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Blogging the Buffalo Jills Auditions (part 2)

From Buffalobills.com:
During the next two weeks, two Buffalo Jills Cheerleaders team up to go behind-the-scenes and provide their insight to the Jills Cheerleader audition process. In today’s third installment here on BuffaloBills.com, Lisa, a three-year Jills veteran and Natalie, the rookie, share their tryout experiences.

Jills Cheerleader first cuts

Mar 24, 2010

2010-jills-audition-natalie_cropNatalie, the rookie’s blog:

Phew! I made it through the first cuts. I can finally breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the next few days.

The auditions went great . You could see how much everyone wanted to make the first cut because they really brought their A-game. When I first arrived at the convention center Saturday morning I received my number, 38, so I was pretty close to the middle of the group.

It felt like hours went by before it was finally my turn to perform and after my 45 seconds on stage the rest of the day flew by, until we were waiting for results, that is. Once the judges went in the back to calculate the scores the half hour we waited was never ending!

I have been in a large number of cheerleading/dance competitions before but nothing compared to the pressure and nerves I felt while waiting to see if my number would be shown on the big screen. When I finally did see my number I felt a huge rush of excitement that I had made it to the next step of the process. Although I was feeling so happy, it was bitter-sweet to see some of the girls I had become so close with, have their journeys end.

The next part of auditions will continue with a final dance day next week before interviews start. I can’t help but still feel extremely nervous because they have now cut it down to the best of the best. They are going to get a much closer look at your abilities as a dancer as well as who you are as a person and see if you a good fit for their program.

I will have to really stand out and show my personality and make sure they see how badly I want to be a part of their team!

Lisa, the veteran’s blog:

2010-jills-audition2One round is done, three more to go!

The first cut is always the biggest and the most stressful especially for veterans.

We love meeting the new girls and helping them through the audition process but we’re still fighting to keep our own spot on the team. Overall, it’s a very emotional day with lots of tears of joy and sadness. I hope that girls who didn’t make it this time around come back next year and try again.

I auditioned four years ago and wasn’t selected for the final team. Since then I’ve received awards for Rookie of the Year and Veteran of the Year and have had so many amazing experiences. My life wouldn’t be the same if I had decided to give up.

We continue the audition process this week. In the first round we are taught a dance and then given a week to perfect it. The second round is much more difficult. We are taught another dance along with a cheer then asked to perform them that night.

More cuts will be made next week, then again following rookie interviews.

The new season is almost here!

Blogging the Buffalo Jills Auditions (part 1)

From Buffalobills.com:

During the next two weeks, a couple of Buffalo Jills Cheerleaders will team up with their Director, a former Jill herself, to go behind-the-scenes and provide their insight to the Jills Cheerleader audition process. In today’s first installment here on BuffaloBills.com, Lisa, a three-year Jills veteran, Natalie, the rookie, and Stephanie Mateczun, Director of the Jills Cheerleaders, share their experiences, thoughts and expectations during the Jills tryout process.

Jills audition blog #1

Mar 17, 2010

2009-bills_lisa_cropLisa, the veteran’s blog:
Most Bills fans aren’t thinking about football season yet but for the Buffalo Jills and other cheerleaders around the league, this is when our season begins. My name is Lisa and I just finished my third season with the Jills.

Yesterday kicked off the start of the two week long audition process for all Buffalo Jills hopefuls. This is always a bittersweet time for me. It’s hard to see girls you’ve become so close with during the season not return the next year, but on the other hand, I’m so excited to meet the newcomers! After many years of auditioning and performing in front of 70,000 fans, you would think the audition process would be easy – but it only becomes more difficult. Every year the standards are higher and more beautiful, talented girls are fighting for a spot on the team.

The open workshop was held at the Conference Center of Niagara Falls which will also be the location for the 1st cuts on Saturday, March 20th. For the second year in a row, the 1st round will be open to the public. This is a great way to see if the girls will be able to perform for a crowd, and our fans get a first look at the 2010 team. There will be a series of cuts over the next couple of weeks and I’ll be blogging my experience as a returning veteran throughout the audition process. Hope to see you all on the 20th!

Natalie, the rookie’s blog:
Hello All! My name is Natalie and I am a Buffalo Jills hopeful! This is my first year trying out for the team and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Today, 3/14/10, was the first day of auditions. I had been preparing for this for several months and couldn’t believe it was finally here. When I first arrived I had so many butterflies in my stomach, because walking into a room full of all the beautiful girls trying out can be very intimidating. After sitting down and talking with some of the ladies at my table the nerves seemed to melt away. The girls auditioning for the dance team got right to work learning the routine.

Because I have been a dancer my whole life I was feeling a little more in my comfort zone at this point, but still extremely nervous! We learned a routine that is about 45 seconds long and can be performed to three different songs. It was a lot of material to be given all at once, but that is how they will set the good performers apart from the great performers. After learning the dance, we sat down with the director and coordinator while they explained what would be expected of us as Jills on and off the field.

The Jills are all about being classy young women and they have high expectations of their girls and that is what makes their program so respectable. Being that this is my first time auditioning for the team, I was shocked to learn how much is expected of you as well as how much time and effort went into being an NFL cheerleader. The information session was the most overwhelming part of the day for me, but I think that as this process continues it won’t seem like so much.

All the girls at tryouts today were incredibly nice and supportive of each other. I have already met some amazing ladies and we are planning on getting together to practice the routine this week before the first cuts on 3/20.

It is going to be a pretty hectic few weeks for me balancing school, work, and trying to prepare for auditions, but I am so thrilled to be starting this process and will hopefully be able to be a part of this amazing team of women in the end!

Stephanie, the director’s blog:

It’s audition time again and it’s always an exciting time for me. After a couple of months off from Jill’s practices, I look forward to the energy the new girls bring to tryouts.

Sunday, March 14th was one of my first looks at the young ladies that hope to be Jills. Approximately 75 young ladies attended our first workshop. Interspersed with the new faces are many familiar ones; former Jills have to audition each year as well. There are new, talented young ladies coming forward every year and this healthy competition keeps everyone on their toes. We even have a young lady that came to Buffalo from Australia JUST to audition; now that’s motivation!

While I’m looking around the room at workshop, there are some young ladies that stand out right away. They seem to have that “Jills look” down and they are very polite and nice. I’m drawn to watch others as they begin dancing while Kelli our Choreographer teaches the routine.

Although some seem like strong candidates right away, I never pass judgment too soon because there’s always young ladies that take the routine and personal feedback home for a week, practice like crazy and come back stronger than others. There will also be new girls attending our additional workshop this Thursday, so I know there are still many more girls to be seen. We usually get about 100-125 auditioning. We only have places for 45 Jills.

There is so much for the new young ladies to learn. I know it’s overwhelming to them. In workshop we discuss our basic rules, the audition process, attire and expectations at auditions. If they make the team, we want to be sure they understand what they are getting themselves into. We take being part of the NFL very seriously. Being a Jill takes a lot of time and dedication and I think sometimes in a person’s excitement to be part of it, they don’t think through the huge commitment.

Today I organized the applications and matched them up to their audition photos. I need to make sure all of their information is filled out and ID’s have all been checked. I begin creating the judges score sheets, making sure our computer program is ready for scoring, printing audition numbers and making sure my panel of judges is good to go for Saturday. I’m also in daily contact with our audition venue, the Conference Center of Niagara Falls, to make sure we have the correct set-up for Saturday. They have been wonderful to us!

1st cuts this Saturday the 20th are open to the public and we encourage the girls auditioning to bring a support group with them. It really brings up the energy of the whole process.

I’m excited to see even more new young ladies at our workshop Thursday. Back to work!

Jills audition blog #2

Mar 19, 2010

Lisa, the veteran’s blog:
Big day tomorrow! I had a great workout at the gym last night so I’m using today to relax and prepare. I’m meeting up with the veterans tonight for a light dinner and some team bonding before the new season begins.

We had an additional workshop last night for any last minute questions and review of the dance. I was really impressed by a lot of girls that improved so much since Sunday.

As veterans we have to privilege to select our auditions numbers and once again Valerie and I are first up! It’s nice to get it over with early and once we’re done we get to sit and enjoy the show.

I can’t wait to see everyone looking their best tomorrow. Good luck girls! It’s all about confidence!

Natalie, the rookie’s blog:

The final workshop is over and now it is time for first cuts! There were some new faces last night to learn the routine but over-all, everyone was looking strong and confident in the dance.

Last night was a great opportunity for everyone to get to perform in front of people and really get the routine memorized which will hopefully ease some of the nervous on Saturday. The next 24 hours are going to feel like a lifetime but no matter what happens at the end of the day tomorrow, this has been such an amazing experience and I have met some awesome people along the way.

I can be happy knowing I have been true to myself and done the best I could throughout this process. For now I will just have to get ready for the 45 seconds I will have tomorrow to prove myself and then wait, and wait, and wait for the results!

Stephanie, the director’s blog:
Last night was an additional practice workshop and we had so many young ladies come out for the extra practice. Lots of new faces too which is great!

Nichole (Jills Coordinator) and I had a lot of fun watching the bright eyes of the new girls. It’s also great to see the progress of the girls who learned the dance last Sunday. Some come back with it completely mastered! Many young ladies have also visited our hair stylist and make-up artist to learn the “Jills Look” and come to the open practice for us to check if they have the right look for auditions tomorrow.

Along with the excitement come a lot of nerves. The competition is looking tight and every girl, new and old (previous Jills) have to fight for their spots. I’m excited for things to get going tomorrow.