Say what you will about professional cheerleaders, but these women take their job seriously. And they have to, since being a Phoenix Suns Dancer requires a lot more than just good looks and dance ability. Don't believe it? We asked veteran Suns Dancer Brittney and Suns Dancer manager Taryn Carmichael for a few tips and the inside scoops on what to expect when auditions for the 2013-2014 Phoenix Suns Dancers roll around on August 17.
Brittney, who has been a Suns Dancer for the past four years, had one important word of advice who anyone who might be heading to the auditions.
"I recommend you be yourself and have fun -- confidence is a really big thing," she says.
Carmichael reiterated that the team looks for people who possess "a whole package," meaning talented performers who are also "outgoing, wonderful people inside and out." Though some dancers, like Brittney, grew up dancing and have had formal training, a dance background isn't required to be on the team.
Both women agreed that the best way to get prepared for the audition process would be to attend the prep classes offered in the months and weeks leading up the try outs since they go over "pretty much everything you would need to know," according to Carmichael.
"It makes a huge difference," she added.
In addition to the twice-weekly practices, during which dancers are generally expected to learn two new routines, the dancers attend every home game and make regular community appearances. Carmichael said it's not uncommon for people to underestimate the extent of that time commitment, which she said equates roughly to a full-time job. Though some dancers also balance another full-time job or school while being a part of the Suns Dancers, Carmichael said that's more the exception than the rule.
If you ask Brittney, though, the benefits far outweigh any potential downsides since Suns Dancers get a laundry list of perks. For example sponsors, hair styling, gym access, tanning, and laser all come standard with the job. Her favorite perk however, would be the travel opportunities, of which Brittney says there are many. She and several other dancers recently visited China as a part of the NBA Nation tour.
The dancers perform two dances every home game and routines usually run about one minute and 15 seconds. They try to perform new routines as often as possible, which means that there's a lot to remember if you want to keep up. Current Suns Dancers are required to re-audition every year if they want to remain on the team and Carmichael says there are usually between 16 and 20 spots up for grabs. The final number depends on "what kind of talent we get."
Suns Dancer auditions will be on August 17 at the Downtown Phoenix Convention Center from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the auditions and the rest of the audition process, visit the Phoenix Suns website.