You were recently selected as a member of the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders. What did the audition process include?
After months of preparation and training, April 7 finally was here. It was the day that auditions would begin. The first day was the preliminary auditions, which started out with about 240 dancers. We learned four eight-counts of choreography in about 30 minutes and then we performed the routine in groups of six. Af
ter everyone performed, we waited for the judges to deliberate and then they announced 120 semi-finalists. My number was called.
For the second round, we did two eight-counts of freestyle (choreography of your choice) with an additional set of four more eight-counts added to the previous choreography. We had about 30 minutes to perfect this piece before they started lining us up again to perform in groups of four. Once again after the semi-finalists performed, the judges deliberated and announced only 36 finalists at the end of the day. My number was called again.
The next day we had an interview with the coach and the choreographer, which allotted for half of our finalist score. On Tuesday, April 9, we met again for our finals prep class. This was the first opportunity for the finalists to see which returning veterans would also be in the audition. A total of 62 women learned additional choreography. After about an hour of learning and practicing, we were paired up with the person who we would be performing with for the last audition, which took place the following day. Wednesday, April 10, the finals began. It was an absolutely amazing experience. I went with the mindset that I had to leave everything I had on the dance floor and wanted to walk away with no regrets. All my hard work and dedication paid off. At the end of the evening, my name was called to be an Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader.
You've been a co-captain of the Lady Lions, a professional dance team for the Columbus Lions. What do you think will be the biggest adjustment in transitioning to the NFL?
Not only is this such an amazing honor, it comes with great responsibility. I have been extremely blessed by God with a spot on this team. All the fans and support that the cheerleaders have all the time, everywhere you go, will be very exciting and will be an adjustment -- but in a good way.
What's your response to people who say cheerleading isn't a sport?
Most people truly don't understand all the training and work that goes into being a trained professional dancer or cheerleader. Not only do we practice hard but we are required to be physically fit as well. We spend numerous hours in the gym and doing cardio training to maintain the stamina that we need to perform at the games. For a football game, we are on our feet the entire time dancing and entertaining the crowd from four or six hours for college and pro football games.
As a dance instructor, what's your advice for parents thinking about enrolling their children in dance lessons?
My best advice is that they are never too young. We start our dance classes at Dance Force at age 3, which is when I started dancing. It is a good age for the children to start learning the basic skills of dance and in a learning environment. Dance classes can teach many skills to girls such as listening, lady-like behavior and being polite.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
The best-kept secret in the area is the Columbus Lions football games. It is a great environment for everyone to have a great time. They really reach out into the community for the children and adults as well as the military community. The Columbus Lions organization does a great job with outreach and promoting a positive environment for children. Come join us for our next game.