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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tips for hopeful 2009 Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader contestants 

Posted by Sasha at 9:35 AM ET

Get Your Eagle On!
Tips for hopeful 2009 Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader contestants


By Alyssa D'Egidio
NBCPhiladelphia.com
Feb 25, 2009

BCPhiladelphia.com intern, Alyssa D'Egidio, cheered for the Philadelphia Eagles during the 06' and 07' season. She will be providing tips for contestants on how to nail this year's audition.

It has been almost three years since I had my first audition for the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Squad. Although a few years ago, memories of my first audition are still fresh in my mind as I think about stepping into the crowded room at Lincoln Financial Field.

For anyone who is planning to audition, this is the most intimidating part. Sprawled across the upper level of the stadium awaits nearly 500 girls who are primping, stretching and practicing dance moves while waiting to learn the routine. Seeing this will most likely raise your blood pressure but it is important to stay calm and rely on all the preparation you've put in prior to the open call.

As far as preparation goes, the most important thing to concentrate on is physical fitness and dance ability. At the open call audition contestants will be put into groups and walk into a room with a long table of judges. At this point, the judges are focusing on two main things: fitness and dance ability.

Focus: Fitness

With just a few weeks left until the March 28th auditions, it is important to start sculpting and toning your body. The judges are looking for toned stomachs, arms and legs. One thing they are not looking for is stick thin women. It is important to look healthy but fit.

Stephen Williamson, a trainer and owner of Body Blast at Weston Fitness has a few helpful tips for perfecting physiques in a short period of time.

"I think women trying out for the team are going to want to look aesthetically pleasing. The girls need to be able to move which is why an integration of strength training, plyometrics and cardio will be best for these women," Stephen said.

Let's break down what each of these consist of and how many times a week they should be done:

Strength Training is important for being able to push your own body weight. Exercises to do include lunges, leg presses and calf extensions. For toned arms and back muscles, push ups are great.

Cardio is also good for keeping your lungs in good condition. "Cheerleaders don't need to run marathons therefore a combination of sprints and jogging at a pace will keep their lungs in good shape for their dance routines," Stephen said.

Lastly, plyometric training is used for speed and agility. This training helps the neuromuscular system for quick steps and foot moves. This is great for dancing and picking up choreography quickly.

Stephen suggests doing a combination of these three. "A full body routine twice a week which is made up of half strength training and half plyometrics should do the trick," Stephen said. "Cardio should be done two or three times a week for 20-30 minutes."

Diet is also an important part of a cheerleader's life, so sticking to a high fiber diet will help keep the pounds off. "Taking in a diet of 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrates and 20 percent fat will energize the body and keep it slim," Stephen said.

Focus: Dance

Once your physique is at its peek, the next goal is to get your dance moves down. At the audition, a short choreography routine will be taught, which contestants have about 20 minutes to learn and an hour to perfect. Obviously contestants can't practice the dance until the day of the audition, but there are some ways to help make this part a lot easier.

Many college campus gyms offer dance classes from hip-hop to ballet. College students who are auditioning should try to go to at least three dance classes a week prior to the auditions. I did before I auditioned and it really helped me pick up the choreography much quicker. Try taking a hip hop or jazz class which is more the choreography style of the Eagles Cheerleading Squad.

Not a college student? Well, many dance classes are offered in the city and surrounding areas.

Society Hill Dance Academy and Koresh School of Dance in center city offer hip-hop classes for $15 to $20. Classes focus on cardio, movement training and choreography.

The Dancers Studio on Passyunk Avenue offers an hour long Wednesday night jazz/hip-hop class at 6:30 pm. A four-week session costs $15 and will give contestants four paid classes to work on their dance techniques. Call 215-271-6277 for more information.

If you are not sure what kind of dancing the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders do, then it would be helpful to watch last year's Final Audition Webcast on the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders web site. Before I auditioned, I watched the previous year's webcast which helped me get a feel for the style of dance the squad does.

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