This past Saturday, the Ontario Fury of the MASL held their auditions for their 2014 dance team, the Ladies of Ontario Fury. Last year was their inaugural season and I can testify that their dance team made an audacious debut. The squad is under the direction of Lynae de Leon, a former Clippers Spirit dancer, and she has a gift for developing local dance talent and training them for higher level professional sports dance teams. This past year alone, several of her former dancers have gone on to making the Charger Girls and the Clippers Spirit and making the finals for the 49ers Gold Rush, the Golden State Warrior Girls and Seattle Sea Gals.
I was excited to see what would come of these auditions and to anticipate the great things to come with this new squad. A new season brings a new beginning and a renewal. Gone were a few veterans, so that there were some openings available for a few talented candidates. But the competition would be fierce.
So things began with the perfunctory selfie by returning veteran Michelle C.
The formal audition got underway with an introductory address by team owner Bernie Lilivois, who then handed over the spotlight to Lynae. She informed the girls of the upcoming events and offered words of encouragement to all attendees.
For the next forty five minutes, the girls learned the routine and rehearsed it over and over.
At 10:30 pm. the girls were called up before the panel of judges in pairs. Scoring for this round was either 1-3-5 and a perfect score was 3o, five points from each of the six judges.
There was a brief break while the judges conferred and within a few minutes the cuts were announced. There were only a handful of cuts for this round and from what I was told by another photographer, no argument here regarding the judges’ decision.
After the eliminated girls exited the room, Kaylee began adding to the audition routine and over the course of the next 45 minutes, she taught a routine that might serve as a quarter break dance.
When it was time for the second round of judging, the girls were once again called up in pairs and asked to perform the full audition routine.
At 12:45 pm, we broke for lunch. The judges would retire to a secluded room to discuss the candidates. The rest of us, mainly photographers, dined on a complimentary lunch in the hotel restaurant courtesy of the Ontario Fury. That’s one of the great things about covering the Fury’s dance team auditions…Bernie Lilivois takes care of the media and provides them with lunch.
At 1:30 pm, the second round cuts were announced. Lunch was over and those girls who were cut exited the facility. The next phase of the audition process was about to begin…the interview portion. The remaining 22 candidates were called back in small groups and asked a series of questions to determine their conversational skills.
The Ontario Fury are very community oriented and take part in a myriad of local functions. Their dance team is front and center at many of these events as the organization tries to build good will and brand awareness. Therefore, exceptional communication skills and good character are requirements for any member of the dance team.
After the interview session, the girls were gathered together in the main room and they had a chance to showcase their freestyle dance skills. For the next half hour, the girls shimmied and shaked their way into the collective consciousness of the judges.
For the final phase of the audition, the girls were brought back in small groups to see how they would mesh together with some of the veterans and other girls that had a similar look.
At the conclusion of the small group dance, the judges took a few minutes to deliberate over what they had seen and heard since the lunch break. When they came back, Lynae had indicated that no one would be cut and all 22 girls would make it into the finals.
With 7 returning veterans and roughly 13 open positions, there will definitely be some new faces on this team. Change is good and every season, dance teams reinvent themselves. And I, for one, can’t wait to see who makes the final cut.
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I would like to thank Bernie Lilivois, Lynae de Leon and the Ontario Fury for the opportunity to cover their 2014 dance team auditions. I had a wonderful time and look forward to seeing the 2014 Ladies of Ontario Fury once the season starts.