Judy Trammell has choreographed thousands of routines in her more than 30 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, but one of the most memorable routines took place this summer when Queen + Adam Lambert invited the DCC onto the concert stage during the band’s tour stop in Dallas.
The song was “Fat Bottomed Girls”, one of Queen’s most popular hits, and Judy had less than a week to create the routine. There were other challenges, too, as Judy explains.
In her own words, Judy shares the story of the days leading up to the DCC’s big night of July 23, 2019 when they shared the stage with one of the greatest rock bands of all time.
JUDY: “During our Tuesday DCC staff meeting on July 16, exactly one week before the concert, we found out it was almost 99% real that we’ll share the stage with Queen and Adam Lambert. So we’ve got less than a week to prepare and we were carving out minutes to do it because we’re simultaneously holding DCC Training Camp, filming our CMT television show, and getting ready for our Show Group to fly to Oxnard for the start of Dallas Cowboys Training Camp. We’re also preparing the full squad for our first preseason Cowboys game. So it’s been stressful, but only in my head, and only because I’m trying to prepare the girls for so many different performances right now.
But I want them to be perfect for Queen. Yes, there’ so much going on, but they are such smart dancers and they read my mind and help me when I’m stumped on choreography. I’ve got a little bird on my shoulder with (DCC group leaders) Amy and Maddie. They are right there to help me pull all of this together. This was a complete team effort and we needed it because it’s a wonderful opportunity to perform on the same stage as Queen + Adam Lambert.
All of our veterans, 27 in total, performed on a great, huge stage for Queen. As we were driving on the team bus to the arena (American Airlines Center) I was sent new pictures of the stage configuration and it was a lot smaller than we’d been rehearsing for. I was nervous and jittery again because I knew that, once we get on site, I’m going to have to make some quick changes and figure out how to fit all the girls on the stage.
The band picked the song. It’s a great song, but ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ is a strange beat for us to dance to. It’s not a normal tempo that we dance to. It’s a slower beat, so we have to adapt choreography that will go to that metronome beat that is slower than what we’re used to dancing to. It’s not our kick-line beat. It’s not the beat to ‘Thunderstruck’, our traditional pregame routine. It’s different. So we’ve had to pull from lots of different areas to make it work.
And a lot of this song is driven by guitar and drum solos and sometimes Brian May and Roger Taylor play those differently. They are musicians who feel the music and the moment differently. What if they do a drum roll or a guitar riff a little longer? Our girls had to be ready to adapt to whatever happens.
So the challenge is to dance to a song that is different for us, but also capture the spirit and style of the DCC.
Even with the DCC taking the stage, everything in the performance is still driven by Queen and Adam Lambert, as it should be. It is fun to work with rock and roll legends Brian May and Roger Taylor. And it’s fun to work with Adam Lambert who is very theatrical as well as a wonderful singer. Honestly, we didn’t know where he would stand on stage; that would be another surprise. He could have run directly down the runway where the girls were dancing, and we’re the ones who needed to watch out and let him perform. Brian May has a guitar solo, and he comes down the runway. We’re there to act as accessories to their performance.
But for us to flood the stage with 27 DCC for this one song is very exciting and an iconic Dallas moment because when fans from around the country, around the world, think of Dallas, that uniform comes in their head. And we brought that little bit of fun ‘surprise’ that they weren’t expecting.
The concertgoers were definitely able to recognize the DCC style which is always high-energy, pom pons, and a lot of power.
For our girls, this has been such a unique experience. I was in high school in the 1970s when Queen became one of the greatest bands in the world. I cheered for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s, but never performed to any songs by Queen or other rock & roll bands because we had a live Dallas Cowboys brass band led by Bill Lively which played traditional brass band music.
But now DCC gets to dance with Queen and it has been so exciting. I am happy for these girls to have this opportunity, and we’re grateful to Queen, Adam Lambert and their team for making this a special moment in DCC history.”
To see the official of the DCC’s performance with Queen + Adam Lambert, link to the band’s official You Tube page here: