Friday, February 15, 2008
By Robert Howes
In better days, specifically the Sunday before the heartbreakingly imperfect Super Bowl, I was lucky enough to be on the sidelines at Gillette Stadium enjoying the super send off rally. Of course, one of the highlights of the event was the performance put on by the Patriot Cheerleaders. Out in front of the cheerleaders was a young lady watching over them intently, keeping a close eye on their every move, and providing direction as needed right down to ensuring every uniform was properly adjusted. She missed nothing. And that’s what she’s paid to do.
Tracy Sormanti, the Patriots cheerleader director, certainly has the credentials for the job. She was a cheerleader all through high school, a Patriots cheerleader for five seasons, a Pro Bowl Cheerleader, and she has been directing for 14 years. Though she was busy keeping the show on track for the several thousand fans on hand, she was still willing to share a few minutes of her time to discuss her thoughts on what it takes to become a Pats Cheerleader.
What advice does Sormanti have to offer?
“Well, I recommend that they take some dance classes, and if they are already cheerleaders that they continue with their cheerleading practice. They should stay in school and become very, very educated because the Patriots cheerleaders do lots of appearances in the community representing the Patriots organization and the NFL, so they need to be well spoken, hard workers, good time managers, and just be prepared to have an outstanding time if selected to be a Patriots cheerleader.”
So what is the cheerleading experience like?
“There is a lot of work involved,” Somanti said. “For the Patriots cheerleaders, it is a part time job. There are a lot practices and a lot of appearances. But we have a really great time. The cheerleaders are very, very good friends. We do a lot of photo shoots. We do a lot of traveling. We’ve traveled to more than 25 countries since 9/11 in support of our military troops stationed overseas. We travel to the Dominican Republic every year for our calendar shoot. We make a couple of trips a year now to China to support the NFL and the Patriots, so there are so many wonderful opportunities.”
Patriots Cheerleader Director Tracy Sormanti at this year’s Patriots super send off rally.
Of course, this year the Patriot Cheerleaders were lucky enough to cheer at the Super Bowl and one of them was fortunate enough to cheer at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.
The Patriots Cheerleaders 2008 Preliminary Auditions will be held Saturday, March 8, at the Dana Farber Field House (at Gillette Stadium). Registration begins at 11 a.m. To become one of the 24 Patriots cheerleaders, you must be at least 18 by the date of the preliminary auditions. There is no maximum age limit or height requirement. The cost to audition is $20. The tentative itinerary is as follows: Two dance combinations will be taught during the preliminary audition process. You do not need to prepare your own choreography. Participants will be asked to perform the first combination in small groups for a panel of judges. Scores will be based on dance ability, showmanship, overall appearance and level of physical fitness. After the first dance combination is taught and performed by all those auditioning, the first tabulation process will take place. During tabulation, a second combination will be taught.
Participants advancing to the next round will be announced and will then be required to offer a self-introduction, perform a series of high kicks, and perform the second routine. By the end of the day, approximately 75 participants will be selected to compete in the final round, scheduled for Saturday, March 22, at 10 a.m. in the Fidelity Investments Clubhouse at Gillette Stadium. During the two weeks between the preliminary and final auditions, candidates will be asked to report to Gillette Stadium for a personal interview with Tracy.
By March 29, the final 24 members will be announced. Those selected for the 2008 squad will be required to attend two rehearsals at Gillette Stadium each week. These practices are generally held Tuesday evenings (7-10 p.m.) and Saturdays or Sundays (full day, usually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), from April through September. Cheerleaders are compensated for practices, games and public appearances.
The Patriot Cheerleaders will also host an optional one-day audition workshop at Gillette Stadium March 1, starting at 9:30 a.m., to better prepare participants for the upcoming audition process. The cost is $100. You can learn more about the process of becoming a Patriots cheerleader by logging onto Patriots.com. There is a lot of cheerleading talent in Plymouth and maybe one day soon we will see one of Plymouth’s own wearing a Patriots cheer uniform.