Monday, June 18, 2007

Lady Cats Audition Blog 

Posted by Sasha at 6:12 PM ET

Charlotte Bobcats: Lady Cats fans, get ready! Thursday in Greensboro the Lady Cats took the first step towards selecting the new 2007-08 squad, and open auditions continued at Charlotte Bobcats Arena on Saturday. Along the way, we followed Lady Cats Director & Choreographer Brandii McCoy as she searches for the newest members of the squad, and on Saturday, veteran member Dawn took us through the auditioning process in her blog. We're now at 35 semifinalists as the 2007-08 Lady Cats dance team continues to take shape.

Ready To Get Things Rolling
Lady Cats Director & Choreographer Brandii McCoy | 6/6/07

I can’t believe the 2007 Lady Cats auditions are here. Coming off such a successful season with the Lady Cats is a great way to lead into this year’s auditions.

In my first year coaching the team, the Lady Cats completed more public appearances than ever before, made it to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in the NBA Dance Team Bracket, and sent our very own representative to Las Vegas to participate in the NBA All-Star game! What a great year we have had, and I look forward to having a lot of girls audition to be on the team this year.

We are starting something brand new this year. Our FIRST EVER Greensboro Lady Cats auditions. What a fantastic opportunity for dancers in our sister community to be able to audition for a spot on the team. We are giving up to 20 Free Passes to semifinals, so I am expecting a big turnout in Greensboro tomorrow. I have received many emails from girls all over the Carolinas that are planning on attending both the Greensboro Audition on June 7 and the Charlotte Audition on June 9. Two of our current Lady Cats, Ana and Stefanie, were up in Greensboro early this morning with Rufus to promote the audition on television. They called me afterward and were thrilled at how well it went – you can feel the buzz about tryouts from all the current Lady Cats too!

When they called, I was up early editing music for the audition. This year I am changing up the dance rounds slightly. Normally, we do something really jazz oriented for round one, followed by a hip-hop number for round two. I thought it might be interesting to flip the two rounds so all of our participants get to show off their hip-hop skills and fun personalities. I know the girls auditioning will love that, as that section always gets the most cheers from the audition group.

I have been answering tons of emails from girls asking what we are “looking for” in a Lady Cat. I answer the same thing every time: A QUADRUPLE THREAT.
** Someone who can dance
** Someone who has a team player mentality
** Someone that our fans will like
** Someone who can represent the Bobcats organization well in the community

If you have all four of those qualities, you will go far in the audition process.

At our Event Operations meeting today, we will finalize everything for this weekend’s auditions, and then we will be ready to head to Greensboro on Thursday to set everything at the Greensboro War Memorial Theatre. That is our venue for the Greensboro Auditions. It has a very nostalgic feel to it, and the girls auditioning on stage will add a new dynamic to the entire process! They will feel like rock stars!

I have a strong feeling we will find some really qualified candidates in Greensboro. All of them are eager to begin their dream of becoming an NBA dancer, a dream that I also got to live out many years ago. I’ll keep you posted on how our Greensboro audition goes…

Until later...

Greensboro A Great Success

Twenty free passes were given! Greensboro was a success!

It is Friday morning and I am still tired from last night’s audition in Greensboro. Our staff didn’t return back to Charlotte until about 1:00 am. Needless to say, it was a very long day on Thursday.

The turnout in Greensboro exceeded my expectations, as we had almost 90 dancers in attendance vying for one of the free passes to the semi\finals. Girls had driven from Charlotte, Matthews, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Fayetteville and even Columbia to get a sneak peak at the choreography for Saturday. The hardest part was getting our judges to decide on who should receive the 20 free passes.

A huge thanks to all the judges in Greensboro. Many of the local radio celebrities came out to support us, and I had some friends that coach the arena football team cheerleaders there too. I think the judges were truly entertained for the night. Some of them were even shouting out their favorite numbers to us as they left the building!

There were quite a few candidates that I thought had a lot of potential, and I wish we would have had more free passes to give out, but we could only give out 20. I am hoping that all of the others will audition in Charlotte tomorrow. In fact, I threatened the dancers with a laugh that I would hunt them down and force them to try out if I didn’t see their faces on Saturday! Ha.

It was interesting to see the different dynamic of Round 1 and Round 2 as the girls auditioned. Many of the girls in that area were studio-trained dancers with a lot of technique. But there were also some dancers that “worked it” on the hip-hop section too and got to show off so much of their personality.

One of the funniest parts of the night was the staff of the Bobcats teasing me about my little sayings that I say to the girls – “Work It,” “Be sassy,” “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and “Potential, not perfection.” What happens is some of the dancers get so consumed in executing the choreography, that they forget the showmanship part. I constantly reminded them that our fans don’t want to see a great dancer that forgets to smile. You gotta bring the whole package if you want to land a spot on the team.

If you’re trying out on Saturday make sure you “work it,”

Muscles Sore, Totally Exhausted, But They Are Semifinalists

Our Charlotte audition wrapped up Saturday evening after a long day of deliberation. We have it narrowed down to 35 semifinalists. Now starts the hard part. They will go through professional interviews with the Bobcats staff, rehearse two more times, learn new dance routines and be judged one more time at our final audition on Thursday night. The candidates have their work cut out for them. It takes much more than just being a great dancer to become a Lady Cat. It is imperative that they have what it takes to represent our organization in the community and at appearances as well.

They began lining up outside the Bobcats Arena very early, eager to start the journey. It was neat to see their faces light up upon entering the doors. For many, it was an arena that they will see MANY times over the next year.

As I suspected, the day progressively got tougher as the dances got more difficult. The dancers had to be able to pick up choreography quickly, then turn around and perform it immediately. Add that to nerves, exhaustion, and sore muscles…it makes for some tense times in the arena.

The most rewarding thing for me as a coach is seeing familiar faces re-audition from last year. I think it shows how determined many of them are to live their dream of becoming an NBA dancer. Sometimes their hair has changed, their fitness improved, the outfits get more elaborate. True signs that they are moving in the right direction to reach their goals. I look forward to having them back next year to give it another shot.

For now, we are narrowed to 35, and I will be seeing them in a few hours to run them through a vigorous four hour practice (aka boot camp). No, don’t ever be fooled that professional cheerleading & dancing is easy. These girls are much more than the glamour you see on the court. And they will be proving that they have what it takes all week long as we make the selection of our 2007-08 team. Looking forward to introducing them to all of the Bobcats fans at the Draft Party on June 28 th.

See you then!

Tryouts Truly A Highlight
-- 2006-07 Lady Cats veteran Dawn |6/11/07

Rhinestones. Glamorous Hair. Colorful, head-turning costumes. Eight counts echoing throughout the arena. It's that time again! Tryouts are one of the biggest highlights of the season for dancers. It all starts here. Although I've spent the entire season performing for thousands of fans, I will admit my emotions Saturday ranged from excited to somewhat Nervous… okay, okay maybe extremely nervous.

Arriving at the arena generated a wonderful, familiar feeling. After 42 home games, combined with appearances, the arena becomes a second home. At registration, I had the opportunity to meet some of the finalists from Greensboro who received free passes to the semifinals. After speaking with several of the dancers, I realized they all shared the same passion and drive not only for dance, but for the Charlotte Bobcats organization as well. When I asked how the auditions went in Greensboro, the general feedback I received was that "it was overall great and they really loved the choreography!"

After registration, brief interviews were next on the agenda. I find this portion of auditions to be the most fun! The personal interview gives dancers the opportunity to convey what sets them apart and why they should be selected for the new dance team… not to mention you get a moment to take a "breather" before getting back on the floor. Many people sometimes feel a little apprehensive about interviews, but they actually can be a great experience. As cliché' as it sounds, just remember to "be yourself!" Familiarity with general Bobcats and NBA stats wouldn't hurt either.

Once the interview process was over, it was time to get back on the floor and learn the last routine of the day. This would be the last time to impress the judges before deliberating on who makes it to finals. Our routine was set to the sounds of "White Zombie." This gave dancers not only the opportunity to execute their dance technique, but to show off their "inner rocker." After learning the routine, very swiftly, it was now time to pair off into small groups. Before making their rounds to the floor, finalists could be found making last minute phone calls to their friends and family for support, retouching their makeup or saying a little prayer.

Once the judges left to deliberate, dancers were anxious and contemplated whether or not their number would be called. Many girls expressed how they would react if they were not chosen to proceed to finals. Some were simply happy to be semifinalists, while others said they would be devastated. Many dancers said they would come back next year to re-audition.

After having such a blast last season, I couldn't possibly imagine not being a part of the Lady Cats. As I and the other semifinalists awaited the judges' decision, I reminisced on all the great times I've had this season. Attending All Pro3's Professional Dance Work Shop, seeing my parents' proud faces in the crowd the night of the 2006 Draft Party, seeing the bright smiles on children's faces at appearances, and making 19 new friends are just some of the greatest moments I've had while being on this team.

Finally, the judges returned to announce the finalists. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. All I wanted to hear was the number 192!!! Luckily, my number was called! I am so thankful and looking forward to what's to come. Best wishes to all who came to auditions!


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