Wednesday, May 21, 2008
by Scott Sowers
The lights dim in the Arena at Gwinnett Center.
The voice on the loudspeaker calls for fans to cheer on their Georgia Force Cheerleaders. The girls run out onto the field in different costumes each time to provide spirit for fans as the teams take a breather on the sidelines.
One of these dancers has been making a name for herself cheering for both the Force, and their big brother, the Atlanta Falcons the last few years and calls Cumming home: Courtney Black. After moving from San Jose, Calif. when she was 13, Black has grown up in Forsyth County, going to Forsyth Central and eventually Lanier Tech, and continues to call it home to this day.
"I have continued to live in Forsyth because it's small and quaint," she said.
Although planning her November wedding takes up much of her time, she said, the couple still plans to live locally – somewhere between Cumming and Marietta, where the groom's family lives.
Black, who has been dancing since age 3, said she first heard the call to be a Force dancer when she was 19.
"I heard an ad on the radio announcing tryouts, so I got up the morning of them and went out and made the team," she said.
After cheering that season with the Force, Black then moved to the NFL's Falcons, cheering four seasons in a row with the Dirty Birds. She took last season off from cheering before returning to the Force. She hopes to make the Falcons squad in the fall.
"Even though I've been with the teams for several years, I still have to tryout every year," she said. "Being on the team in the past doesn't help you at all at tryouts. You're competing against 300-400 people to make the 30-person squad."
When off the field, Black works for a production company which she said is responsible for putting on stage shows throughout the Atlanta area.
But her real passion is dancing. One of the biggest moments of her career saw her dancing on national TV at the CMT awards during Big and Rich's finale performance.
Black has also graced the silver screen, taking part in a scene in the movie The Gospel.
"It was really weird going to the movies with my friends and seeing me up there on the screen," she said.
For now, though, Black is comfortable where she is, planning for the walk down the aisle and hoping for a honeymoon in Jamaica.