I originally wrote this article two years ago and I thought it was good audition advice back then, so I am reposting it again this year for those readers who may be considering trying out for a professional cheerleading squad.
Over the past few years, I have attended several professional cheerleader auditions and have made some observations that may be helpful to potential tryout candidates. Now, I have no dance experience, no audition experience…nothing other than an observant eye and the ability to draw some obvious conclusions.
So, here are my observations and tips for aspiring NFL or NBA cheerleaders.
1. Auditions are like job interviews, so you want to take this seriously and do what you would do when applying for a job…namely preparing, showing up on time, and dressing the part. Follow the audition guidelines…if you don’t, it sends a message that you can’t. So, if audition packets says to dress in a form fitting, two piece outfit and flesh colored tights…wear a form fitting, two piece outfit and flesh colored tights.
The judges want to see how you will look in the uniform and how you will perform. Help them make a decision in your favor. Do what you need to do to have them envision you as a professional cheerleader.
2. Game day ready hair and make up. Once again, you want to help the judges buy into the fact that you are cheerleader material. So look the part. Don’t show up looking like you are going to workout or a dance clinic. Cheerleaders are glamorous and so should you be when auditioning.
3. Wear an outfit that makes you stand out. Judges will evaluate several candidates over the course of the auditions. Wear something that makes you memorable and identifiable. Leave a lasting impression, a positive one.
4. Go to the audition clinics. During the actual audition, the time to learn the routine is all too brief. So, any advance preparation that you can do is an advantage. At some clinics, the audition routine is taught. If practice makes perfect, then avail yourself to the opportunity provided to learn and prepare.
What separates those who make it to the next level from those who don’t, is the ability to learn a routine quickly and to perform it flawlessly in the short amount of time given. This leads us to our next tip…
5. Get some dance training. There are many girls that can dance and may do so well. But few are trained dancers, who have a framework for learning technique in a structure manner. Those girls who have had dance training stand out in two important ways: 1) they are more technical and 2) they are able to learn a new routine faster.
6. Bring water and snacks. All the auditions that I have been to, have been long and rigorous affairs. You will burn a lot of energy and sweat a lot, so refuel and rehydrate yourself at every opportunity. Keeping up your energy level is important, particularly when you are in front of the judges…which is usually at the end of the day.
7. Be articulate. At some point, you will be interviewed and asked some questions about yourself and why you want to be on the squad. You’d better have an answer. Think about the questions they’ll likely ask you and prepare for them. Be insightful, be professional, and be articulate.
8. Go big or go home. In all the auditions that I have been to, those dancers that stood out had big moves…precise moves…fast moves..powerful moves. One of best dancers I have ever seen is Amy Toliver formerly from the Arizona Cardinals. Her moves are big, powerful and precise. She stands out. When you are in front judges, your moves better have some pop, else you’ll be viewed as a the dance equivalent of a wall flower.
I am sure there are many more tips out there and if we have any current or former professional cheerleaders reading this, please leave a comment with your audition advice.