What do the following people have in common?
- *pediatric cancer research coordinator
- *fashion merchandiser from Mississippi
- *4th grade teacher from Boise, Idaho
- *dance/cheer instructor from Osaka, Japan
- *dance instructor from Melbourne, Australia
- *9th grade English teacher from Houston
- *marketing specialist who is legally deaf
- *cardiac nurse from Florida
- *family law attorney
- *18 year old cancer survivor
- *sign language translator who is helping translate the Bible into sign language
They all traveled to Arlington, Texas to tryout at 2017 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Auditions.
So did these ladies:
- *pre-med student
- *Buffalo, New Yorker who works with autistic children and plays in a women’s football league
- *former student at The Joffrey Ballet
- *SMU Law School student
- *tax consultant for an engineering company
- *financial analyst from Atlanta, GA
- *a bartender in Arlington, TX
- *athletic trainer at University of Iowa
- *real estate agent
- *a 30-year old from Japan
- *a child-life specialist at Parkland Hospital in Dallas
- *former Junior LPGA golfer
- *weight lifter who set a record in the squat
- *military spouse from New Mexico
- *18 year old high school student from New Jersey
- *9th grade English teacher from Houston
- *military brat who grew up in Belgium
- *backup dancer for a Tejano music group in San Antonio
- *special education teacher in Connecticut
These are just a few examples of the varied backgrounds of the DCC hopefuls.
As a judge, while watching contestants #1 through #410 perform, I jotted notes about the far-and-wide hometowns, universities and professions of contestants. They are the complete package: beauty, dance, and brains.
A total of 35 states were represented, as were 4 different countries (Japan, Australia, Belgium, and Spain). Ages spanned from 18 to 55. As for the 18 year olds, a few missed their high school proms to audition. As for the 22 and 23 year olds, several missed their college graduations. One of the hopefuls, a native of Salt Lake City, graduated the previous day from University of Utah.
Each year DCC Auditions attract cheerleaders from other professional teams, but this year it seemed like we had more than ever. We had at least three members of the New York Jets Flight Crew, as well as at least three from the Detroit Pistons dance team. In addition to the Jets, there were former members of squads for the Patriots, Bucs, Rams, Texans, Titans, Dolphins, and Ravens.
The hopeful who has cheered 5 seasons for the Ravens is a medical assistant from Baltimore.
We had a lot of former athletes audition including: competitive figure skater, power lifter, 2nd degree black belt (karate), Junior LPGA golfer, college softball player, college track & field scholarship athlete, plus a young woman in MMA fighter training.
Some of the hopefuls own their own businesses (e.g., tutoring company, cake company).
Some went to college locally (UT-Arlington, TCU, SMU, UNT, Dallas Baptist, Tarleton State), others went to school in the northeast (Pace University in Brooklyn, Hunter College in Queens, Boston College), or out west (Oregon, Sacramento State, Arizona State, Boise State, University of San Francisco).
The diversity of candidates is impressive.
The common theme among these hopefuls of diverse background is this: they have challenged themselves to become members of an elite squad, the most recognized squad in sports. The DCC is viewed internationally as THE best in the business.
Whether the candidate is a professional dancer from Panama City, Florida…or an 18 year old high school senior in Garland, TX…each has an equal opportunity to represent America’s Team.
For some, dance is a full-time job (dance teachers, professional dancers, backup dancers for music groups). For others, it’s a passion they pursue in the off-hours when they’re not working as nurses or English teachers or medical scribes.
Yes, we’ve got students (mostly advanced degrees, a few undergraduate and high school students), but we’ve got more teachers than students.
We’ve got mothers, even one grandmother, who auditioned. Think you can’t be a DCC and be a mom? Think again. One of the returning veterans, Tasha, is a mom.
So what do all these background have to do with choosing a squad? All we need is some pretty girls who can dance, right?
No, no way. The judges are looking for the complete package. That’s why panel interviews and a written test are part of the process for DCC Auditions. The DCC are ambassadors not only for the team, but for our entire community. When they interact with fans and sponsors and civic leaders and soldiers and military leaders, they are representing all of us in Cowboys Nation.
That’s why they must be the complete package: beauty, dance and brains. As a judge for the past 17 years, I can tell you these three components are equally important. And as you can see from the list of professions and educational background I’ve listed, we’ve got the “brains” part covered! It is a very impressive group of candidates!
Think I’m kidding or maybe exaggerating about the ‘brains’ part of the equation?
No, it’s no exaggeration. In fact, the past two seasons we’ve had two biomedical engineers on the DCC. Both are retiring (Melissa and Amy T) from the DCC to pursue their careers. They’ve been amazing squad members and will be hard to replace (two of my all-time favorites, without a doubt). But I’m encouraged by the DCC hopefuls who have made it to Finals this year. It will be fun to see who makes it through Round 3 to earn the coveted invitations to DCC Summer Training Camp!