During the next two weeks, a couple of Buffalo Jills Cheerleaders will team up with their Director, a former Jill herself, to go behind-the-scenes and provide their insight to the Jills Cheerleader audition process. In today's first installment here on BuffaloBills.com, Lisa, a three-year Jills veteran, Natalie, the rookie, and Stephanie Mateczun, Director of the Jills Cheerleaders, share their experiences, thoughts and expectations during the Jills tryout process.
Lisa, the veteran's blog:Most Bills fans aren't thinking about football season yet but for the Buffalo Jills and other cheerleaders around the league, this is when our season begins. My name is Lisa and I just finished my third season with the Jills.
Yesterday kicked off the start of the two week long audition process for all Buffalo Jills hopefuls. This is always a bittersweet time for me. It's hard to see girls you've become so close with during the season not return the next year, but on the other hand, I'm so excited to meet the newcomers! After many years of auditioning and performing in front of 70,000 fans, you would think the audition process would be easy - but it only becomes more difficult. Every year the standards are higher and more beautiful, talented girls are fighting for a spot on the team.
The open workshop was held at the Conference Center of Niagara Falls which will also be the location for the 1st cuts on Saturday, March 20th. For the second year in a row, the 1st round will be open to the public. This is a great way to see if the girls will be able to perform for a crowd, and our fans get a first look at the 2010 team. There will be a series of cuts over the next couple of weeks and I'll be blogging my experience as a returning veteran throughout the audition process. Hope to see you all on the 20th!
Natalie, the rookie's blog:
Hello All! My name is Natalie and I am a Buffalo Jills hopeful! This is my first year trying out for the team and I couldn't be more excited about it.
Today, 3/14/10, was the first day of auditions. I had been preparing for this for several months and couldn't believe it was finally here. When I first arrived I had so many butterflies in my stomach, because walking into a room full of all the beautiful girls trying out can be very intimidating. After sitting down and talking with some of the ladies at my table the nerves seemed to melt away. The girls auditioning for the dance team got right to work learning the routine.
Because I have been a dancer my whole life I was feeling a little more in my comfort zone at this point, but still extremely nervous! We learned a routine that is about 45 seconds long and can be performed to three different songs. It was a lot of material to be given all at once, but that is how they will set the good performers apart from the great performers. After learning the dance, we sat down with the director and coordinator while they explained what would be expected of us as Jills on and off the field.
The Jills are all about being classy young women and they have high expectations of their girls and that is what makes their program so respectable. Being that this is my first time auditioning for the team, I was shocked to learn how much is expected of you as well as how much time and effort went into being an NFL cheerleader. The information session was the most overwhelming part of the day for me, but I think that as this process continues it won't seem like so much.
All the girls at tryouts today were incredibly nice and supportive of each other. I have already met some amazing ladies and we are planning on getting together to practice the routine this week before the first cuts on 3/20.
It is going to be a pretty hectic few weeks for me balancing school, work, and trying to prepare for auditions, but I am so thrilled to be starting this process and will hopefully be able to be a part of this amazing team of women in the end!
**Stephanie**, the director's blog:
It's audition time again and it's always an exciting time for me. After a couple of months off from Jill's practices, I look forward to the energy the new girls bring to tryouts.
Sunday, March 14th was one of my first looks at the young ladies that hope to be Jills. Approximately 75 young ladies attended our first workshop. Interspersed with the new faces are many familiar ones; former Jills have to audition each year as well. There are new, talented young ladies coming forward every year and this healthy competition keeps everyone on their toes. We even have a young lady that came to Buffalo from Australia JUST to audition; now that's motivation!
While I'm looking around the room at workshop, there are some young ladies that stand out right away. They seem to have that "Jills look" down and they are very polite and nice. I'm drawn to watch others as they begin dancing while Kelli our Choreographer teaches the routine.
Although some seem like strong candidates right away, I never pass judgment too soon because there's always young ladies that take the routine and personal feedback home for a week, practice like crazy and come back stronger than others. There will also be new girls attending our additional workshop this Thursday, so I know there are still many more girls to be seen. We usually get about 100-125 auditioning. We only have places for 45 Jills.
There is so much for the new young ladies to learn. I know it's overwhelming to them. In workshop we discuss our basic rules, the audition process, attire and expectations at auditions. If they make the team, we want to be sure they understand what they are getting themselves into. We take being part of the NFL very seriously. Being a Jill takes a lot of time and dedication and I think sometimes in a person's excitement to be part of it, they don't think through the huge commitment.
Today I organized the applications and matched them up to their audition photos. I need to make sure all of their information is filled out and ID's have all been checked. I begin creating the judges score sheets, making sure our computer program is ready for scoring, printing audition numbers and making sure my panel of judges is good to go for Saturday. I'm also in daily contact with our audition venue, the Conference Center of Niagara Falls, to make sure we have the correct set-up for Saturday. They have been wonderful to us!
1st cuts this Saturday the 20th are open to the public and we encourage the girls auditioning to bring a support group with them. It really brings up the energy of the whole process.
I'm excited to see even more new young ladies at our workshop Thursday. Back to work!