that I’m comparing Lisa to a chimp. People are unpredictable, is what I’m getting at. And so are animals.

I decided to head her way and hope for the best.

Then I started thinking about the Laker Girls, and the Laker games in general. As usual, my overactive imagination (and outright narcissism) got the best of me.

What if I accidentally trip Kobe and he breaks both arms and both legs and all of a sudden I’m all over the news as the person who single handedly destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers. I would be universally hated. Publicly reviled. People I work with would throw things at me.

Plus, there are lots of celebrities at Laker games. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t care about gawking at celebrities. To be honest, they aren’t all that interesting. But what if I dropped my camera on Jack Nicholson’s head?

What if I stepped on Victoria Beckham’s foot and destroyed her $5,000 Manolos?

What if I was pointing at something and accidentally clotheslined Lindsey Lohan?

I could get yelled at. Sued. Taken out back and shot.
Lindsey Lohan’s mom is scary!

Only consider the almost unlimited potential for catastrophe!

Then again, I’m in no danger of weaseling my way into a Lakers game, so perhaps I should just calm down about the whole thing.

I decided not to talk to Lisa. Status quo was ok by me.

Incidentally, on a somewhat related note, Amazon.com completely sold out of the Laker Girls movie. They’ve been out of stock for almost two weeks. How many copies of this thing are you people buying???

Right about then is when I overheard three girls talking about how they had to go to Target at the last minute to get some trunks for finals. I guess Target doesn’t carry much in the way of black trunks, so some girls had to go to more than one store.

In my head I was thinking: Let me get this straight. On Sunday, you had a complete outfit for auditions. Today is Wednesday and now half of your stuff is missing? All three of you? Listen, unless all of you live together on a houseboat and it caught on fire and sank to the bottom of the ocean, taking all of your clothes with it, I can’t think of a real good excuse for losing your bottoms right before finals. It’s not like you took them off on the way home and left them somewhere.

Then Laura helpfully pointed out that everyone had been instructed to wear black trunks or shorts to finals, instead of their regular bottoms. Some people didn’t own any and had to go out buy a pair.


Well in that case, never mind.

Before I completely change the subject, I have to raise my hand and ask “what is up with that?” I’ve seen auditions where the dancers were made to wear identical outfits, or dress in black. (This is so the girls who shelled out for a particularly fetching outfit don’t have an unfair advantage over everyone else.). But why make them wear black on the bottom and not on the top? There must be a reason for this. I just had no idea what it might be. Why just the bottoms?

No, really. WHY?

I didn’t have much time to ponder that, as it was time for the audition to start. I’ll put that on my to-do list to figure out later. Right after the Gloria situation.

The first item on the agenda was to have the girls do the dance they’d learned on Sunday. You remember the song.

“…La la la get Krazy. La la la get Krazy. La la la get Krazy. La la la get Krazy….”

They performed in groups of three. The original plan was for each group to do the routine twice, but the judges decided that once was enough. This is how the process worked for the dancers:

    1. Sweats off
    2. Dance real fast
    3. Sweats back on

Wax on, wax off, Daniel-son.
(That doesn’t have anything to do with anything. I just felt like saying it.)

I wish I’d brought an electric blanket or a hot water bottle. Something to help a sista out.

Finals are when auditions get really tough. Once you whittle it down to such a small group of women, they’ve all got similar levels of talent, presentation, etc. It becomes much more difficult to thin the herd, so to speak. Everyone knows the dance so the judges have to look at other things. Technique. Experience. Polish. Charisma. Charm. Fitness. Maturity. Overall appearance. And of course , you’re looking for some diversity. From what I’ve observed, most teams like to mix it up. Some blondes. Some brunettes. Some tall girls. Some short girls. Girls of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. Girls at different stages in their lives. It keeps things interesting.

Having said all of that, the judges didn’t seem to be struggling with their scores. They were all in a great mood. Somebody had brought brownies, and baked goods make people happy. The judges were pretty relaxed. This wasn’t one of those auditions where the judges look at you stone-faced like “impress me or die.”

The judges

Meanwhile, I was having some issues. (I know, what else is new, right?)

The guy with the video camera had the primo spot for filming the action. I sat on the floor in front of him for a bit, but it was skewing the perspective in my photos. (Nobody wants to see a bunch of nostril shots.) After a while, I decided to ease in behind the video guy and shoot my photos around him. He was kind of crouched over, so it seemed like a feasible plan.

One thing I didn’t realize was that spot where I was trying to go was right next to Lisa Estrada. Oh snap! What now?

I figure this was the Lord’s way of saying “get on with it already.” Someone once said “When God wants you to do something; He gives you a certain amount of time to get it done. Eventually, if you can’t get take care of business, He’ll take over.”

I was afraid if I didn’t say anything to Lisa, the Good Lord would see fit to drop kick me right at her feet.

The Time Had Come. So I gathered up my courage and said hello.

I have no recollection of what was said after that. All I know is it was quick, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything funny, fascinating, or clever. I’m sorry, ok? It was scary for me. The more I try to be normal and professional, the more I sound like a complete idiot. I am convinced of it.

My impression was that Lisa is a nice lady. I didn’t quite get a read on her, but she seems like good people. I’m still a bit intimidated though. She is a very “together” kind of person, and I SO am not. Unfortunately, I’m about 85% nonsense.

(Sigh) Anywho…




Brittany, Tiffany, and Nicole


Dalila and Amy

After everyone had performed in groups of three, the judges called them back to dance in different groups. They were bigger groups this time, five or six at a time. I’m not sure how they decided how to group the girls. It didn’t look like they were doing all the blondes together, all the brunettes together, etc. One thing I did notice though is the last few groups were mostly veterans with on a couple of new girls mixed in. I think it was to see if the newbie could bring it like the vets. And I guess also to see how hard the vets would fight to keep their spot on the team.

(Please keep in mind that I’ve never judged an audition and am most likely talking out of my rear end.)

Sandra, Alheli, and Serena


Amy, Erica, and Liz

Ariel, Tiffany, Marie, and Lauren

The very last part of the audition was freestyle dance. All of the girls lined up and each one had few eight-counts to dance on her own. Freestyle is an opportunity to show off a bit. If you have the highest kicks or the best turns, or can flip from one end of the room to the other, this was the time to do all of that. It also shows what you can do when you don’t have to focus on remembering choreography. You can play around with the music and let your personality come out a little bit.

This part was pretty fun to watch. The music cut off during one girls turn. She didn’t miss a beat, just kept dancing until the song came back on again. Nicely done.

Psst! Lemme let you in on a secret. By this time in the process, the judges have pretty well decided who they want on the squad. This portion of the audition was basically a final chance for the “iffy” girls to influence the final thumbs up/thumbs down vote.




After freestyle, Aimee gathered the girls around to discuss the next steps in the process. She explained that the names of the 2009 ChivaGirls would be posted online by 5pm the next day. The newly-selected team had no time to waste. They’d jump right into mini camp the following weekend. The first home game is scheduled for March 21st. Yikes – that’s right around the corner!

And then it was over. The girls packed up their stuff and headed out the door. Some stopped on the way to thank the judges for the opportunity. Okay, on paper that might sound like a blatant suck up. But it was a pretty smart thing to do. It shows confidence and good manners and leaves the judges with a positive impression of you. (As long as you don’t act like a total suck-up while doing it.)

After the dancers left, the judges gathered their notes together and went to the office to talk it out. It was sort of anticlimactic.

I went back to the parking lot – and promptly forgot where I’d left my car. You know how that goes. You look around for about five minutes, and then you start to get a bit agitated.

This is where I left it, right?

Or maybe it’s the next lot over.

Or did I park all the way the other side of the building?

What am I going to do if I can’t find my car?

How will I get home?

How will I get to work tomorrow?

What if someone stole it?

What if I forgot to set the brake and it rolled down the hill, through a brick wall, and out onto the freeway???

And so you walk up and down the rows of cars, all casual-like, because you don’t want to look like some maniac who can’t remember where she left the car. This isn’t a needle in a haystack, for pete’s sake. Its 2, tons of metal, plastic and a variety other man made materials. How do you LOSE as 2,000 pound vehicle?

I was about 3 seconds away from a full on meltdown, when I finally found my car. Probably 10 minutes had gone by. It felt like hours.


At 5pm the next day, I went to cdchivausa.com. The names hadn’t been posted yet. I hit refresh., but nothing changed.

5:15 – Refresh. Refresh. Nothing.

5:30 – Refresh. Refresh. Nothing.

5:45 – Still nothing. Now I was getting mad.

5:55 – Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh Refresh

The list of names finally appeared at 6pm. By then I was totally stressed out, never mind the girls waiting to see if they made the final cut!

For those of you who didn’t lose patience with me and go to the Chivas site to see for yourselves, I give you the 2009 ChivaGirls!

Ah, but wait! There’s a twist at the end of this particular story. Stay tuned. All will be revealed in the near future….

Row 1: Alheli, Amy, Ariel, Ashley, and Dalila
Row 2: Emi, Jebbell, Kelley, and Laura
Row3: Mandi, Marie, Megan, and Monique
Row 4: Nicole, Sandra, Serena, and Tiffany

True Life of a Bostonista: I Want to Be a Patriots Cheerleader

Boston Magazine
March 6th, 2009

The auditions for the 2009-2010 season Patriots cheerleading squad were held on Saturday at the Dana-Farber Field House At Gillette Stadium. Thanks to some prodding from her sister, Boston magazine online designer Casey McNamara decided to try out even though she had never cheered before in her life.

“My sister literally knocked on my door with coffee in hand that morning,” Casey says. “I knew she was serious, so I quickly got myself glamorized.”

Here’s what Casey’s experience was like.

Bostonista: How did you prepare for the tryouts?

Casey: Shots of Tequila. Just kidding. I couldn’t prepare too much. I was never on a cheering squad or a dance team. I just went for fun. When I got to the stadium, I realized how hardcore all the girls were. All of them had organized dance routines, with moves straight out of So You Think You Can Dance. I had planned to bust some moves just like when I’m out with friends.

Bostonista: What did the crowd look like?

Casey: There was a line of pink, pink, and more pink…and Uggs. Even though it was a windy day, every girl’s hair was in place. I was second-guessing this idea of ours when I looked down at my black workout pants and sweatshirt.

Bostonista: What did you need for the audition, besides Uggs?

Casey: I had to bring my application, resume, and a photo. While the girls had professional pictures, I had a silly photo of my boyfriend and I at the beach. We stood in line while everyone shared previous cheerleading experiences and practiced dance moves. I just stretched awkwardly. Once I registered, they took my photo. I had to strip down to my workout clothes (gray booty shorts and a red sports bra). Other girls wore sequined undies, shiny tights, and sports bras.

Bostonista: What did you have to do for the audition?

Casey: We had a stretching session with a veteran cheerleader, and then learned the choreographed dance for Britney’s “The Circus.” You can see one of the dances here. There was quite a bit of hair flipping going on. I quickly picked that up.

Then girls were taken one-by-one into the judge’s room, where they prepared a freestyle dance in front of a handful of judges, including Ramiro from 94.5, Pat the Patriot, Tracey the cheer coach, and a few others.

Bostonista: How did you feel about your performance?

Casey: My performance wasn’t as great as the trained cheerleaders and dancers. I may have had a few uncoordinated attempts–but I tried my best and had fun doing it, and now I have great stories to tell to family and friends, and readers of Bostonista.

Bostonista: What would you do next time, to improve your audition?

Casey: I’d practice a choreographed dance routine–so I can pull out some real moves during the one-on-one session.

Bostonista: What’s one tip you would give to other women who may want to try out?

Casey: Go in there with your fun personality, meet people, and have a blast. Even if you don’t make it, you will have fun stories to tell. I have a new respect for the hair flipping, high toe touches, and splits. I am still sore!

Luvabulls at the Chicago Auto Show

Reader Joel was at the Chicago Auto Show last month and ran into four of the Chicago Luvabulls.

Amye was a Conference Champion gymnast.

Angela is a former AFL Chicago Adrenaline Rush Dancer.

Second-year Luvabull Ashley is a professional model, aspiring actress and a personal trainer.


Kafi is a three-year veteran and also danced for Loyola University Chicago for three years.

[Chicago Luvabulls]

NJ Nets Dancers & More

Nets DancersSasha likes to bestow the title of “Cool Chick” on deserving individuals. I’m not sure if I am comfortable calling anyone a “chick”, but one of the coolest people I’ve met while blogging is New Jersey Nets Entertainment Director Kimberlee Garris.

Kim is a Harvard Grad (BS in Cognitive Neuroscience), a dancer (Captain of the Harvard Dance Team and a two-time Knicks City Dancer) and in charge of the 80 or so entertainers at the Nets Games. The Dazzling Nets Dancers, the stunting Team Hype, the energetic Nets Kids, the Nets Mascot Sly, and more are all her responsibility.

So it was very cool of Kimberlee to arrange for me to get a pass to the March 1st Nets game. It was also Sly’s birthday, so Mascots from around the NBA came to help celebrate (and dunk). But even with that bit of madness going on, Kim made sure I was in the right place to get the best photos.

I had an Entertainment Pass, so I could shoot the performers, but not the game action, which was fine by me. But it meant I had to stay in the tunnel until it was time for performers hit the court. As the lined up I would kneel in front of the dancers (so as not to block the view of any fans). And as soon as the whistle blew, I’d race on to the court, trying to avoid the video camera guys their cables and the players (they are huge). I also didn’t want to trip and go face first on the floor in front of 15,00 fans. Fortunately, there were no incidents.

The next time I do a Wings Angels post, I’ll tell the story of how I almost was stuck out on the lacrosse field (court?) during play.

Let’s see some photos!

Nets Dancers
There are 16 Nets dancers, but there is a rotation system in place and only 12 perform at each game. But we will see a 13th dancer a little later.

Nets Dancers
Nets Entertainers all in a circle before the game. That’s Kimberlee on the far right with the headset.

Nets Dancers
Nets Dancers rehearsing before the game

Nets Dancers
Team Hype

Nets Dancers
Deb is the new coach of the Nets Dancers and is a former Nets Dancer herself. Prior to this season Kimberlee coached the team in addition to all her other responsibilities.

Nets Dancers
Jaclyn is four-year veteran of the Nets Dancers and has a BA in Journalism from rutgers. While she’s not dancing, she doesn’t have the night off. Tonight she’s wokring as ‘Jac of All Nets’ a web show, that she’s co-producing. Check out her show here.

Nets Dancers
This was quite a production/performance with dancers dancing and tumblers tumbling.

Nets Dancers
Getting ready to perform to a re-mix of Beat It. Notice the dancers are wearing just one glove.

Nets Dancers
At halftime the mascots were dunking. Here’s Grizz, the Memphis Mascot flying high.

Nets Dancers
Performances are scheduled to take place at certain time outs. One was scheduled for the first time out with 3 or less minutes to go in the first half. The problem was there were no stoppages of play! The clock counted all the way down to 54 seconds before a whistle. So what happens if there’s is no stoppage? Kim says it has never happened, but if it did, they’d just go on at the next timeout in the following quarter.

Nets Dancers
What keeps the Dancers and the rest powered through game day? Gatorade

Nets Dancers
If the game goes into the overtime, the Dancers have on additional performance at the end of regulation. Here they are rehearsing the routine in the tunnel.

More photos here.

[New Jersey Nets Dancers]

Rock River Raptors Dynomites

The Rock River Raptors opened the CIFL season with a disappointing loss to visiting Wisconsin Wolfpack, but the debut of the dance team, The Dynomites, did not disappoint at all.

Rock River Raptors Dynomites

Rock River Raptors Dynomites

Rock River Raptors Dynomites

Rock River Raptors Dynomites

Rock River Raptors Dynomites
Dynomites with Director Tricia Keating of Pro Dancer’s Edge.

[Rock River Raptors Dynomites]