Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Charger Girls set to unveil new squad 

Posted by Sasha at 7:22 PM ET

Monday, Apr 14, 2008
By Casey Pearce, Chargers.com

More than 400 Charger Girl hopefuls arrived at the University of San Diego’s Jenny Craig Pavilion Sunday morning with aspirations of joining the NFL’s hottest dance team. By late afternoon, two rounds of auditions had whittled that number down to 72 and later this week the 2008-09 Charger Girl squad will be set.

“It’s encouraging to me that the popularity of this program keeps growing,” Charger Girls Director Lisa Simmons said. “This year’s turnout is definitely something to be excited about. We have a lot of beautiful and incredibly talented women to choose from. The final selection will be difficult.

Preliminary auditions began with registration at 9 a.m. Sunday morning as women made their way to San Diego to audition. Some women traveled as far as Utah, Hawaii and even Japan.

“We have girls come in from out of state every year to audition with the idea of relocating if they make the team,” Simmons said. “We also have a lot of talented ladies come down from Orange County and the Los Angeles area.”

Once the women hit the gym floor at 10:30 a.m., the competition began. The audition was led by renowned choreographer Cheryl Aure, a former Los Angeles Laker Girl who has worked with musical groups such as the Black Eyed Peas and regularly puts together routines for NFL and NBA dance teams.

Aure spent roughly one hour teaching the 400-plus candidates a 32-beat routine. Then, three at a time, the women had the opportunity to perform what they’d just learned in front of a panel of judges. While dancing ability is a priority, the judges were also critiquing attitude, appearance and showmanship.

“We’re looking for the total package,” Simmons said. “We want women who have a strong cheer, dance and performance background as well as overall charisma. It’s also important to us to have powerful, intelligent and educated women to represent the program well in the community.”

After each girl had their opportunity to perform the short routine, the judges huddled for nearly one hour to cut the list to 200. Those advancing to the second round were taught another routine Sunday afternoon and went through a process similar to that of the first round.

The 2007-08 Charger Girls wishing to return to the team are required to re-audition again. However, veterans are given a bye through the first round and join the audition in round two.

The women making it through the second round will go through a series of interviews on Tuesday. Thursday night, the finalists will perform a final dance routine. At the conclusion, the judges will select the squad, which will be announced on Chargers.com on Friday.

“It’s a long and exciting week,” Simmons said. “We look forward to selecting a quality group of women again this year.”

hi-res photos: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

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