Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Marlins Hold Audition for 2008 Mermaids 

Posted by James at 7:37 AM ET

About 100 girls Take Aim at Representing Team in Dance Crew

By By Joe Frisaro
On a chilly Sunday afternoon, Spring Training was already heating up for the Marlins Mermaids.

About 100 women gathered at Dolphin Stadium to take part in open auditions for the 2008 Mermaids dance squad.

The tryouts are essentially Spring Training for the group. The participants were introduced to various dance moves as they showcased themselves in hopes of being among the 20-25 who ultimately will be selected.

With Bachman-Turner Overdrive's smash hit Takin' Care of Business blaring, Mermaids choreographer and coordinator Jose Guerrero took the hopefuls through a number of standard dance moves.

"This squad has come a long way. It started out as a promotions team. Now they are pretty much a dance team," Guerrero said. "They also are hosts during a game. It's not just dancers, not just pretty girls, but well-rounded talent. They are doing a little bit of everything. They can dance, speak well [in public], and look good."

Marlins Mermaids Auditions

The Marlins introduced the Mermaids as the Major Leagues' first dance team back in 2003. They are an integral part of the franchise's promotional efforts, along with being involved in charitable efforts, such as visiting schools and hospitals.

With Spring Training for the Marlins set to begin next month, the Mermaids will be active in the franchise's caravan (Feb. 4-8) and FanFest (Feb. 9).

"The girls are ambassadors for this organization," Guerrero said. "Besides that, we are heavily involved in charities. They also do a lot of community events, as well as reading to children."

The Mermaids perform at all 81 Marlins regular-season home games. They do routines on the field before games, and on top of the dugouts between innings.

They also are involved in interactive promotions throughout the stadium.

"Last year we tried out a number of different things. We had our first fashion show, and it ended up working out very well," Guerrero said. "I got great feedback from it through the media and celebrity guests who were out there."

As part of the overall marketing of the Marlins, the organization makes efforts to stress making the game experience feel like an event.

For the second straight season, the team will have a Super Saturdays Celebrity Concerts package; after every Saturday home game, a concert and fireworks show will take place. The Mermaids are active in the Super Saturdays games.

Keeping with their theme to "event-ize" baseball, the Marlins are using a show format to decide which hopefuls will be on the '08 Mermaids squad. The Mermaids Audition Finals Show will take place on Jan. 26 at Dolphin Mall, beginning at 5 p.m. ET.

Prior to the Jan. 26 announcement, the finalists will go through a week of intense dance "boot camp."

As the Marlins Mermaids continue to grow in popularity, some other MLB teams have inquired about what is involved in forming a dance team.

"I get e-mails from different MLB organizations just asking us how we do things," Guerrero said. "It's definitely something that is picking up right now."

After the Mermaids are selected, they will go through more training as they get ready for the regular season. A couple of exhibition games that will be trial runs for the Mermaids will be on March 28-29, when the Yankees visit Dolphin Stadium.

"We do a Spring Training game as training," Guerrero said. "We see where they are at and what we need to improve. This year, the Yankees' Spring Training games will be here at the stadium, which actually works out better, because the girls will be at home and they will get the feel for a real game."

Click on over to Marlins.com for more photos from the Mermaid Auditions

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