Confessions of a Former NY XFL Cheerleader
The year was 2000. I don't remember what even compelled me to audition. I saw an ad on Backstage.com and turned up at the audition address. There were about 3000 + other women in the line outside of the audition venue in NYC. I do not remember which one. It was probably warm out -if only because I know for sure I wouldn't have stood outside in a long cattle call line if it had been cold. So. We'll pretend it was spring or summer and we'll also pretend that I thought I had a chance. I had been a cheerleader throughout my entire middle, junior and high schooling. I am a classically trained singer and at the time, an aspiring dancer (which means I had taken goo gobs of classes).
I think the ad said it was an audition for cheerleaders for a new kind of football league. Whatever it said, the much younger me thought it sounded cute enough to go. So I went.
My best friend from college (who was a NYC photographer at the time) went with me to keep me company. And all we did for hours waiting in that line was talk and people watch until it was my turn to audition.
Once in the auditorium, we were put in groups to learn choreography from Tina *gasp* Landon. You know, Tina *gasp* Landon, the world-famous choreographer for Janet Jackson, Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, etc. (!!!)
Full disclosure. I am not one of those people who learn choreography quickly. I have to practice moves a hundred times before I can rely on muscle memory enough to trust I won't embarrass myself. Looking around the venue at the hundreds of women who were fabulous dancers and remembered the steps (it was New York City, geez), there was a part of me that was resigning that I didn't stand a chance. That's when we'll suppose I decided I had absolutely nothing to lose.
Honestly, most of what happened next was a blur. I just remember when it was my group's turn to dance, I got up on that stage and did what I knew how to do. I went into full cheerleader mode. I ran out on the stage clapping. I did the cheer kicks and the "we're number one" arm. I got the crowd hype. You know, the cheer squad basics.
All the super serious dancers looked at me like I had a marble missing. Meanwhile, when the music started, I did whatever my best was, and ended with the cheer hype. And then waited to see which numbers would be called from my group for call backs...
Would you believe they called my number? I made it to the next phase of the audition process. That was Day 1.
To Be Continued...