Thursday, July 19, 2007
by Erica Ramos-Guevara
SanTan Sun News
SanTan Sun News
When fans swarm the Arizona Cardinals stadium for the team’s first home game this September, they’ll be entertained by a potpourri of fresh faces on the cheerleading team. Though 200 girls tried out, only a few dozen made the cut, including Chandler resident and Ocotillo Golf Resort bartender/waitress Dana Bambino.
“I’m thrilled,” says Bambino. “To tell you the truth I’m still in shock. I’m probably going to be in shock even when we play our first home game. I think it’s unbelievable, and I’m glad that I get to be a part of the team, to get back into performing and represent the Cardinals.”
The 21-year-old danced all her life but took a hiatus after graduating from high school. She moved from California to the East Valley two years ago, looking for a change of scenery. Bambino was happy with her decision, working at the resort for the last two years, but always longed to dance out for the Cardinals back in March.
“It went really well,” says Bambino. “There were a lot of different girls. I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous in my life.”
Cardinals Cheerleading Director Heather Karberg says it was Bambino’s passion and commitment that helped her excel during auditions.
“She carried herself well and had an incredible work ethic throughout the process,” says Karberg. “She really made herself stand out during the interviews.”
The most surreal part for Bambino was the day she put on her uniform for the first time.
“I tried it on at home and was dancing around to see how it felt. It was so exciting.”
Bambino practices with her new teammates weekly, tackling their challenging routines. She has also enrolled in private dance lessons to perfect her technique.
“It keeps me busy. We have to memorize a lot of information and I have to get back into the swing of things. It keeps me out of trouble,” she jokes.
The new cheerleader is eagerly counting down the days to the season opener on Sept. 16 against the Seattle Seahawks. Not only will it mark Bambino’s return before an audience, but her parents will be among the fans in the stands. “They are overwhelmed,” says Bambino.
“They already have the whole trip planned and what they’re going to do when they get here.”
Right now, Bambino enjoys living in the moment, thrilled that her leap of faith to move to Arizona paid off beyond her imagination. In addition to dancing, she plans to continue working at the Ocotillo Golf Resort and resume her studies in fashion merchandising at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
“This is going to be a great year. This is an experience I never thought I’d accomplish. I’m anxious to get back into performing. I really missed it. It’s going to bring back a lot of memories for me. I’m just very excited.”