College Dance Team Central

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 Features FIU Golden Dazzler Vanessa

Sports Illustrated ( has featured Vanessa from Florida International as the "Cheerleader of the Week." features Vanessa and several members of the FIU Golden Dazzlers in 35 photos this week. For the full photo gallery Click Here

Labels: ,

Former Montana Dancer With NFL's Cardinals

Passion for dance carries Conrad woman to career worth cheering for
BY Patrick Douglas
Great Falls Tribune

It's a bit like something out of a Hollywood script. A young farm girl from a tiny Montana town tries out and ends up being chosen for an NFL cheerleading squad.

But that's reality for Callie Yeager and her family after the Conrad native made the Arizona Cardinals' cheer team last summer.

"I thought it was neat that she would at least give it a shot 'cause she's always been real brave that way in going and trying out for something," said Callie's mother, Bobbi Yeager. "I thought 'It'd be great if it happens,' but I was always thinking 'Wow, I don't know.' "

Callie's passion for dancing began when she was 3 years old and first took classes for fun. She attended college at the University of Montana where she was a member of the Sugar Bears dance team and then went on to Las Vegas where she danced in the Tournament of Kings show.

In between, she decided to try out for the pinnacle of NFL cheerleading squads — the Dallas Cowboys.

"There's over 300 girls and they're all beautiful, they're all talented and they're all pencil skinny," Callie said of the initial tryouts. "It is intimidating but you've just gotta hold your own and be confident."

While Callie didn't make the final cut for the Cowboys in the spring of 2007, she took what she learned from the experience and used it to land the job with the Arizona Cardinals this past summer.

The tryouts required that the women showcase their talents in front of a panel of judges.

"They usually do it in groups of five and usually the first round is introducing ourselves," Callie explained. "They put the music on, and we just freestyle dance which is just moving on your own. No choreography. Then they do their first cuts.

"In the second round, they teach you a choreography portion, like something they performed at their games last year. That's a fast process. We had to learn and perform within an hour."

The second round of cuts comes the next day, followed by an interview process.

"We have to dress in business attire and that's the scary part," she said. "Then we do our final dance. They post the results on the Internet a week later and ... you're just sitting by the computer waiting for it to pop up."

Then the good news came.

"I couldn't even believe it," Callie said with a laugh. "I had to refresh the page to make sure it was me. Then I started crying. (It was) a roller coaster of emotions. Then I call everyone I know and they're screaming. It's so exciting, but then you realize that you have to move. It's nuts."

Growing Up In Conrad

Callie's mother Bobbi was a high school teacher and her dad Gary is a barley farmer. Callie was a four-year varsity cheerleader for Conrad before heading to Missoula. Even though her parents supported her love of dance, they took a sensible approach to Callie's future.

"I kind of wanted her to be a nurse or something more practical," Bobbi said. "She was always dance, dance, dance and I was always thinking 'Go for something practical.' Her older sister's a banker, her older brother is a paralegal and those are both pretty staid and true occupations and here comes Callie dancing her way through everything."

Now that Callie has made the Cardinal cheerleading squad, her path has taken a different turn. Her parents, avid Grizzly fans, didn't have a favorite NFL team but of course that's changed, and they plan to attend a Cardinals' game in December.

"She always did really well with (the Sugar Bears) and I thought 'Wow, if anybody could do this, she could.' I'd see the girls on the NFL teams and she looked just as good to me as they did," Bobbi said.

"When she was majoring in dance, I thought she could go all the way with it. I think that's about as far as you could go in cheerleading."

Down the road

Callie has aspirations to one day own her own dance studio, a dream that seems much more likely considering what she's accomplished so far.

Knowing that young girls look up to her the way young boys admire professional football players is something Callie doesn't take lightly.

"It's very special. I love it because I want to eventually open my own dance studio and teach young children. I looked up to even just the high school cheerleaders when I was little, and I wanted to be them and I know how it feels," Callie said. "It's just special to make their day and make them smile and make them dream and be able to think that they can do it, too."

Making the transition from small-town farm girl to big city cheerleader has been surreal, but rewarding, she said.

"I really miss home. I'm always still gonna be the small-town farm girl. There's 6 million people in Phoenix and there's 3,000 in Conrad with one stoplight. It's hard to even wrap your head around it," she said. "When you leave, you really appreciate what you had."

"Moving here, I knew no one and now I have 32 great friends," she continued.

"(Callie) was always just one of those easygoing kids," Bobbi said. "She always loved anything to do with dance and was good at it. I guess I should've known. I kept thinking 'She'll get tired of it,' or 'She'll outgrow it,' but she never did."

Labels: , ,

Idaho Dance Team Sees Resistance

By Cari Dighton - Argonaut
The Argonaut

After holding tryouts, finding an advisor and getting a team together over the summer, the University of Idaho dance team discovered their funding had been severed.

Because of this unexpected cut, the dance team has been struggling to get a start this year.
“I think they are doing a good job and I think the students should be behind them,” said ASUI Sen. Koji Moy. “When we have a dance team full of girls who want to participate, I think we should back them and give them air time.”

Moy, along with ASUI senators Zach Arama and Samantha Storms, has been working to make the dance team a reality.

“I think (the dance team) really does impact the school in a great way,” Arama said. “They are performers who honor our athletics program.”

ASUI senators started debate Wednesday with a resolution in support of the team’s quest to seek funding through the UI Athletic Department.

After the team failed to find support from the Activities Board, senators have now written a bill that, if passed, will allocate funds to the team from the ASUI general reserve.

The bill will be up for discussion during next week’s meeting.

“I really support the bill,” Arama said. “I think it’s a worthwhile cause and I think it’s worth supporting. It’s a case where the money we use to support the team is actually given back to the students.”

According to the bill summary, the money allocated by ASUI would help the dance team to purchase costumes, workout gear, dance tights and help out with other miscellaneous expenses.

“As far as where the funding is going to come from in ASUI, I don’t know, and we probably won’t know for a couple more weeks,” Arama said.

Arama said there is a certain amount of university supplied funding that goes toward the Spirit Squad each year. The squad consists of Joe Vandal, the UI cheerleaders and the dance team. Arama said since a portion of the funding for the squad had to be cut, the dance team got the short end of the stick.

“We are going to try to help them with that,” Arama said. “That’s our duty, you know. The students are what we care about. Even if they don’t manage to get money through (the bill), we are going to try and help them through the Activities Board to get money. We are going to do all we can to make sure they are funded.”

Another concern to senators is that UI is now the only team in the Western Athletic Conference without dancers.

“We are one of the only NCAA Division I schools in the nation that does not have a dance team,” Moy said. “We are the only one in the Northwest without a dance team. When everyone else has one and we don’t, we kind of look like a joke.”

Storms also emphasized the importance of the team to UI athletic events.

“Their sole purpose is entertainment,” Storms said. “They only exist to support athletics and entertain at athletic events. We need to help them get started.”

Labels: ,