The P-R-O Convention is the premier professional cheerleading and dance convention in the nation and cheerleaders from all over the country gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for two days of intensive dance training and team building. It is a truly amazing event to photograph and one of the highlights of the year.
And if you weren’t in Atlanta, here’s what you missed.
The staff of All-Pro3 gave James and I complete access to the convention’s events. In the second part of my article, we continue our coverage of P-R-O with a report on Sunday’s events.
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“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
It is to be expected that one should be sore after a day of intensive dance. At least that’s what the organizers of P-R-O tweeted. But I think they had the dancers in mind, not some broke down photographer. Yes. I know. Every year I bemoan the fact that I am stiff and sore from watching 300 beautiful cheerleaders dance all day long. And this year was no different. I am no longer a spry twenty-something. Age has taken its toll. Elbow tendinitis and stiff legs were putting a drag on my day, but another shot at dance paradise perked me up…that and two advil.
So with a steely resolve, I strolled on down to the lounge area to meet James and grab a light breakfast. For us, P-R-O is a chance to catch up on things and talk shop and we did just that before our day started.
At 8:30 am, James excused himself to meet some of the Jets Flight Crew down by the pool area for a photo shoot. I made my way to the grand ballroom to snag a few pretty pretties for my All Star features. It was get away day and there was a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.
The instructors gathered in the grand ballroom at 9:00 am to get the party started. Stacie Kinder from the Tennessee Titans led the girls through a series of stretches and calisthenic moves to warm up the muscles, no doubt some still aching from Saturday’s workout.
Warmed up and ready to dance, the girls were led through the “lightning round” by the instructors. What is that you say? The lightning round is a series of short 8 count movements, each taught by an instructor. Wild and frenetic, the final dance was a fusion of styles woven together by some pulse pounding music. Oh yeah, it was a lot of fun too.
At the conclusion of the lightning round, the girls made their way to the various rooms for the first breakout sessions of Sunday. In the grand ballroom, Derric Whitfield of the Washington Wizards choreographed a jazzy funk routine that was outta your mind. In room 2, Tara Battiato of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers demonstrated a funky jazz routine. In room 3, The Houston Texans Alto Gary taught a jazz routine. And in room 4, Stephanie Jojokian of the Washington Redskins led her group in a dance technique class.
Immediately after the instruction, the girls gathered in the grand ballroom to showcase the dance routines just learned.
After the showcase, the girls were hustled off to next round of dances. It was 11:30 a.m. and there was still more dances to learn and not a lot of time before they would have to scatter to the four winds.
In the grand ballroom, Denise Garvey from the New York Jets demonstrated a rock oriented dance routine. In room 2, a funky pom routine was choreographed by the Falcons Jakene Ashford. In room 3, Sandy Charbonneau from Pro Tour Productions choreographed a pom routine. In room 4, Tracy Rutledge, formerly of the Atlanta Falcons, led her girls through a country inspired dance.
As was usual, after the instruction the girls showcased their skills in the grand ballroom.
With the second breakout sessions completed, we broke for a long lunch break. It was a little before 1:00 p.m. and I caught up with a few more cheerleaders to snap a few posed photos. Sunday’s lunch break is the best time to do this because the squads have assigned lunch times, so there’s always some gorgeous cheerleaders around to take photos.
At 2:15 p.m., the girls reconvened for the last breakout sessions. In the grand ballroom Tami Krause of the Vikings demonstrated a pom dance routine. In room 2, Shannon Kingsley of the Seattle Seahawks choreographed a jazz dance routine. And Brandii McCoy of the Charlotte Hornets performed a jazz/novelty dance in room 3.
At the conclusion of the instructional portion of the session, the girls gathered one, last time in the grand ballroom to show off what they had learned.
After the last dance was showcased, all the remaining cheerleaders gathered together to perform their final dance of P-R-O…the group dance from Day 1.
And that was that…the end of another wonderful weekend of dance, cheerleaders and fun.
The 2014 P-R-O Convention: the best instructors, the best music and the best cheerleaders.
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I would like to thank Brandii McCoy, Alto Gary, Tracy Rutledge and the staff of AllPro3 for allowing me to cover the 2014 P-R-O Convention. And I would like to thank the instructors of P-R-O and all the cheerleaders for allowing us to get a glimpse of the glamorous life of a professional cheerleader.
Thank you for the wonderful experience. I had a great time and hope to be back next year.
For more cheerleader photos, please visit my personal website: thehottestdanceteam.wordpress.com.