My last article gave you a rundown of what happens during Preliminaries, or the first day of auditions. This will run you through Semifinals, which is the next step in getting closer to wearing the star-spangled uniform. Even though veterans skip this round, for me, it feels like yesterday that I was trying out for the first time!
Semifinals begins with check-in where you’ll receive your number (it’s not the same as your first-day number, so don’t get too attached to that!). After listening to a brief listing of how the day will proceed, you’ll learn choreography and a mini-version of our kickline. We got to learn everything on the field and walking across the turf for the first time was sooooo cool! It really motivates you to do your best because you want to be back on it, hopefully the next time dancing at a game.
Choreographer Judy Trammell’s assistants during Semifinals are usually retiring veteran DCCs, so you may see familiar faces up on that little stage. I was star-struck when it registered that Nicole Hamilton, Sarah Gourley and Justine Phillips-Orf were teaching us that morning. Judy goes through everything quickly, just how training camp is run, and it’s up to you to focus and retain the routine. Keep in mind, watchful eyes may be viewing you from the HD video board this entire time!
I tried my best to do everything full-out every time. It’s a gamble as to whether or not you’re even looked at or put on the big screen, so I didn’t want to risk being judged as lazy or winded if I ended up being seen at less than 100 percent. My mentality got me severely sweaty and gross before the real judging even began.
After learning on the field, you’ll have some time (not much!) to fluff and puff and practice before returning to the assigned-by-number seats. It’s much the same as the first day at this point: Each group of five ladies gets up to perform the dance in staggered rows. After doing it once or twice, they switch rows and do it again without stopping.
Then they immediately link up for the kickline and do that twice through as well. The first time, you’ll slide into the right splits, and the second time you’ll slide into the left splits. Afterward, you’ll stand and wait for the judges to dismiss you from the floor. I remember standing awkwardly in front of the judges huffing and puffing for air while trying to smile and look cute … it must have worked!
You’ll return to your seats again and watch the others perform until everyone has had a turn to vie for their invitation back to Finals. The judges will leave to deliberate and you’ll wait until the numbers and names are revealed for the next round. The former DCCs who help run auditions will keep those who are invited back behind for a quick, informative meeting about Finals.
Once the Semifinals are over, you’ll leave knowing a lot more about your “near future” than when you arrived that morning. For me, walking out of Semis was surreal. I flew back home to Idaho for the next 10 days where I found myself re-grouping, creating a solo, making a costume, deciding on an interview outfit and buying another plane ticket back to Dallas.
And then the real work starts!