By Jay Betsill
DALLAS — As DFW hit its 22nd consecutive 100-degree day, I was tucked away safely inside the Coronado Ballroom of the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas for the 2011-12 Dallas Mavericks Dancers preliminary auditions. With the memory of the Mavs destruction of the Miami Heat still fresh on local sports fans minds, more than 200 girls showed up for the Mavs Dancers tryouts with the dream of joining the championship organization.
Under the direction of second-year Mavs Dancers director Mallory Mills, the dance team has quickly reached new heights. (Is it a coincidence that the Mavs won their first NBA title in her inaugural year at the helm of the dancers? I think not.) Immediately following the championship season, the Mavs Dancers began holding prep classes at Elevation Fitness Club to prepare dancers for the audition process.
Ali Dee, Mavs in-arena announcer and star of CMT’s high-rated Texas Women, was the host for the day’s festivities that began shortly after 10 a.m. With a simple, “Y’all ready to get this party started?” from the aspiring country singer, each of the girls began their day performing a freestyle routine in groups of three for the panel of judges. The music that ranged from Britney Spears Hold it Against Me to Missy Elliot’s Lose Control was courtesy of the Official DJ of the Mavs, DJ Whiz.
When the judges returned with the verdict, Ali Dee, read down the list of the girls who had survived the first cut. Several girls fought back tears as they gathered their belongings and left the ballroom. In past years, the girls would walk out into the foyer to their awaiting family members with the knowledge that for the interim, their dream was over. On this day, the Texas Legends (Mavs D-League affiliate) had a table set up just outside the ballroom with information on the August 6th tryouts for their squad. Not only was it a perfect opportunity to prepare for another run at becoming a Mavs Dancer next season, it could aid in soothing the pain from getting cut.
Veteran Mavs Dancers Paige J, Whitney, Lauren, Paige P, Emily and Jenna were on hand to help the remaining girls learn a new dance routine that they would perform in a few short minutes for the chance to advance to Round 3. For the girls who survived Round 3, the fun is only beginning as the final audition is scheduled for Sunday from 11:00am to 3:00pm. The girls who advance past Sunday will go through training camp Monday through Thursday evenings with the final team to be announced on July 28.