I’m not quite sure how it’s already time to end my rookie season with the Clippers, but it officially came to a close this past week at our end of the year dinner. It feels like I just got the news about making the team and now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, next season’s auditions are about two months away. I spent the last several months learning choreography, performing at Staples, attending various appearances and events, and most importantly building a team that now feels like family and now it’s just about time do do it again.
I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and ask about auditioning for a professional team whether it be Clippers specifically or just in general. Did I like it? Would I recommend it? Am I doing it again? What’s the time commitment like? How important is it to be in shape? What are auditions like? The list goes on and on. And believe me, I get it. I remember after I decided to audition last year, I had so many questions and truly had zero clue what I was getting myself into. Now that I’ve got a season under my belt, I hope I can help at least a few people who are interested in auditioning. I’m gonna break it down question by question. And as always- reach out if I’m missing something.
Q. When are tryouts?
A. This year, auditions are taking place on July 22nd. It doesn’t say on the website, but typically finals are the following day. Unlike other teams and many NFL teams, the process is only two days long and very to the point consisting of a technique round, combination round, interview and final combination round. You will learn two dances during the course of the audition.
Q. Are there pre-tryout clinics?
A. Yes, there are two and I highly highly recommend going to at least one of the. This summer they are June 9 and July 7 and its only $40 to attend. These clinics are a great way to get yourself in front of the coach, captains and potential teammates. Not only that, but it’s a great way to make sure this is the squad for you. I truly believe that there is a pro dance team out there for everyone. Each one is ran differently and has style of dance that is unique to them. At the end of the day, it’s not only the judges selecting you to be apart of the team, you are also choosing them. They want dedicated dancers and trust me when I say it’s so much easier to put in that commitment when you genuinely love the program you are apart of.
These clinics are also a good call because more likely than not, you will see some of the elements you learn during these two dates in the actual audition.
Q. What is the audition process like?
A. I kind of already touched on this a bit, but like I said, it’s two days long. You show up the first day with your headshot and resume and, if I remember right, there’s an application process you go through online beforehand. You start with a warm up and then move to the technique round where a short across the floor combo is taught. After you showcase your across the floor technique (I think there was a double, a calypso and maybe a fan kick), either the coach or last years captains will tell you either “thank you” or “please stay.” Should you move on to the next round, you learn a combination (most often one of last years routines) and perform it in groups of 5 or so. Then they make the cut for finals. I remember this part being agonizing. They announce the dancers one by one. Hello, anxiety. The second day starts with an interview. It’s not a game day quiz of any sort. It’s more of a get to know you. And much like the rest of the process, it’s short, sweet and to the point. After that, they bring in a guest choreographer (last year it was Kevin Maher) to teach the final audition routine. In the studio, and front of a panel of judges, you perform one last time with two other hopefuls.
Q. What should I wear?
A. This for me is always more stressful than it should be. For a lot of professional teams, they require tights, briefs, and a rhinestone bra of sorts. This is where Clippers is a bit different. Absolutely no tights or briefs. Our style is athletic. What that means is no tights, shorts instead of briefs and a sports bra top of sorts. I am always a fan of doing a little something to make yourself stand out whether that be a funky sports bra or colored lipstick. I would recommend wearing pretty much the same thing to finals that you wore the day before. That way it’s easier to recognize who you are amongst all of the dancers (last year there were over 500 who participated in the first round). Las year I wore the same thing but added a cropped camo sweatshirt over the top.
Q. How important is fitness?
A. Stamina is definitely a huge factor and something they look for when selecting the team. I wish I knew how many miles I run on average during game day. And no, I don’t mean as a pre-game workout. We literally are in the tunnels of Staples Center running around from tunnel to tunnel to dressing room to quick change to the court to do a full length routine and then three hot songs back to back. Not only that, but the uniforms can be nearly microscopic as well. There is not one body type you should be, though so definitely don’t let this stress you out. What’s most important is confidence. That goes a long way. You want to feel proud and comfortable standing on the court in your uniforms.
Q. What’s the time commitment like?
A. We rehearse at least 2 days a week for three hours. When the season gets going, it can get pretty crazy between multiple game day weeks, appearances and extra rehearsals.
Q. Does it pay well?
A. There is potential to make anywhere from $15-$125 an hour.
Q. What was the hardest challenge you faced?
A. Anyone who has ever been on a college dance team will relate to this, but I think the hardest part is just being new. You learn routines that the veterans already know, try to figure out the layout of game day, staples center, how to manage your time, stay fit and make it to appearances on time. It’s a lot. But everyone is there to help and are more than willing to do so. They were in your shoes once too.
Q. What was your favorite part?
A. Specifically this season I would say performing with Super Duper Kyle. Since it’s an LA team, there is a lot of opportunity to perform with some pretty cool artists. All Star weekend was also a once in a lifetime experience. It was a lot of hours and hard work, but it was so cool to be on that stage.
Q. How is it being on a team with 19 other women?
A. Honestly, incredible. I gotta say, I was pretty nervous when I first joined the team. It’s scary going into something not knowing the people you’re going to be spending all that time with. This team of women was truly special. We all clicked so well and I can honestly say that we were all meant to be put in each others lives. I’ve been so thankful to have gained 19 new incredible friends who have truly become family.
For anyone on the fence about auditioning, do it. It’s an incredible feeling to be getting paid for something you genuinely love. Yes, it gets overwhelming and stressful at times but the ups far outweigh the downs. Clippers is the perfect blend between industry and dance team. The choreographers, artists, and leadership team you’re exposed to are great tools and resources that are at your disposal.