Amber Sanchez's quest to become a member of the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers hit a bit of a road block when she learned she was being cut on the final night of the 2018 DCRB Training Camp. Due to her perseverance, that road block simply turned out to be a minor detour and she returned prior to the 2019 auditions mentally and physically prepared to complete her journey and earn her way onto the NFL's only coed hip hop dance team.
Amber joined me at a recent Dallas Cowboys home game at A&T Stadium to discuss her path to making the team.
JAY BETSILL: You auditioned for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers last season and were cut on the last night of training camp. Talk about the emotions of that night.
AMBER SANCHEZ: It was a nerve-wracking night, I felt like I was so worn out and I was not doing my best. I was all happening so fast. I remember when Jenny (Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Director Jenny Durbin Smith) called me in and I knew "this was it." At first I was just really sad, but when she took me back, I was able to talk to her and it was really eye opening because she told me 'this is why this happened' and said "there's a time for everyone and your time is just not now;" I feel like that really pushed me to better myself.
JB: You were able to use that night as motivational rather than letting it get you too far down. How were you able to make yourself do that?
AS: I feel like I was honest with myself. When I looked around at the others who were really fighting and, truthfully, they were better than me. I feel like they deserved it more. Then I spent that past year taking dance classes and following what Jenny told me that I needed to do to improve to make the team.
JB: Fast forward to May of this year, with DCRB auditions approaching, was there any doubt in your mind that you were going to try out again?
AS: A little bit. I took some of the prep classes leading up to auditions, saw who was trying out and I got in an anxious headspace again. But I talked to vets on the team who were so encouraging, saying stuff like 'you need to fight for this' and 'we want you on this team' and 'Jenny really sees something in you.' That really helped me push through. Then the auditions were so cool because everyone was so welcoming as opposed to just acting like 'oh, you're here again.'
JB: The Rhythm & Blue auditions take place at the Star in Frisco and you're there for a second time. Were you more comfortable in that it was a more familiar setting the second time around?
AS: Yes! I walked in and immediately saw familiar faces. The veterans were coming up to me calling me by name and welcoming me; it made me feel like I was already a part of the team. When I previously tried out, I didn't know anyone and I kept to myself but now things were different. Any time I was dancing next to one of the vets, they would ask if I had any questions or needed any help. I was like "Thank you! You guys are angels!"
JB: You advanced from the auditions into training camp. What is that experience like?
AS: Training camp is at Next Step Dance at The Star and it was a lot better this time than the first time around. Training Camp is held Monday, Tuesday and Friday and the first week, we also had interviews on Wednesday and Thursday. There were also challenges each night where you randomly have to switch spots and learn a new dance to audition on that very night. It was a constant memory challenge and having the vets to again help me out because they knew the choreography was amazing. They would constantly ask me 'what do you need to be successful?' So it was really helpful, heartfelt, and just overall, great!
JB: Let's go to the night when you found out that you had made the team. How did that go?
AS: Oh my goodness! I think it was the fourth week of training camp, Jenny told us that we were going to do a dance challenge with a video company. I was like 'sweet, this is going to be like DDR and I'm so good at that game that I told myself, I've got this!' We were sitting there and they told us that we were going in one-by-one. So when I walked out, there were so many people with cameras and recording content that it made me really nervous. They told me to dance like the banana from Fortnite… and I have never played it, so I wasn't really sure what to do. It was funny because the dance moves weren't normal dance moves, so I was laughing and trying to have fun with it. Then they stopped it and the guy from Complexity Gaming said he needed me to take it more seriously so I thought I was getting judged on this banana dance and started to freak out and thinking I could get cut again. Then I found out that I had made the team and started crying. It was a lot, but it was a lot of fun.
JB: You've officially made the DCRB, so what is it like being a part of the Dallas Cowboys family?
AS: I pack the night before the game and put my uniform down and I think, "is this really happening?" Every time I get to the stadium and look around, I am still star struck. It is really cool and I feel blessed every day.
JB: The DCRB had the halftime show for first game of the season when the Cowboys hosted the New York Giants. Describe that feeling of being out on the field in front of the packed AT&T Stadium?
AS: When we first went out to rehearse and the stadium was empty, it was crazy to think that in a few hours it would be full and the fans would be watching us perform. When the show began, there were people in every seat, so I was focused on my dancing and letting the stadium's energy flow. I never would've thought that I would dance in front of so many people. Just getting to walk out on that field, it was so amazing and seeing the DCC, the Drumline, the Rookie Squad together was so rewarding…and seeing the video after, I was thinking 'wow, I was a part of that!'
JB: Now that you have made the team and are performing for Cowboys Nation, what would you tell someone whose dream is to be on the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers?
AS: Definitely prepare for it with dance classes and prep classes because it is a lot! The biggest thing is to not give up. There were so many times where I thought I wasn't good enough, so you need to push on and don't lose the fight. That's what helped me get to where I am today.
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