Minus having some dance experience, wearing the correct outfit, covering your tattoos, etc. I’m sharing three factors I think it takes to be on a professional dance team. PROTIP, make sure you THOROUGHLY read rules, tips, and information on the team auditions you will be attending. Everyone loves when you do research and come prepared ;) Lastly, I am saying all of these tips in the NICEST and LOVING way possible which may not seem like it because you can’t hear my tone. If you know me you know that being on a professional dance team has been one of the most amazing experiences so I take this seriously but also know that this job isn’t for everybody - and that’s ok! If this is one of your dreams and you’ve been trying out but haven't made a team yet… don't give up! Work on your craft and keep going!
Hard work/Work ethics
One of the biggest misconceptions about being on a dance team or being a dancer is that it’s easy. Some people may think that it’s just about being pretty. But it is so much more than that. Dancers are athletes, they’re ambassadors to an organization, they’re sisters to their teammates, and they're also role models for people who look up to them. I know it seems like a lot but all of that work is worth it to have an experience and memories of a lifetime. With that being said the road to becoming and staying on a dance team is not easy. One of the factors is HARD WORK. Side note: I can only speak on the team that I was on and the one I am currently on. But having a full-time or part-time job then going to practice for 3-4 hours is hard work. It takes the right mind set to focus at practice, to know the designated routines, and to learn new ones. Also, most of us have lives outside of being on a team. One of my former teammates was a nurse, one had a full time job in marketing, I was a full-time student commuting 1-2 hours to practice or games. We all juggle being on a dance team with having lives and that takes HARD WORK. With that you have to have great work ethic. To be able to receive critiques and to always want to be better - that is going to give you the right mindset to be on a team.
I was recently asked, “what characteristics does your coach look for?” It comes down to being a good person, having great work ethics, and working well with others. I think sometimes people forget that being on a pro dance team is still a job. Just like any job you have to have the qualities I mentioned. I would ask yourself, “Am I patient?” “Do I like to follow rules?” “Do I want to devote my time this team?” Because basketball season is long and you spend a lot of time with your teammates/coach. There are some sacrifices that need to be made but it is so worth it! Having a great attitude is also extremely important. I mean come on, who wants to work/dance with someone with a bad attitude?
As I stated earlier, all my former/current teammates have jobs outside of being on a professional dance/cheer team. This job isn’t a full time but sometimes it feels like it. Just to give you an idea of my schedule, when I was on the Warriors Dance team I was in school full-time and a dance teacher. Currently, I am on an NFL cheerleading team and I have two other jobs - one as a song team coach for a high school and a personal stylist! In addition, I’m doing my blog which isn’t a job but it takes up some of my time! I’m also signed with a dance agency so I go on auditions from time to time. How do I balance it all? It’s about being organized and making sure you can handle what you put on your plate. I actually love being busy. It makes me feel accomplished and happy. Do I run on 5-6 hours of sleep some days and feel like giving up? Absolutely. But the love I have for my jobs/dreams outweigh all of the sleepless nights, back pain, and being MIA during some social occasions. BUT being on a dance team is DOABLE! I did it for five years and still had a life!
“What does your schedule look like on a typical game day?”
When I was on the Warriors dance team I had school full-time. So a typical game day for me was commuting to school at around 6:00AM, class until 2:45PM, drive to the arena, court rehearsal from 4:00-5:00PM, then get ready for game/work on homework until game time at 7:30! Games would usually end around 10:00PM-ish.
“What do you do before auditions to get in the right mindset? (meditate,etc.)”
I don’t usually meditate before auditions and to be honest it doesn’t really work for me. I love reading inspirational quotes or watching an inspirational video/sermon. But my tip to get in the right mindset when you’re there or the night before is to tell yourself “you got this!” At the end of the day if you do your best and show up that’s an accomplishment in itself. Also, PRO TIP: Focus on yourself when you’re learning and go full out as many times as you can so you get the choreography into your body!
“Does the Warriors team do weigh-ins?”
So this is a touchy subject especially with all the lawsuits. I can only speak on the team I was on and I am going to tell you the perspective that I have on this. First off, dancers are athletes. We are expected to perform a certain way to workout, to maintain our physique, AND our health. Put this into perspective… do you expect Stephen Curry or Lebron James to not be in their best shape? No. They are expected to workout, to have a certain weight for their height, etc. The team that I was on gave us tools to accomplish our fitness goals. To answer the question about weigh-ins, they weren’t “weigh-ins.” We were expected to maintain our weight throughout the season and work on our fitness goals that were fit for our body type. I think as dancers, we need to stop tip-toeing around the subject and realize that this is a job and a part of this job is having a certain body type. Does that make it unfair? No. Because we can’t expect someone who studied journalism to have qualifications to be a doctor. That doctor went to school, did the work, paid their dues, and will have higher pay than the journalist. PRO TIP: your mindset is everything. If you have a negative outlook on this subject then I wouldn’t audition for pro teams. YES, EVERY BODY TYPE IS BEAUTIFUL! But there are jobs and expectations for everything in life. Those who work to get to a certain goal deserve that spot/dream.
It’s not about wearing the sequined outfits or getting "glammed" by the best glam squad, or gaining followers/wanting to post on social media (if that’s your purpose then please don’t try out). It is about being a part of a sisterhood, gaining a new family, and being a part of something bigger than yourself. So if you’ve been hesitant to audition because you’re too scared, or you feel like you’re not good enough… I say tell yourself that you GOT THIS. Believe in yourself and your dreams. Yes, someone can have a six-pack, someone can nail all the interview questions, but does that make them you? No. You are uniquely beautiful and that is more than enough. If you have any other questions feel free to comment down below! I hope this helps you aspiring dancers out there! Xo, P