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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Women put on best moves for shot at Suns dance team 

Posted by Sasha at 11:08 PM ET

Sadie Jo Smokey
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 26, 2007



With big smiles, big hair, bare midriffs, flashing jazz hands and high energy poses, the women sporting tight tops and bare feet are selling what was given to them. They're working it. They're sassy, they're sexy and they're glistening in sweat.

To earn a coveted spot on the Phoenix Suns Dance team, the criteria is more than a hot body and dancing ability, it's attitude, attitude, attitude.

This weekend about 300 women, many from the Valley and one from as far away as Japan, are trying out for the 2007/08 squad. For the entire basketball season, the team made up of 13 to 15 dancers, will shimmy, shake, swing, twirl and pose hard, fast and aggressively under bright lights and loud backbeats in front of a 20,000 people.

Brittany Bell, 19 of Phoenix, danced on the squad last year. Like all the other women in the Suns' practice gym in the bowels of US Airways Center Wednesday night, she's working hard to earn a spot on the team.

"It's kind of nerve-wracking," Bell said. "It's like they've never seen us before."

Bell said judges are looking for fun, charismatic personalities that will fit with what they're looking for.

Whether they fit or not is not up to the dancers said dance team director Maggie Cloud, of Northeast Phoenix. The team is designed to entertain and serve as an ambassador of the Phoenix Suns. In the past year, the squad made 450 community appearances. In the past three years the squad traveled internationally representing the National Basketball Association. Cloud said she wants talented women who have the time to dedicate to team.

"It's a part-time job with full-time commitment," Cloud said. "You're not going to become rich and famous from this job. You will be known, recognized and respected for being a Suns' dancer."

Saturday applicants will submit a resume and a head shot, go through a photo shoot, video interview, learn a new choreographed piece then perform in front of judges. The women who are called back Sunday morning will go through a more intensive interview and perform the same routine again.

For the first time, the dance team members will be announced during a television special 9:30 p.m. Aug. 8 on Channel 45 (KUTP).

"The audition has grown with the popularity of the Suns and we're very proud of it," said Cloud. "The dancers can watch the show and if they're picture comes up, whoo-hoo! They're a dancer."

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