The UCLA Dance Team has a long and distinguished legacy. In the early eighties, the squad garnered notice at the NCAA Basketball Tournament with their California girl good looks and sexy NBA style dance uniforms. So noteworthy were the UCLA Song Girls, as they were called then, that Sports Illustrated featured them in an article entitled, “Eight Beauties and a Beat”. That squad featured a future Miss USA and a bevy of “10”s.
More recently, the UCLA Dance Team has rekindled that fire over the last few years when the squad became the subject of many rival teams’ message boards, in particular one Kansas Jayhawk message board. And perhaps more importantly, the UCLA Dance Team has begun to outshine even the more heralded USC Song Girl squad, which has been beset by a series of embarrassing controversies over the past few years.
So, it was no coincidence that this past Sunday I found myself over in Pauley Pavilion with camera in hand to cover the 2010 UCLA Dance Team Auditions for UltimateCheerleaders.com. In what is a rare event for west coast cheerleading squads, the auditions were open to the public. Transparency in any organization, even one as beloved as the UCLA Dance Team has become, is a welcome sight.
I was seated midway up the middle level of the arena, seemingly far away from the performance area at floor level. With an open audition, friends and family were present and I would presume we were kept at this distance to prevent the enthusiastic fans from influencing the judges’ decisions. I was seated next to the family of one of the hopefuls (#220) and in front of a group of blonde sorority girls from Delta Gamma, one of whom would have made an excellent dance team member (assuming she could dance). They were there to cheer on a few of their friends…loudly.
There were over 50 candidates who showed up for auditions this evening. At 5:00 p.m. sharp, the candidates were introduced to the judges and then performed the Fight Song, Drum Cadence and Performance Routine. Candidates are not evaluated at this time. This was an opportunity for the dancers to warm up and hear the music in the room, as well as for the judges to become familiar with the material. Candidates then exited the performance area and the auditions began in earnest.
In groups of three, the candidates performed the three routines in front of the judges. When all the candidates had performed, the judges adjourned briefly and the scores were tabulated. A preliminary round of cuts was conducted at this point and then the process resumed with the remaining candidates. By this point, it was getting late for me and so I left for home as the final round of auditions began. It was 8:00 p.m. The three routines would be repeated and an interview would be conducted with the remaining candidates.
Later that evening, the 2010 UCLA Dance Team was announced on their website. Here are the numbers of those girls who will comprise this year’s squad.
- Kathryn – 219
- Francesca – 220
- Jenna – 222
- Savannah – 224
- Alohilani – 238
- Elizabeth – 239
- Maya – 247
- Erin – 290
- Tiana – 252
- Nicolette – 255
- Nikki – 283
We don’t often cover college squads here at UltimateCheerleaders.com, but when we get a chance we like to offer a glimpse into that world for our readers. And judging from what I’ve seen, I have no doubt that this group of girls will continue that legacy of beauty and grace. Congratulations to the 2010 UCLA Dance Team.
Author’s note: this article was originally published by UltimateCheerleaders.com on May 3, 2010.