Deanna Wood is in her rookie season as 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.
Deanna was kind enough to join me for a few moments to discuss her her first regular season game with the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers that culminated with DCRB Director Jenny Durbin Smith presenting her with the coveted ALBM Award.
JAY: You went directly from a college dance team to the DCRB. What's the difference in the 2 game days from your perspective
DEANNA:I loved being a North Texas Dancer at UNT and grew so much as a dancer in my time there. The Dallas Cowboys Organization, though, is like no other. It is the most valuable sports team in the world with some of the most loyal and energetic fans. DCRB is also different because it is the only professional hip hop dance team in the NFL. Dancing in college was fun, but The Dallas Cowboys are on another level. It is hard to describe what it feels like to dance in front of thousands of fans at AT&T Stadium. I am so blessed and honored to be a part of such a world-class organization.
JAY:What was it about the DCRB that made you want to be a part of this team?
DEANNA:I was raised in a family of die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans so I have always dreamed of working for the organization in some way. At first, I was interested in DCRB because of their style of dance. I have danced since I was two years old but hip hop has always been my favorite. I feel like you can have the most fun with this style of dance and really pump up your audience.
After making it into DCRB Training Camp, though, I got to know all of the other dancers and realized that this is so much more than a dance team. When you are on this team, you truly feel like you are dancing next to your brothers and sisters. I have developed so many friendships that I know will last a lifetime and have* *grown as a dancer just in the short amount of time I have had on the team.
JAY:Describe your emotions on the ride in and as you approached the stadium.
DEANNA:Honestly, the bus ride to the stadium is one of my favorite parts about game day! You can feel the energy and excitement right when you get on. We play music, dance, sing, and really just get each other pumped up for our performances and the game. When we reached the stadium and our bus began to go down into the tunnel, it was a feeling that I will never forget. In all of the excitement of practicing, getting ready, and the fun bus ride, entering the tunnel was a moment of overwhelming humility. It made me think back to the first day of tryouts when I arrived at Valley Ranch and saw a huge line of eager dancers waiting outside. It made me think back to our final audition during the Draft Day Party when we were all fighting for our spots in training camp. At that moment, I truly realized how blessed I was to be on that bus. I realized that all of our hard work, late night practices, blood, sweat, and tears was all worth it!
JAY: What was it like being up on the stage and getting to perform for thousands of Cowboys fans?
DEANNA:Being up on that stage performing is so surreal and a feeling like no other! It was 100 degrees, my body was exhausted, but I could have literally danced on that stage all day! The Dallas Cowboys definitely have the most dedicated and energetic fans in the NFL and it the most exciting feeling in the world to dance in front of them.
JAY:You were awarded the ALBM at the end of the game. How rewarding was it to hear your name called and what does it mean to you?
DEANNA:Receiving this award was very similar to the feeling of being on the bus and driving into the tunnel for the first time; extremely humbling. It is such an honor for me to be a part of this amazing team and get to dance next to some of the best dancers in the NFL, so this award was just icing on top of the cake. Every single one of the dancers on this team are hard working and dedicated, so when Jenny recognized me specifically, it was very special and something that I will never forget. As cliché as it sounds, this award really does mean the world to me.
JAY:Now that you have the first game done, what are you looking forward to as the season progresses?
DEANNA:We still have a lot to work on as a team and a lot of tricks up our sleeve, so I am excited to see what* *the rest of the season has to offer. I am really looking forward to continuing to grow not only as a dancer and performer but also as a person. I am truly honored to be a member of the only professional hip hop team in the NFL... it is going to be a great season!
Fans can follow the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers on Twitter and Instagram @DCRhythmBlue