This audition is the first of two, with another audition to be held in Miami on June 3. (To register for the Miami audition, visit HERE)
The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders are an iconic and international entertainment group searching for confident, stylish, diverse and talented women to represent one of the most prestigious teams in the NFL.
In preparation for the auditions in Orlando, Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders co-captain Etta joined us to talk about the MDC audition process and her time with one of the most highly recognized cheerleader brands in the world. Etta is familiar with the Orlando surroundings as she was born in Winter Park and lived in the area until she was 18.
PDC: Talk about what the ladies are in for at the MDC Orlando auditions.
ETTA: It will be a very similar day to how we normally host auditions in Miami. We are asking them to get to the studio by 8:30 to register as we are starting right at 9 a.m. We did send out a sneak peak of the choreography to the girls who had pre-registered, so any girl who registered by Friday at 11 a.m. got to learn the choreography on a video and then last night we also taught a prep class with the exact choreography that will be at the auditions. We really want to see what these girls have as far as individual talent as well as how they are at picking up our style and working in a group. We are really expanding as an international team, currently representing eight countries and are looking to expand on that as Orlando is such a melting pot of diversity.
PDC: Is there anything you would recommend that girls bring for the day like nutrition bars, water, etc. and any particular attire you recommend?
ETTA: It’s important to bring snacks and waters because you never know how you are going to feel under pressure. As far as attire, we obviously are a professional dance team, so from the minute you walk in, the girls should be full hair and makeup looking their best. For the audition attire, something that’s flattering that shows their fitness and that helps them look and feel as confident as they possibly can. They should definitely practice in what they are going to wear and make sure they know how to move in it and practice keeping their hair out of their face.
PDC: Is there any type of interview or is it strictly dancing in the audition?
ETTA: Technically it is a preliminary audition, so the first thing they will be doing is the dancing with the improv at the beginning and then our choreography and then they will sit in front of a few judges and have a panel-style interview just so the judges get to see their personalities and see if they have what it takes as far as being outgoing and being able to talk to anyone. After the judges make the cuts, the girls will re-audition the dance again and from that, we will take a select, small group from Orlando and they make it right to finals in Miami.
PDC: Being from the Orlando area, has there been a lot of interest on social media with hopefuls asking for advice?
ETTA: As soon as the world got out, I had so many friends who are still in the area who take classes at Hardrive Productions, who dance at Disney, who dance at Universal reach out. Orlando is a huge center for performing arts because of the theme parks, so there is already a lot of dance jobs and a lot of great talent there.
PDC: You are auditioning for your third season with the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders. Take us back to when you first made the team and what your emotions were like.
ETTA: Making the team is the best feeling ever, it’s almost indescribable because it’s something that you work so hard for and you can’t control the outcome. I put in so much work to get in better shape and get the style of dance down and it’s very, very unreal. You are waiting in the wings of the stage for all of the numbers to be called and everyone’s hearts are beating out of control and there’s already so much adrenaline just from going on stage and doing your solos and talking in front of all the judges. However, you’re still a little scared for the first month or so because even though your name is called on audition day, as a rookie, you’re still in training camp, so you’re not officially on the team until you complete training camp and you prove your worth and that strong enough and hard working and that you are ready for game days. I think hitting the field for the first time is when you have that overwhelming feeling and realize ‘I made it.’
PDC: Describe what a Miami Dolphins home game at Hard Rock Stadium is like from the perspective of a co-captain.
ETTA: As a co-captain, it is definitely a lot different than being a rookie because when you are a rookie, you can just copy the veterans and follow them. Co-captain carries a lot more responsibility because now I am paying attention to the clock so that I call things at the right time, paying attention to the game so that I do the right tags at the right time, I’m listening to the music, it’s really a lot more multitasking than as a rookie.
PDC: One of the highlights of being on this team is the swimsuit calendar shoot. What was this past year’s shoot like?
ETTA: Our calendar shoot was unbelievable, we were in Barbados for about a week and that is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. We really got to explore the island and, if I remember correctly, it’s only about 25 miles wide. In the morning, I got to shoot on the east coast with the sun rising and I got to shoot in the evening on the west coast when the sun was setting. My best memory is shooting actually in the side of a cliff, there was a cave and we went down into the cave. It looked like something from Pirates of the Caribbean. There was a little crack in the cave and you could see the whole ocean and it was really gorgeous.
PDC: So you go from essentially being a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model to a Victoria’s Secret angel with the fashion show to unveil the calendar. What was that like?
ETTA: That was my first time in a fashion show. It was very exciting and well organized. We had a lot of practice and I felt really confident, even though I had never done it before. We really got to incorporate our own personalities into it. There were different themes all throughout the show and we always incorporate with dance and what we do, so it’s not like it was just a fashion show. There was also an awesome hip hop number, an awesome technique number and the unveiling of the months and builds up to the unveiling of the cover girl of the calendar.
PDC: So in addition to being co-captain of the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders, you are a published poet?
ETTA: In college, I was an English minor, so I took a lot of creative writing courses, that is what i was more interested in and I’ve always considered myself a creative person anyways. One of the creative writing classes taught us how to get published and submit our work. So I did submit my poetry to several different reviews and I got published in a few of them, so yes, I am a poet if you didn’t know it.
Participants must be at least 18 years of age by July 10, 2017 and be a high school graduate by June 2017.
WHERE: Hardrive Productions
4605 L.B. McLeod Road, Suite 300
Orlando, FL 32811
WHEN: Saturday, May 6, 2017
9 a.m. Registration
9:30 a.m. Contestants learn audition choreography
10:30 a.m. Competition begins
3 p.m. Finalists announced (All times are approximate)
For further information visit DolphinsCheerleaders.com.
Fans can follow Etta on Instagram at @MDC_Ettabull