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Dance Pak Blog: Nicole July 30

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How I Made The Dance Pak

July 29, 2010

What does it take to be on the Raptors Dance Pak? Well, I'll tell ya, it's definitely a “girls only” club. Sorry boys! But you are more than welcome to cheer us on from the stands. Becoming a member of the Pak requires so much more than a pretty face and a healthy physique. What sets a Raptor girl apart from any ordinary dancer is an energetic, engaging personality and a passion for movement, music and performance.

This is my first year as a member of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak and it wasn't an easy title to obtain. Over a hundred girls showed up to the audition ready to take the floor and give it their all. After two exhausting, but fun-filled days of auditions, I received the call that every girl in attendance was desperately wanting. Now I want to share my audition experience with all of you.

Auditioning for the Raptors was incredible! I entered gate one of Air Canada Centre last Saturday so excited to get the process started. Inside, a large group of girls waited eagerly near the registration desk. Nervous tension was high of course, and a lot of them were fidgeting as they clenched their registration materials. I overheard a conversation between two girls. One was advising the other to just "be yourself" and to "let your personality shine through". I thought this was great advice to give because in actuality, being a member of the Dance Pak involves so much more than great dance technique.

Little by little the waiting area emptied. Small groups of girls were taken into a gymnasium and taught a sassy hip hop and jazz routine to Ne-Yo’s "Beautiful Monster". Unfortunately, some girls were sent home. One girl in particular came out of the gymnasium with an upset look on her face. I assumed she was cut and approached her to offer support. She said, "I got the boot! I’m outta here girl". She still maintained a fairly positive attitude though, "It’s ok, maybe I’ll come back next year or maybe I’ll just sit around and do nothing (laughter) like I normally do (laughter)." But for the ones that made it to the next round, they quickly celebrated and gathered together to practice the routine for the next round of auditions.

Once it was my turn, I took a deep breath and said, "Okay, here we go doll." When I entered the gymnasium, my attention was immediately directed to centre court where the head coach and coordinator of the Raptors Dance Pak, Amberley Waddell, was sitting. She smiled pleasantly as all of us entered into the room. After the two dance captains, Kat and Candice, taught us the routine, it was time to audition. We were separated into small groups of four or five and asked to perform. At this point, it was time to turn on the heat and give it your all!

On the second day, roughly 20 girls remained. We were asked to take part in an interview, a workout session and another dance audition. Yikes! Everyone moaned about sore necks and backs. Most didn’t know how they were gonna whip their head around. And no all-girl routine is not the same without a hair flick or two. LOL. It’s a known staple. I even think girls arrived feeling more nervous than the day before because we were so close to finding out the results. Kaela, now also a member of the Dance Pak commented, "I am so nervous! I think I’m more nervous than yesterday." Other girls shook their head in agreement. I simply told her, "Just rock it out, it’ll be fine!" The nerves and the sore muscles didn’t seem to affect anyone. Competition was fierce! After another long day, most of us left feeling confident, but the sad reality was, not all of us would be called back.

The 2010/2011 Dance Pak is made up of fourteen dancers, seven of which are returning veterans, and the rest rookies. I am so excited to be a part of this team now! Woop woop!! After our first team meeting last night, and a nervous and very awkward self- introduction (given by me that is), it seems we’ve got some things cookin’ for all the fans out there. But I can’t give it all away, so be sure to stay tuned-in throughout the season!

Thanks everyone!