2010 UCLA Dance Team Auditions

The UCLA Dance Team has a long and distinguished legacy.  In the early eighties, the squad garnered notice at the NCAA Basketball Tournament with their California girl good looks and sexy NBA style dance uniforms.  So noteworthy were the UCLA Song Girls, as they were called then, that Sports Illustrated featured them in an article entitled, “Eight Beauties and a Beat”.  That squad featured a future Miss USA and a bevy of “10”s.

More recently, the UCLA Dance Team has rekindled that fire over the last few years when the squad became the subject of many rival teams’ message boards, in particular one Kansas Jayhawk message board.  And perhaps more importantly, the UCLA Dance Team has begun to outshine even the more heralded USC Song Girl squad, which has been beset by a series of embarrassing controversies over the past few years.

So, it was no coincidence that this past Sunday I found myself over in Pauley Pavilion with camera in hand to cover the 2010 UCLA Dance Team Auditions for UltimateCheerleaders.com.  In what is a rare event for west coast cheerleading squads, the auditions were open to the public.  Transparency in any organization, even one as beloved as the UCLA Dance Team has become, is a welcome sight.

I was seated midway up the middle level of the arena, seemingly far away from the performance area at floor level.  With an open audition, friends and family were present and I would presume we were kept at this distance to prevent the enthusiastic fans from influencing the judges’ decisions.  I was seated next to the family of one of the hopefuls (#220) and in front of a group of blonde sorority girls from Delta Gamma, one of whom would have made an excellent dance team member (assuming she could dance).  They were there to cheer on a few of their friends…loudly.

There were over 50 candidates who showed up for auditions this evening.  At 5:00 p.m. sharp, the candidates were introduced to the judges and then performed the Fight Song, Drum Cadence and Performance Routine.  Candidates are not evaluated at this time. This was an opportunity for the dancers to warm up and hear the music in the room, as well as for the judges to become familiar with the material. Candidates then exited the performance area and the auditions began in earnest.

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Continue reading 2010 UCLA Dance Team Auditions

The UCLA Dance Team Revisited

A few weeks ago, I attended a UCLA basketball game and was fortunate enough to take a few snapshots of the incomparable UCLA Dance Team. Last Saturday, I made a return visit to Pauley Pavilion and thanks to StubHub.com, I was able to snap up a lower level seat for the game against the last place Oregon Ducks. This year, there’s not a whole lot separating the last place team from the first place team. Some pundits say that the PAC-10 is down, but I think it’s more accurate to say that there is parity in the league.

In truth, it’s a down year for UCLA basketball, no doubt. UCLA has lost Kevin Love, Jrue Holiday and Russell Westbrook to the NBA. All three of them would be starters on this team if they had not left school early. But that’s all water under the bridge. This team lacks star power and is very young, which means it is prone to turning the ball over at inopportune times…like in the last minute, with the score tied and a chance to take the lead. Alas, two turnovers in that last minute doomed the Bruins. The hot shooting Ducks torched the Bruins early before beating off a furious comeback by the Boys from Westwood. Final score, Nike U. – 70, UCLA – 68.

And speaking of star power, the UCLA Dance Team is definitely not lacking in this area. See for yourself.

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Over the past few years, the UCLA Dance Team has made a name for itself, winning a national dance competition in 2007, impressing many March Madness attendees over the years, and becoming the subject of many blogs (all positive coverage, unlike that other school’s squad across town). All of this notoriety and renown is well deserved. Even venerable sportscaster Dick Enberg has taken notice.

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As Dick Enberg would say, "Oh my!"

Of course, Dick Enberg is well aware of UCLA, having been the school’s basketball broadcaster in the 1970’s before moving on to bigger assignments.

To continue reading this article, please click here to go to my blog, The Hottest Dance Team in the NFL.

Spotlight on College: The UCLA Dance Team

Here at UltimateCheerleaders.com, we tend to focus our efforts on the professional squads. I fear we do not cover colleges and universities as much as we would like. In truth, I believe I am the only one here that does. I suppose that’s because I occasionally catch a college game or two. In this case, college basketball and the squad, the UCLA Dance Team.

Last Saturday, I was able to score a lower level ticket at cost (no small feat) to UCLA’s game against the Cal Bears. As a UCLA alumnus, I was rooting for the Southern Branch of the University of California against our cousins from the North, but on this day the basketball gods did not favor the 11 time National Champions. The hot shooting Bears beat the Bruins, 72-58.

Well, the day was not a total loss. I was able to snap a few photographs of the renown UCLA Dance Team.

UCLA Dance Team Member Brianna

UCLA Dance Team Member Elise

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The UCLA Spirit Squad is under the direction of Mollie Vehling and the Dance Team coach is Nicole Cohen, a former Boston Celtic Dancer and current member of the Clipper Spirit Dance Team.  Both Mollie and Nicole were former UCLA Dance Team members…well after my time at the University, when I was Second Vice Chairman of Rally Committee.

They do a fine job along with the other Spirit Squad coaches, Brian Yi and Greg Calvert.  But with limited funding, maintaining this level of excellence is difficult.  So, if anyone is interested in donating to the UCLA Spirit Squad, you can make a contribution here.

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UCLA Dance Team Member Nicolette

A few years ago, the UCLA Dance Team caught the eye of many in attendance at the Pacific 10 Conference Basketball Tournament with their good looks and inspired dance routines, no small feat when you consider the more famous squad across town.

UCLA Dance Team Member Brianna

UCLA Dance Team

UCLA Dance Team

UCLA Dance Team Member Brianna

I used to shoot for a weekly newspaper, so cheerleaders are not the only thing I am capable of shooting. And with these prime lower level seats, I took a few snaps of the UCLA basketball team.

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Here, Freshman Reeves Nelson demonstrates the wrong way to shoot a basketball.

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UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland lovingly offers some words of encouragement to his young student athletes.

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Well, that’s all for now.  Until next time.