Last Thursday, a room of some 30 Grizzly Girl wannabees heated up the New Ensemble Ballet dance studio during a pre-audition workout. Under the careful gaze of Grizzlies dance coach Tamara Moore, the young women shimmied their way up and down the floor — all vying for the chance to be a member of the Grizzlies dance team.
Their eyes did not leave the mirrors that lined the studio as they watched themselves shrug their shoulders, pivot, and shake their jazz hands. No two dancers looked alike. There were girls fresh out of high school and others closer to 30. While spandex seemed to be a theme that night, some girls chose to wear Grizzlies outfits while one wore a Playboy bunny T-shirt. With an average of 100 girls trying out during auditions, the girls at the workout hoped to gain a leg up on the competition.
Even though the girls here may have an advantage over the dance-team hopefuls who didn't attend, their chances of being selected are based on more than their moves. "I look for beauty and talent," Moore said. "But above that they have to have personality. It's all about charisma."
Moore knows talent; she has been teaching choreography for 15 years. The native New Yorker was chosen to be the Grizzlies' dance-team coach two years ago.
While age, dance experience, being a student or having a job, and reliable transportation are basic requirements for making the team, there are no other set criteria. And last year's dancers have to try out as well, so no spot is secure.
"They must be at least 18, but after that there's no age limit," Moore said. "I'd say the average girl trying out is around 22 or 23."
Boys get the cold shoulder when it comes to being part of the dance team.
"I won't say they can't [try out]," Moore said. "But it is an all-girl team."
During the two-day auditions, only 30 to 40 girls will move on to the second round, which will be held August 22nd at FedExForum. In the end, about 16 girls will be picked.
Not only do the chosen girls get to be part of the team, they become season ticket holders and receive compensation for special appearances and the games they attend.
Moore said the hard work is worth it. "They become mini-celebrities, and they get to do what they love. Every game is like a girls' party."