Tuesday, December 09, 2008
By Morgan Maddox
[Dallas Desperados Dancers]
While the crowd of supporters and locals piled into the Glass Cactus here just a few miles from Valley Ranch on the grounds of the Gaylord Texan Resort, 48 women sat backstage anxiously waiting for their chance to compete for a spot on the Dallas Desperados Dance Team.
This was it, the third round and final audition for these women to have a chance at becoming a member of the Desperados Dancers for the coming 2009 AFL season.
When it was time to begin, the panel of 21 judges took their seats. The judges consisted of Desperados players, coaches, local media members, team personnel and members of the local dance community.
"I'm critiquing theses girls like I do the football players," said Desperados head coach Will McClay, one of the judges. "It's kind of nerve racking."
The participants took the stage to first perform a group introductory dance. Proud parents and friends stood in the crowd holding up posters and cheering for their favorite dancer. Afterwards, the dancers introduced themselves one by one, hoping to make a good first impression on the judges. From there, they broke into groups to perform the routines they had learned throughout the previous weeks.
"I think the way it's been set up over the years lets everyone get a chance to participate," said Shy Anderson, Dallas Desperados COO and one of the judges.
Anderson has seen the Dancers grow from what he refers to as a "spunky hip-hop" team to a one that has developed its own vibe and pulse, and has been recognized as a top dance team in America.
"This is not just dancers with pom-poms," Desperados Dancers director of dance and choreography Jenny Durbin said during the tryouts. "These girls are determined and professional."
Durbin said the key characteristic she looks for in a dancer is great work ethic and a desire to dance.
"I have an unlimited number of uniforms," Durbin said. "I want the most talent I can get."
Once the auditions were complete, the scores were collected from the judges, and the dancers were sent backstage to wait for the results. That process took roughly 20 minutes for the scores to be tallied, and when time came to announce the 2009 Dallas Desperados Dancers, the 28 young ladies who made the team were called out by their tryout numbers and gathered on the stage for their first team photo.
"It's amazing," said Allissa Johnson after the results had been revealed. "This is my third year on the team, and I'm so excited."
Johnson said she was extremely nervous during the auditions and was happy her parents were there supporting her. While backstage waiting for the results, Johnson text messaged her mom asking her thoughts on how she performed.
"Even though it's my third time, you never know if you are going to make it," Johnson said.
First-timer Cheri Bullock will be one of the 11 new dancers on this year's team. Bullock tried out last year but did not make it. After meeting the women on the team, Bullock said she really saw how genuine everyone was, and it made her want to come back for a second chance.
"Last year I think I was kind of nervous and wasn't quit sure of myself," Bullock said. "I think this year I had a lot more confidence and danced a lot harder."
The Desperado Dancers will perform at home games and will participate in various community events throughout North Texas.
[Dallas Desperados Dancers]