Monday, May 19, 2008
Eric Allen, Senior Managing Editor
May 17, 2008
05/17 — The Flight Crew is making international waves. When the Jets hosted an open tryout today at their Weeb Ewbank Hall facility, the 250 or so participants included a young lady from Noriko, Japan.
Only six months ago, Nao left her native country for Los Angeles. She is studying English at the Cal America Education Institute, but she also owns a goal of being a professional football cheerleader. Nao flew cross-country this weekend to New York to showcase her skills for the Jets.
“I liked the Dome,” she said of practice bubble where the young ladies made their cases.
Denise Garvey, in her second season as the crew’s director, and Brian Mulligan, the club’s director of special events and gameday operations, watched 47 separate groups (mostly composed of five candidates) perform 90-second “freestyle” routines today. Garvey began the morning with a 10-minute talk, then she analyzed the performances for four hours.
“I’m a season ticket holder for the Jets and I have been waiting for this like my whole entire life,” said Tara from Staten Island. “I actually wrote a speech on this for school.”
Natasha, a solid athlete from Emerson, NJ, was the first person to get her paperwork in so she had No. 1 and was a member of the first group.
“I was more anxious than nervous. You just want to know. Now that I’m done, I have to wait for almost everybody. It’s a good feeling,” she said. “I did a good job and I performed, so I did my best.”
Garvey gave the “Crew” veterans a pass to the second round, so those seven hopefuls won’t become part of this process until Sunday. Jeanine, a San Diego, CA, native, offers some pretty good experience of her own. In addition to cheering for a minor league basketball team and a soccer team in San Diego, she danced with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings for a year and a half.
“When I moved to New York, I looked to see if any of the football teams had dancers and they didn’t,” she said. “Then I saw the Flight Crew and said, ‘Oh my God, it’s so perfect.’ But then they had a closed audition last year. But I kept looking at the Website and I saw they were going to have an audition.”
Garvey and Mulligan made cuts early this afternoon and informed 93 ladies that they will have another chance to showcase themselves Sunday. Then following a paring down to 50, the final auditions will be held at Mark Ecko Enterprises — Mark is designing the ’08 uniforms — on Sunday, June 1.
“It was pretty heavy competition,” Garvey said. “The girls came in with a lot energy, a lot of experience and a lot of dance techniques. Overall the energy in the bubble was extremely high.”
There will be 21 ladies selected for the squad and then Jets fans will vote for the 22nd and final member of the Flight Crew on newyorkjets.com. Before this afternoon reached its conclusion, Tara, Natasha and Jeanine received the good news that they’ll be back in the bubble Sunday. Noa will also return to the “Dome” as she was informed that her goal is still within reach.
“People are coming from out of state and out of country,” Garvey said. “It shows us that we aren’t only getting recognized nationally but internationally.” [photos]