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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Class Serves as Stepping Stone 

Posted by Sasha at 6:00 PM ET

By Cory Sterling
April 2, 2008
Raiders.com

The first prep class for 2008 Raiderette auditions was held in the Bancroft Middle School gymnasium this past Saturday morning. The event was attended by over 60 participants who took full advantage of the opportunity to practice their dance moves, speak with current Raiderettes and learn routines performed by Football’s Fabulous Females on game day.

It was a brisk morning in San Leandro, Calif., but it didn’t take long for the energy infused auditorium to warm up the hearts and bodies of all those who came out to strut their stuff.

The prep class started out with some simple stretches and basic warm-ups before shifting its focus to technical instruction, where the group of participants were taught a series of moves and performed them in real time. After an excellent workout, all participants had the opportunity to ask the Raiderettes questions during a group Q and A.

The Raiderette audition preparation classes are designed to increase the confidence and experience of candidates who would like to audition for the 2008 squad. For candidates with previous dance training, the classes offer a realistic look into the routines that are used during season performances. For those without formal dance training, the preparation classes are extremely beneficial as it presents the chance to grasp techniques that will be helpful come audition time. Above all else, the classes make a participant more confident in their abilities during the dance competition of the audition.

“What they realize from doing the dance classes is that dance is something that they can do,” said Karen Kovac, who is in her fifth season as the director of the Raiderettes. The prep classes, which have taken place for the past six seasons, have many benefits, most of which are rooted around themes of education and knowledge about the Raiderette program.

“It’s a way to build up their confidence and give them a taste of what it would be like to be a Raiderette. The Q and A at the end is important, as the girls talk about their lives as Raiderettes and how time consuming it is. It is important for the candidates trying out to have a sense of what they would be getting into,” said Kovac.

By nature, the preparation classes are held in a friendly, supportive environment, where participants can improve, have fun and learn from their peers.

Monique, a Turlock, Calif., native felt that the prep class was, “Very relaxed. You are able to be yourself and make mistakes, but it was okay to make mistakes as long as you learned and improved from it.”

“At first everyone was a bit nervous but by the end, we were all just dancing and having a good time together,” said Jennifer from Castro Valley. “It was a hard work out and a lot of fun, especially when we really started dancing near the end.”

There was a special guest who attended the prep class as a participant. Janelle Wang, co-host of ABC 7's The View From the Bay joined the fun while filming a special segment for an upcoming show. The View From the Bay airs every weekday at 3:00 p.m. Pacific.

Suffice to say, Wang was very impressed with both the Raiderette program and Saturday’s event. “The background of the Raiderette team is just remarkable,” said Wang. “One works in law, one works in the Air Force, there are girls who do humanitarian work. We were just so impressed by all that and I knew there was a bigger story behind the Raiderette team.”

Wang participated fully in the first prep class, stretching and dancing along with all the other participants. “The girls are incredible and I am terrible compared to them,” said Wang jokingly. “Everyone was encouraging each other and nobody was cold or distant. Everyone was warm and friendly, I was really impressed. Everyone is out here for the same reason – to be a Raiderette and be a part of the East Bay community.”

When asked if she had improved at all after only one prep class, Wang didn’t have to think twice about it, “I definitely improved.”

Along with developing her dancing skills, Wang also picked up the true purpose of the Raiderette prep classes. “These girls need to know that even if you don’t have a lot of experience; if you practice you can accomplish anything,” Wang said

There are still two more opportunities to participate in prep classes. On Saturday, April 5th and Saturday, April 12th prep classes will be offered at the Bancroft Middle School from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. with check in starting at 8:30 a.m. All those who plan to attend can be certain the experience will be fun, educational and most of all rewarding.

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