Now that I have had a chance to recover from Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations, I thought I would do a retrospective of the top 10 cheerleader (non Charger Girl) photos of the year.
Through my association with UltimateCheerleaders.com, I have been to a number of professional cheerleading events in 2011, from auditions to the premier professional cheerleader convention in the United States. And over the past year, I have literally taken thousands upon thousands of photographs and in this article, I am going to highlight my favorite cheerleader photographs of 2011.
Over the next few days, I will be counting down my top 10 cheerleader photographs of 2011. So let’s begin.
10. Inland Empire 66ers Dancer Cassie
Minor league sports have a special challenge in marketing their product to the fans. Often times, the caliber of play is not at the same level of as the top level leagues and minor league sports have to look to other ways to market the team. And one of these ways is to have a dance team that not only provides entertainment value on game day but also serves as a way to promote the team at community events.
The Inland Empire 66ers have a wonderful dance team and one of the girls has as much personality and appeal as any other cheerleader I’ve photographed over the years. Her name is Cassie and she is a firecracker. She’s the type of cheerleader that stands out. And in this photograph, Cassie shows her devilish side while she and her teammates get their make up done.
See more of sassy Cassie and her Inland Empire 66ers Dancers here.
9. Washington Redskins Cheerleader Ambassador Samantha
The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders have an Ambassador Squad whose main function is interacting with the fans at each home game at FedEx Field. When I visited D.C. last September to shoot a Redskins game, I got a chance to see their Ambassador Squad up close and personal. As gorgeous and beautiful as the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders are, their Ambassador Squad is quite impressive as well.
One of them caught my eye. She was…drop dead gorgeous. Beautiful face, a great body, and a great smile. So, what I like about this photo is that a little gust of wind caught Samantha’s hair and made for this interesting photograph.
8. 2011 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader Auditions
Over this past year, I have gone to many auditions, but my favorite was the 2011 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders auditions. It’s a fun gig to shoot and I get wonderful results. The backdrop of shooting in UOP Stadium with a black background on an elevated stage is simply amazing. Director Heather Karberg, a former Charger Girl, and her staff are always a pleasure to work with. And the girls are absolutely gorgeous in an outdoorsy and athletic way…call it the Arizona Girl look.
The Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders preliminary auditions take place over the course of two days and before the squad is selected, they will have gone through at least five rounds of dance technique, an interview process and a physical fitness test. They are an amazing squad of some of the hottest cheerleaders in the NFL.
See more of the 2011 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader auditions here.
7. 2011 PRO Convention Attendee Minnesota Viking Cheerleader Mollie
The PRO Convention is the premier professional cheerleading convention in the United States. Over 250 professional cheerleaders come from all over the country to learn routines from the directors of the most renown dance teams in professional sports. Squads from the Minnesota Vikings, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Pride, Georgia Force, Washington Wizards, FC Dallas, Jacksonville Axmen, and the Houston Dynamo were in attendance. It is a veritable feast of gorgeous cheerleaders who represent the finest dancers on their squads.
There were many beautiful and sexy cheerleaders in attendance, but one girl caught my eye. She was tall, leggy and had a great smile. She smiled while learning the routines, when most other girls were just going through the motions. And in my opinion, that’s what makes a great cheerleader…that she’s always “on” even when doing something as mundane as repeating dance movements while learning a routine.
When the camera was on, Mollie shined.
6. Phoenix Suns Dancer Bethann
I was fortunate to photograph the Phoenix Suns Dancers in a game day setting last April. It was a wonderful experience and the girls are…amazing. And game day was a blast. Unlike the Lakers or the Clippers, two home town teams, the Phoenix Suns are a family oriented event and you can get up close an personal with the Phoenix Suns Dancers, who are very accessible on game day.
I took that opportunity to snap a few photos of the Suns Dancers posing in front of a huge basketball just outside the U.S. Airways arena and while we were searching for a fun shot, Bethann decided to do this Sun Goddess pose. I quickly sensed that we had a winning shot opportunity, so I snapped Bethann in all her glory and this photo, which was the lead for my article, is one of my favorites of the year.
The people in Phoenix are really nice and their professional sports teams are very supportive of our endeavors here at UltimateCheerleaders.com. If you get a chance to catch a Suns game at the U.S. Airways Center, you definitely should. The environment is fun and the Suns Dancers are amazing.
Read more about Bethann and the Phoenix Suns Dancers here.
5. UCLA Dance Team Member Kate
I bet you thought I only shoot professional cheerleaders. So, I went to the PAC-10 Basketball Tournament at Staples Center in Los Angeles last year…when it was still the PAC-10. And one of the cool things they had was a fan fest at L.A. Live, where the spirit squads of the participating schools performed before their games. It was a great opportunity to photograph these dance teams up close and personal, something you rarely get to do at their home arenas.
Now I graduated from UCLA with two undergraduate degrees, so I have a special place in my heart for the UCLA Dance Team. When I was in school, we had a killer squad that was featured in Sports Illustrated (one became Miss USA) and they kind of introduced the sexy NBA style uniforms to college basketball. And over the past five or six years, the consensus has been that the hottest college dance team in Los Angeles is not that team that wears Cardinal and Gold. Nope. It’s UCLA’s dance team and one of the best of the Bruin bunch is Kate.
Southern California is a hotbed for dance talent and several colleges have strong dance programs that feed the professional dance teams. One of the strongest has been UCLA’s and they have had several dancers make it to the next level.
And I sure hope that Kate takes her dance skills to the professional ranks with one of our local NFL or NBA dance teams because I sure would like to see her perform at the next level…may I suggest the Charger Girls!
4. Washington Redskins Cheerleader Talmesha
Ever since I saw my editor’s photographs of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders a few years ago, I have long wanted to visit Washington D.C. There are, perhaps, a few squads that are more well known than the Redskins Cheerleaders, but there are few teams more talented and beautiful than the First Ladies of Football.
I had a chance to meet a few of them at the P.R.O. Dance Convention in Atlanta and one of them who was most impressive was Talmesha. Not only is she a beautiful and talented dancer, she is quite an accomplished academic. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a degree in Chemical Engineering and Mathematics and she recently graduated from Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Beauty and brains…a very attractive combination, indeed.
Now there are two things about the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders that made me want to come out and photograph them: 1) absolutely gorgeous women and 2) some amazingly sexy uniforms. As I said in my article, I love my Charger Girls, but I lust after the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders. And from the photo above, I think you know why.
3. Phoenix Suns Dancer Alexandra
Over the past few years, I have been to Phoenix several times to cover the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders and the Phoenix Suns Dancers. As I have said many times, I enjoy going to Arizona. The people are nice, the pro sports teams are wonderful to work with and the girls are simply amazing.
This past year, the Phoenix Suns Dancers held their auditions at a local community college which offered an amazing backdrop to photograph the prospective dancers. And one of the many beautiful hopefuls that caught my eye was a girl name Alexandra. Well apparently I was not the only one impressed by this girl’s beauty and dance talent, as she was selected to the squad.
I just love the expression on her face and the vibrant colors of her outfit make this photo memorable. I hope to catch a game out there this year because I always get amazing photographs of this squad and its a fun gig to shoot.
See more photos of Alexandra and the girls who tried out for the Phoenix Suns Dancers here.
2. Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader Brianna
Last December, I visited Phoenix to photograph the Cowboys game against the Arizona Cardinals. It was an exciting game that came down to the last play in overtime and if you were a Cardinals fan, you came away happy. But I was not there to photograph the game. I was there to photograph the lovely Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders.
There are many beautiful girls on that squad, but on that Sunday, one girl gave me some memorable images. Her name is Brianna and this photo, which won her the Cheerleader of the Day award, was one of my favorite of the year.
So what makes a memorable photograph? A beautiful girl, a dynamic body position, and a wonderful smile. Its all here in this one.
See more of Brianna and her absolutely gorgeous Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader teammates here.
1. Sacramento Kings Dancer Katerina
The Sacramento Kings Dancers were crowned the Best in the West in last year’s NBA Dance Team Bracket contest and there is good reason for this title. I was fortunate to photograph the 2011 Sacramento Kings Dancers auditions last September at the Thunder Valley Casino Resort and let me say that the girls were awesome. Beautiful and talented, the Sacramento Kings Dancers hopefuls were a pleasure to photograph.
One girl stood out for her absolutely gorgeous looks and amazing dance ability. Her name is Katerina and if there was one girl that sizzled and captivated your attention, it was her. They say that you want to stand out and make people notice you when you perform and she did.
So, our number one photo of 2011 belongs to Katerina of the Sacramento Kings Dance Team. See more photos of Katerina and the 2011 Sacramento Kings Dancers auditions here.