The journey to be a member of the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers presented by Miller Lite, the NFL's first and only co-ed hip hop professional dance team in the NFL, began in April with the preliminary and semi-final auditions inside the dance studio at Valley Ranch.
There was a long registration line that snaked out the front door and into the parking lot at the Dallas Cowboys team headquarters as this was the second year that guys and girls have actually auditioned together in their quest to make the team.
"I was so nervous for auditions that I couldn't sleep the night before," said rookie candidate Whitney, who was trying out for the DCRB after stints with the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders (NFL) and the Oklahoma City Thunder Girls (NBA). "When I arrived and saw all of the people auditioning, I actually got even more anxious because I wanted to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers so bad. Then once the process began and I talked to a few of the others and began to learn the routine, it actually calmed my nerves."
The opening weekend featured two days of auditions where the DCRB hopefuls would perform freestyle and choreographed routines along with answering questions for the judges' panel.
Once the final group exited the studio, the scores were tallied from the judges' ballots and the selections were announced for those who would be advancing to the final round that would determine who would be invited to DCRB training camp.
While the first two rounds were held at the cozy studio in Valley Ranch in front of a group of a dozen judges, the finals were not only open to the public, they were the featured entertainment at the Dallas Cowboys Draft Day Party at AT&T Stadium.
"I had been to AT&T Stadium once before when my family went to the Thanskgiving Day game," said rookie candidate Kasey, auditioning for the DCRB for the first time after spending four years as a member of the prestigious UNLV Rebel Girls. "Being down on the field and on stage for the auditions was such an adrenaline rush and definitely the first dance team audition that I have been a part of that had thousands of fans cheering you on."
Adding to the pressure for the rookie candidates was the fact that they were also joined by the returning veterans from last season with the opportunity to perform at the Dallas Cowboys home games on the line.
Returning veteran DCRBs Sammi and Marcus broadcast the event live on the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Facebook page to give Cowboys fans behind the scenes access to what was going on as the process was unfolding simultaneously with America's Team drafting Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott in the first round of the NFL Draft.[embeddedad0]
"I was really nervous going into the prelims at Valley Ranch and I was really proud of myself for advancing to finals," said rookie candidate Jordan, who has been dancing since age three and currently teaches hip hop dance at a local studio. "When I actually went out on the stage, the energy was so amazing and it was the coolest moment. I loved having the Cowboys fans there because it gave the audition more of a performance feel.
"When I heard my name called," Jordan continued. "It was a validation of the hard work I have put in to be a part of this team and I honestly can not wait for training camp to start."
Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers training camp gets underway the first week of June. This is where Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Director Jenny Durbin Smith will make her final selections for who will represent the organization at the games and in the community during the 2016-17 season.
Fans can follow the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers on Twitter and Instagram @DCRhythmBlue