Tuesday, October 09, 2007
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Dolphins Cheerleaders Runway Revue To Air LIVE on MiamiDolphins.com
By Andy Kent
Special for MiamiDolphins.com
October 5, 2007
Other NFL teams do unveilings of their cheerleader calendars with a signing and maybe a few other fun activities, but those other teams are not the Miami Dolphins.
This Saturday night at 9 (doors open at 8) at the Dolphins' indoor practice facility, the 2008 Miami Dolphins Cheerleader Calendar will officially be unveiled as part of a two-hour extravaganza called "The Runway Revue." The concept, thought up by Dolphins Director of Cheerleading Heather Fraga, is being put on for the second year in a row for special guests considered part of the Dolphins family and combines a fashion show element and a dancing and singing show.
"The show is basically Broadway meets South Beach. I would say Las Vegas, but why would I say Las Vegas just because Las Vegas has shows?" Fraga said. "There are different genres of dance that we're going to display that we don't normally get to on a Sunday afternoon for a game, but it's in a fun way because we're doing fashion shows, which is definitely South Beach, swim suit fashion shows and all different types of music and all different types of dance, something for everybody, basically."
Included on the guest list are Dolphins season ticket holders and friends and family of the cheerleaders, and Fraga said her goal is for this event to reach the exclusive status of some of the world famous fashion shows typically held on South Beach.
The show originally was supposed to take place back in August at Dolphin Stadium but was rescheduled and relocated, which gave Fraga and the cheerleaders more time to practice their routines and build up more excitement. This event has allowed the cheerleaders to tap into more of their talents and to show people that they are about more than just waving pom-poms and jumping up and down on the field.
"I will be singing again, but it's really a place for girls to show their individual talents," said Lacie Randall, who is in her fourth year with the squad and is one of the captains. "We have girls doing ballet, lyrical, tap and more and it's actually a good showcase for our girls to show all the talent we do have besides being cute on the sidelines."
Fraga pointed out that during cheerleader auditions she is actively looking for girls with a dance background or some other type of entertainment background to help round out their squad. This event also has helped attract more cheerleaders and convince more to return year after year.
Michelle Hernandez, another veteran on the squad, was one of those who were taken aback by how big the show actually was compared to what she had done before when it came time to unveil the calendar. In the past, the Dolphins did something on Fort Lauderdale beach with just a couple of dance routines mixed in, and Hernandez has learned most of her dancing skills as a Dolphins cheerleader.
"When I was in high school and I was growing up as a kid I always danced for fun," Hernandez said. "I never took classes or was never part of a dance team. I would just dance in school or try out for shows or plays, so I was always dancing, but when I got here is where I learned mostly everything that I've done now."
Fraga described the reaction to last year's show as exceeding her expectations, with people coming up to her afterward and asking her how she was able to pull off something of that magnitude. Even the cheerleaders themselves were amazed at how involved the show was and how many elements were put in place.
"I had in my mind what it was going to be but it's hard to convey that message until they walked in the day in the bubble and there was a big stage set up for them," Fraga recalled. "There were pictures everywhere, there were lighting and cameramen and it was for real, it wasn't something like they've done in the past."
There will be three different fashion shows incorporated, showcasing swim suits as well as evening wear, and that's an element Fraga definitely doesn't want to see taken for granted. There was a lot of time and effort put into the design of the outfits, along with the advance invitations and just the general preparation.
"Not only rehearsals, but you have to think about months in advance invitations, you have to think about attire, what they're going to where, because I want to not only impress the audience with the dance ability and the performance aspect, but what they're wearing," she said.
Fraga also echoed the thoughts of Randall and Hernandez when it came to looking at this event as a way to help fight the stereotypes associated with cheerleaders. She already has one cheerleader, Lynn Martin, doing a VLOG (video log) on MiamiDolphins.com and showcasing her speaking skills, and Saturday night should help even more, as well as continue to catch the attention of those other NFL teams.
"I guarantee you they've all seen it but they don't want to give you too much credit," Fraga said. "They'll start popping up more and more once they see it, but definitely I've never seen anything to this level around the league quite like this -- ever."