Sunday, January 25, 2009

Seven are selected to join Ruff Riders Dance Team 

Posted by Sasha at 6:41 PM ET

By Daralyn Schoenewald
Reporter News
Saturday, January 24, 2009

With a rose handed to her by the Abilene Ruff Riders's general manager Saturday, Haley Carter came one step closer to her dream of working in the "industry."

Carter, an 18-year-old business management sophomore at Abilene Christian University, was one of seven women selected Saturday for the Ruff Riders Dance Team.

Before being selected, Carter said she hopes to one day be a dancer in music videos and tours -- "industrial work" she called it.

"I'm excited," Carter said.

The petite and bubbly Carter said she's not part of the dance team for the money and wouldn't mind being a representative of the team in the community. "I don't even want the money," she said. "It's a joy to be on stage. I enjoy talking to people."

The dancers will be paid $40 per game and $25 for any promotional appearance they make, said Dane Lisser, director of communications for the team. In comparison, indoor football players are expected to earn $250 per game, he said.

Appearance, knowledge of a dance routine and timing were qualities judges were looking for in the 14 women who auditioned for the dance team, Lisser said. The audition was held at Lucky Mule Saloon in Abilene, where some members of the team also showed up and cheered on the women as they danced.

The women faced an extensive audition process. They were asked to show a freestyle dance and to run through a team routine.

The women also auditioned in pairs. In between the dances, the women chatted on the side of the "stage," -- the saloon's small dance floor. Some stretched and some, clearly nervous, began practicing the routine they would perform in pairs.

Barney Welch, the football team's general manager, consoled the women who weren't selected by telling them that a second audition would be held in March.

Nichelle "NiNi" Wall, one of the dancers who was not selected, said the women she rehearsed with all week at Dance Discovery Studios in Abilene were nice, not catty and had become like family in a short time. The women have been rehearsing under the direction of Teri Wilkerson of Dance Discovery Studios.

Wall, who is studying to get her master's degree in counseling and human development at Hardin-Simmons University, said that she was nervous to audition but that she felt more confident when one of the indoor football players cheered her on from the audience.

"I was just thinking of my next step," said Wall, who is also a hip hop dance instructor at Dance Discovery Studios.

Terah Williams was one of the women who made the team. She said she is looking forward to being a role model in the community.

"I'm going to have fun with it," she said. "I want to please the fans."

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