Archive for the ‘Bobcats’ Category

Lady Cats at Bobcats Draft Day Party

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Our Carolina Correspondent Rick attended the Bobcats Draft Party last night at Whisky River (Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s bar). He sent us a few photos of the Charlotte Lady Cats.

Lady Cats
Jenn, Kelsey, Jesi and Kelli

Lady Cats
Jesi, Brittney (2006 Carolina TopCat) and Jenn

Lady Cats
Jesi, Kelsey and Kelli

P.R.O. Convention: Saturday Night

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

While I was taking advantage of the free wifi in the hotel lobby, I was able to snap a few photos of the Cheerleaders and Dancers on their way out on Saturday Night.

Bucs Cheerleaders
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders

Colts Cheerleaders
Indianapolis Colts Cheerleaders

Lady Cats
Charlotte Lady Cats

Soulmates
Philadelphia Soulmates

Titans Cheerleaders
Titans Cheerleaders and Director Stacy Kinder (second from left)

Texans Twins
Texans Cheerleaders. An exercise for our readers: Is this an optical illusion or is one twin taller than the other?

Charlotte Lady Cat Amanda

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Charlotte Lady Cat Amanda didn’t dream of dancing in the NBA or cheering in the NFL while growing up in North Carolina, because there were no major league teams in the state at the time. But eventually expansion came to Carolina and Amanda earned the opportunity to cheer and dance for not just one but three professional teams: The Charlotte Lady Cats, The Carolina TopCats, and the Charlotte Honeybees. Throw in a two-year stint as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader Ambassador when she worked in the nation’s capital and she’s done quite well for someone who never even thought she would have chance to cheer professionally.

Amanda started dancing at age five and cheered throughout high school at Parkland High in Winston-Salem. At UNC-Charlotte she was a member of the school’s official dance team the 49er Gold Dusters, and graduated with a BS in Business Management/Human Resources.

Amanda, Charlotte Lady CatAmanda, Charlotte Lady Cat

Out of school Amanda says Professional Cheerleading was the natural next step in performing. When the opportunity came up to audition for the Panthers, She decided to give it a shot.

Telling herself that she would be fine no matter what happened, Amanda arrived at Ericcsson Stadium (now Bank of America Stadium) on audition day, pinned her number to her outfit, made a few friends upstairs to keep her company. She remembers taking a peak at the field from one of the luxury suite windows high above and wondering if she’d be down there performing.

When she was done with her audition, Amanda was thinking - “It’s fine if you didn’t make it this year, you took a chance, you showed up, you did your best, there’s always next year.” She didn’t have to wait for next year. Her name was called (she describes as one of the best feeling of her life) and advanced to the next round. She was hooked and eight years later she’s still in the game.

Amanda, Carolina TopCat
Amanda in her rookie TopCat season

Having danced in the both the NFL and the NBA, I asked Amanda what was the biggest difference. Her answer was “The Fans”.

She explained that it’s a function of the number of home games. In the NFL she saw many more season ticket holders. And it’s only natural to begin to connect with them more and more throughout the season and from year to year. She describes the first NFL pre-season game is always like a reunion with your closest friends.

She describes the NBA as equally great, but in this case you are meeting many more fans at their first, or a father taking his young son to an NBA game for the
first time. With so many more NBA games Amanda says it creates more opportunities to hear those stories and be a part of those memories.

As for a favorite moment in her pro cheerleading career Amanda can’t pick just one. In the NBA, she says it would have to be when the Hornets made the playoffs in 2001. The energy and excitement of the fans was like nothing she had ever experienced. She says she’s usually very calm before performances- but the playoffs create a whole new world for NBA dancers.

As for the NFL her favorite moment came in her second year when the Panthers defeated Cincinnati 52-31. Carolina had started the year off great and then lost eight games in a row and it was starting to feel like the 2001 season all over again. The Panthers were coming off a win on the road against Cleveland. Amanda’s a huge Rodney Peete fan and she was hoping he’d have a good showing on the home turf. The game seesawed: one team would score, then the other, but in the 4th quarter it was all Panthers; she says it was one of the best victories she experienced as a TopCat.

And Amanda says there are some feelings that are part of any particular moment. Such as being able to be a part of a new team in Charlotte and help start traditions or being part of the rich tradition of Washington Redskins.

Amanda, Redskins Ambassador
Redskins Cheerleader Ambassadors Amanda and Sara

Some of Amanda’s best friendships have developed from being a member of these squads. And this will come as no surprise to longtime readers of the blog, the one thing she’s had in common with each experience is meeting and working with the most amazing women. They’re mothers, lawyers, accountants, teachers, students, and friends. They all have dance in common and they all have the love of our teams in common - and in the beginning that’s what brings them together but in the end they become your family.

When she wasn’t on the field or the court Amanda’s been working in the financial industry for the past 12 years, mostly in support roles for commercial sales teams until recently deciding to make a career change to executive assistant. Currently she’s an Executive Assistant for a senior level executive at a Fortune 10 Company.

She doesn’t find balancing work and cheering difficult at all. She says it’s all about time management and prioritizing. She will admit that she has had a
stressful moment or two where she’s felt the pressure of having to be a million places at once, but she’s always been very honest with herself and quick to
remember what comes first in her life. She says as long as you know the time commitment involved when you join a team then everything else just falls into
place.

But Amanda’s real passion is volunteering with various charities in her community. She volunteers two Saturdays each month at the Charlotte Visitor Info Center helping people navigate the city on their visit or assisting folks that are considering a move to Charlotte find out more about the city. She also just wrapped up leading her company’s campaign for the 2008 March for Babies benefiting the Local March of Dimes Chapter. The campaign is projected to surpass $75K in funds raised for the cause. Amanda also assists at events with the The Hendrick Marrow Program and will begin volunteering regularly at Charlotte’s Levine Childrens’ Hospital this summer.

She hopes one day to create and run her own non-profit that benefits the welfare of children.

Meanwhile, Amanda’s currently single and is glad to be back home in North Carolina. Her immediate family is also close by in other parts of the state. Her Mom & Dad (married for 38 years!) live in Clemmons and a sister and brother-in-law are in Asheville.

Charlotte Lady Cats

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Our Carolina Correspondent Rick was at the Bobcats game on Tuesday:

Got a chance to see the Bobcats pull off a thrilling 121-119 victory over Minnesota. The LadyCats were out front before the game signing autographs and handing out game programs, and of course posing for pictures. Before they left for pregame introductions, Brandii McCoy was nice enough to get everyone together for a great picture!

Charlotte LadyCats

Jordan, Charlotte LadyCats
Jordan

Kristy, Charlotte LadyCats
Kristy

Maria, Charlotte LadyCats
Maria

Signing Autographs, Charlotte LadyCats
Maria, Kristy and Christina signing autographs.

Nicole and Cedea, Charlotte LadyCats
Nicole and Cedea

Jennifer, Charlotte LadyCats
Jennifer with Rick

Online home of the LadyCats here.

Williamson on Bobcats Dance Team

Monday, February 4th, 2008

By KEVIN TRAVIS,
Sports Editor
Washington Daily News

Jennifer Williamson used to get a rush performing in front of the Minges Maniacs. But that pales in comparison to how Williamson feels when she struts her stuff in front of thousands of fans.

Williamson, a former ECU Dance Team member, is now a performer with the Charlotte Bobcats Dance Team.

While several eyes follow her every move, Williamson says the most gratifying feeling she gets is putting a smile on a little girl’s face.

“The most exciting part is all the fans that truly love us,” Williamson said. “There are people that love the dancers as much as the team. They want our autographs, pictures with us, or just to talk to us.

“The little girls look up to you and want to be just like you. I remember being that little girl myself once. Now I’m the one they are looking at. It’s such an inspiring thought. For me, that is the best part.”

While Williamson has danced in front of large audiences before, she still remembers her first performance at Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

“Performing in an NBA arena for the first time was unbelievable,” she said. “After doing this for so many years, you try to fight the nerves with thoughts like, ‘It’s just another stage, just a different place,” or ‘I’ve got this; I’ve done it a million times before; I know what I’m doing.’ But in all actuality, our arena seats over 20,000 people. It’s a whole new level of excitement.

“There are thousands of eyes on you from all directions in the stands, cameras right in your face trying to capture close-ups for the big screens and for television, photographers lined up along the sidelines and the giant-sized NBA basketball players sharing the stage with me. It is so loud from screaming fans. I am smiling and dancing, feeling the adrenaline throughout my body, and trying not to trip over the camera guy and his cables.”

Williamson and her teammates do much more than just perform at games.

“The Bobcats organization plays a huge role in the Charlotte community, so we are constantly being asked to do things outside the arena,” Williamson said. “We do many charity events, general promotions for the basketball season, traveling promoting the team, parades and attending other local sporting events on behalf of the Bobcats.”

Williamson had to go through a rigorous tryout to make the team. She was one of over 400 applicants who signed up for auditions.

“The actual audition process consisted of a series of learning routines, performing them on the spot and casual interviews,” Williamson said. “A group of 35 finalists were chosen to go through the next two weeks of practices, drills and a formal interview with the coach and judges.

“Our interview was filmed to judge us on how we came across on television, due to the extensive media we are around. On the final night of auditions, we had to perform five different routines, perform with the group and sit rather impatiently waiting on the judges decisions.”

The judges and coaches picked 19 team members and four alternates. Williamson still remembers her reaction to hearing her name get called.

“I heard the words, ‘Contestant No. 4, Jennifer,’ and I completely forgot that was me,” she said with a laugh. “I was completely speechless. I ran down to the court, got my ‘Welcome to the team t-shirt’ and started taking pictures for the first time. It was during those first photo-flashes that it really started to sink in. All I could think was, ‘wow.’”

Now that she’s made the team, the attractive, athletic performer constantly works out to stay in shape.

“To even be considered at this caliber, you have to come with a certain ‘look.’” Williamson said. “You have to be physically fit from the beginning to make it anywhere near the finals. I usually go running two to three times a week. I have different aerobic routines I do on my own once in awhile, and each practice is basically two hours of cardio. It’s tough sometimes but, in the end, it’s worth it.”

It takes much more than simply being pretty and physically fit to compete at the next level. Going from high school to college is a giant step in its own right.

“To get to the next level in anything takes determination, discipline and a true commitment to whatever it is you want to accomplish,” Williamson said. “It takes a lot of work to continue performing in college. You are walking into a much bigger playing field, with more people who are just as good as you, others not so much, and some that are just too talented for words. You have to be physically trained as well as mentally prepared for the competition you face.”

Once an athlete has reached the next plateau, the work doesn’t stop.

“The work has just begun once the next level is reached. Goals are not only attained, but maintained. To stay where you are takes as much focus and responsibility, if not more, than what it took to get you to that next level. You sacrifice your personal time for practices, games and workouts.

“Most college dance teams support their football, men’s and women’s basketball, as well as baseball programs. They are spokespersons for the athletic programs, ambassadors for the college and representatives in the community. It is an honor, but with honor comes responsibility.”

Along with the physical work, Williamson said getting to the next level also takes a commitment and hard work in the classroom.

“Grades are very important in reaching goals,” she said. “Good grades are simply the result of persistent study, discipline and focus. You need good grades to get accepted into colleges in the first place. but the habits developed from good study carry over into dancing on a collegiate level.

“Most collegiate athletic programs require a minimum 2.5 GPA from each athlete, dancers included. You have to be able to commit the time and energy to all of the dance requirements as well as keeping good grades as a full time student — all without having a parent or guardian standing over you telling you what to do. You need to develop good habits, time management and self discipline to keep a good balance between being a student and being a collegiate athlete.”

Through her hard work, Williamson is now performing on one of the biggest stages imaginable.

“Dancing for the NBA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life,” Williamson said. “By achieving this level, I am now a representative in the Charlotte community, supporter of professional sports and dance in front of thousands of fans two to three nights a week.

“I have 21 years of dance experience, (but all) were not always easy. I had to keep going through the good and the bad if I wanted to keep pursuing a dream. My dream was to be a professional dancer. It takes passion, dedication, commitment, hard work, focus and persistency. I did it, one goal at a time.”

Williamson is living her dream as a Bobcat dancer, and that dream gets all the sweeter when she can put a smile on a fan’s face. Especially a little girl’s face.

“For me, there is no greater feeling than being out on the court knowing that there is a little girl somewhere in the crowd, watching and saying, ‘Mommy. I want to be just like her one day,’” Williamson said. “I used to be that little girl, and now I have been blessed with the opportunity to inspire her to always strive for the next level.”

2007-08 Bobcats Dance Team

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

The 2007-08 Lady Cats are now online! Click here to check out the new bios and uniform shots.

2007 Lady Cats Photo Shoot

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Charlotte Bobcats: With the start of the regular season just days away, the 2007-08 Lady Cats had a photo shoot recently and bobcats.com was there. Checkout out our behind the scenes gallery from the shoot.

Catching up with the LadyCats

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

Thanks to Charlotte LadyCat Jessica for sending us a few behind the scenes photos of her squad.

Charlotte LadyCats
LadyCats at their annual Cool School game against Atlanta. The game is a field trip for middle school kids.

Charlotte LadyCats
From the LadyCats photo shoot last month here are Kathryn, Kelli, Cedea, Kelsey, and Ana)

Charlotte LadyCats
Maria, Jessica, and Jennifer from the photo shoot.

Charlotte LadyCats
Dave Price from CBS’ The Early Show taped his weather segment at the National Whitewater Center in Charlotte and the LadyCats along with Rufus T. Lynx were there to welcome him. (l-r: Christina, Amanda, Dave, Jessica, Maria, with Rufus in front)

Charlotte LadyCats
Jessica and Dave Price

Lady Cats Audition Blog

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Charlotte Bobcats: Lady Cats fans, get ready! Thursday in Greensboro the Lady Cats took the first step towards selecting the new 2007-08 squad, and open auditions continued at Charlotte Bobcats Arena on Saturday. Along the way, we followed Lady Cats Director & Choreographer Brandii McCoy as she searches for the newest members of the squad, and on Saturday, veteran member Dawn took us through the auditioning process in her blog. We’re now at 35 semifinalists as the 2007-08 Lady Cats dance team continues to take shape.

Ready To Get Things Rolling
Lady Cats Director & Choreographer Brandii McCoy | 6/6/07

I can’t believe the 2007 Lady Cats auditions are here. Coming off such a successful season with the Lady Cats is a great way to lead into this year’s auditions.

In my first year coaching the team, the Lady Cats completed more public appearances than ever before, made it to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in the NBA Dance Team Bracket, and sent our very own representative to Las Vegas to participate in the NBA All-Star game! What a great year we have had, and I look forward to having a lot of girls audition to be on the team this year.

We are starting something brand new this year. Our FIRST EVER Greensboro Lady Cats auditions. What a fantastic opportunity for dancers in our sister community to be able to audition for a spot on the team. We are giving up to 20 Free Passes to semifinals, so I am expecting a big turnout in Greensboro tomorrow. I have received many emails from girls all over the Carolinas that are planning on attending both the Greensboro Audition on June 7 and the Charlotte Audition on June 9. Two of our current Lady Cats, Ana and Stefanie, were up in Greensboro early this morning with Rufus to promote the audition on television. They called me afterward and were thrilled at how well it went – you can feel the buzz about tryouts from all the current Lady Cats too!

When they called, I was up early editing music for the audition. This year I am changing up the dance rounds slightly. Normally, we do something really jazz oriented for round one, followed by a hip-hop number for round two. I thought it might be interesting to flip the two rounds so all of our participants get to show off their hip-hop skills and fun personalities. I know the girls auditioning will love that, as that section always gets the most cheers from the audition group.

I have been answering tons of emails from girls asking what we are “looking for” in a Lady Cat. I answer the same thing every time: A QUADRUPLE THREAT.
** Someone who can dance
** Someone who has a team player mentality
** Someone that our fans will like
** Someone who can represent the Bobcats organization well in the community

If you have all four of those qualities, you will go far in the audition process.

At our Event Operations meeting today, we will finalize everything for this weekend’s auditions, and then we will be ready to head to Greensboro on Thursday to set everything at the Greensboro War Memorial Theatre. That is our venue for the Greensboro Auditions. It has a very nostalgic feel to it, and the girls auditioning on stage will add a new dynamic to the entire process! They will feel like rock stars!

I have a strong feeling we will find some really qualified candidates in Greensboro. All of them are eager to begin their dream of becoming an NBA dancer, a dream that I also got to live out many years ago. I’ll keep you posted on how our Greensboro audition goes…

Until later…
Brandii

Greensboro A Great Success
6/8/07

Twenty free passes were given! Greensboro was a success!

It is Friday morning and I am still tired from last night’s audition in Greensboro. Our staff didn’t return back to Charlotte until about 1:00 am. Needless to say, it was a very long day on Thursday.

The turnout in Greensboro exceeded my expectations, as we had almost 90 dancers in attendance vying for one of the free passes to the semi\finals. Girls had driven from Charlotte, Matthews, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, Fayetteville and even Columbia to get a sneak peak at the choreography for Saturday. The hardest part was getting our judges to decide on who should receive the 20 free passes.

A huge thanks to all the judges in Greensboro. Many of the local radio celebrities came out to support us, and I had some friends that coach the arena football team cheerleaders there too. I think the judges were truly entertained for the night. Some of them were even shouting out their favorite numbers to us as they left the building!

There were quite a few candidates that I thought had a lot of potential, and I wish we would have had more free passes to give out, but we could only give out 20. I am hoping that all of the others will audition in Charlotte tomorrow. In fact, I threatened the dancers with a laugh that I would hunt them down and force them to try out if I didn’t see their faces on Saturday! Ha.

It was interesting to see the different dynamic of Round 1 and Round 2 as the girls auditioned. Many of the girls in that area were studio-trained dancers with a lot of technique. But there were also some dancers that “worked it” on the hip-hop section too and got to show off so much of their personality.

One of the funniest parts of the night was the staff of the Bobcats teasing me about my little sayings that I say to the girls – “Work It,” “Be sassy,” “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and “Potential, not perfection.” What happens is some of the dancers get so consumed in executing the choreography, that they forget the showmanship part. I constantly reminded them that our fans don’t want to see a great dancer that forgets to smile. You gotta bring the whole package if you want to land a spot on the team.

If you’re trying out on Saturday make sure you “work it,”
Brandii

Muscles Sore, Totally Exhausted, But They Are Semifinalists
6/10/07

Our Charlotte audition wrapped up Saturday evening after a long day of deliberation. We have it narrowed down to 35 semifinalists. Now starts the hard part. They will go through professional interviews with the Bobcats staff, rehearse two more times, learn new dance routines and be judged one more time at our final audition on Thursday night. The candidates have their work cut out for them. It takes much more than just being a great dancer to become a Lady Cat. It is imperative that they have what it takes to represent our organization in the community and at appearances as well.

They began lining up outside the Bobcats Arena very early, eager to start the journey. It was neat to see their faces light up upon entering the doors. For many, it was an arena that they will see MANY times over the next year.

As I suspected, the day progressively got tougher as the dances got more difficult. The dancers had to be able to pick up choreography quickly, then turn around and perform it immediately. Add that to nerves, exhaustion, and sore muscles…it makes for some tense times in the arena.

The most rewarding thing for me as a coach is seeing familiar faces re-audition from last year. I think it shows how determined many of them are to live their dream of becoming an NBA dancer. Sometimes their hair has changed, their fitness improved, the outfits get more elaborate. True signs that they are moving in the right direction to reach their goals. I look forward to having them back next year to give it another shot.

For now, we are narrowed to 35, and I will be seeing them in a few hours to run them through a vigorous four hour practice (aka boot camp). No, don’t ever be fooled that professional cheerleading & dancing is easy. These girls are much more than the glamour you see on the court. And they will be proving that they have what it takes all week long as we make the selection of our 2007-08 team. Looking forward to introducing them to all of the Bobcats fans at the Draft Party on June 28 th.

See you then!
Brandii

Tryouts Truly A Highlight
– 2006-07 Lady Cats veteran Dawn |6/11/07

Rhinestones. Glamorous Hair. Colorful, head-turning costumes. Eight counts echoing throughout the arena. It’s that time again! Tryouts are one of the biggest highlights of the season for dancers. It all starts here. Although I’ve spent the entire season performing for thousands of fans, I will admit my emotions Saturday ranged from excited to somewhat Nervous… okay, okay maybe extremely nervous.

Arriving at the arena generated a wonderful, familiar feeling. After 42 home games, combined with appearances, the arena becomes a second home. At registration, I had the opportunity to meet some of the finalists from Greensboro who received free passes to the semifinals. After speaking with several of the dancers, I realized they all shared the same passion and drive not only for dance, but for the Charlotte Bobcats organization as well. When I asked how the auditions went in Greensboro, the general feedback I received was that “it was overall great and they really loved the choreography!”

After registration, brief interviews were next on the agenda. I find this portion of auditions to be the most fun! The personal interview gives dancers the opportunity to convey what sets them apart and why they should be selected for the new dance team… not to mention you get a moment to take a “breather” before getting back on the floor. Many people sometimes feel a little apprehensive about interviews, but they actually can be a great experience. As cliché’ as it sounds, just remember to “be yourself!” Familiarity with general Bobcats and NBA stats wouldn’t hurt either.

Once the interview process was over, it was time to get back on the floor and learn the last routine of the day. This would be the last time to impress the judges before deliberating on who makes it to finals. Our routine was set to the sounds of “White Zombie.” This gave dancers not only the opportunity to execute their dance technique, but to show off their “inner rocker.” After learning the routine, very swiftly, it was now time to pair off into small groups. Before making their rounds to the floor, finalists could be found making last minute phone calls to their friends and family for support, retouching their makeup or saying a little prayer.

Once the judges left to deliberate, dancers were anxious and contemplated whether or not their number would be called. Many girls expressed how they would react if they were not chosen to proceed to finals. Some were simply happy to be semifinalists, while others said they would be devastated. Many dancers said they would come back next year to re-audition.

After having such a blast last season, I couldn’t possibly imagine not being a part of the Lady Cats. As I and the other semifinalists awaited the judges’ decision, I reminisced on all the great times I’ve had this season. Attending All Pro3’s Professional Dance Work Shop, seeing my parents’ proud faces in the crowd the night of the 2006 Draft Party, seeing the bright smiles on children’s faces at appearances, and making 19 new friends are just some of the greatest moments I’ve had while being on this team.

Finally, the judges returned to announce the finalists. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. All I wanted to hear was the number 192!!! Luckily, my number was called! I am so thankful and looking forward to what’s to come. Best wishes to all who came to auditions!

Dawn

Congratulations 2007-08 Lady Cats

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Charlotte Bobcats: The Lady Cats selected their 2007-08 team on Thursday at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, naming 19 members to the team with four alternates. Here’s your chance to get a closer look at each member of the new Lady Cats squad. Click on the photo of each dancer (here) to find out more about them.



Sidebar: the ECHL Checkers Checkmates continued their tradition of sending great dancers on to the Bobcats Dance Team. This year, recent Checkmates, Christina, Kaylie, and Jesi join former Checkmates Kristy, Stefanie and Stacey on the Lady Cats.
(6/19: Keata and Amanda are former Carolina TopCats. Keata was even “Rookie of the Year!” - james)
(More 6/19: Jesi and Jessica were members of the 2005-06 Charlotte BobCats Dance Team as they were then known. - james)
(boy, these Lady Cats are vigilant! Turns out Amanda is a former TopCat and former HoneyBee, but not a former Checkmate. Apologies - sasha)

Speaking of former Checkmates, one of our favorite former Checkmates retired from the Lady Cats this year. We’ll miss you, Sonia! Lots of other talented dancers also retired this year: Ashley, Chimere, Erin, JB, Jessica, Kara, and Natasha, we wish you only good things for the future. I’d especially like to give a shoutout to Ashley who is getting married in the fall. Congratulations!


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