A: Oh my gosh, it was very intense this year. We started out with around 75 girls for the two-day auditions. Semi-finalists were chosen after the first day, and were invited back for a second round of auditions and interviews. After day two, 30 finalists were invited to compete in a two-week boot camp, which included practices, appearances, and performances. All of this led up to the Cavalier Girl Finalist live event which was held at Shooters in August. The 18 girls who made the team were announced in front of an audience after an appearance and a pageant-style swimsuit walk.
A: We went to the gym a lot, conditioned and stretched, and practiced our techniques. We ate right. Some of us danced a lot in front of mirrors, because that's really the only way you can progress, if you know what your body can do. The workshops that they offer are also huge. If you're a veteran Cavs Girl, there's a lot more pressure each year you audition. You really have to earn your spot back and show that you're better than the year before because you never know what kind of talent will walk through that door to compete for your place.
A: We're goofy. We are quirky. We like to have a good time and there's never a dull moment. We're together so much, we literally become like sisters.
A: "No. That's strictly against our contract. It's the same thing in any workplace, you want to stay professional. We're cordial with everyone in the arena, but at the end of the day we have a job to do, and they have a job to do. We just do our jobs," said Cavs Girl Elise.
A: There are no particular size requirements. They tell us to be our personal best, like the healthiest, most fit you can be. A lot of people think there are measurement requirements, but there's not at all. There are a ton of different shapes and sizes on the team. We practice three times a week, and we all work out on our own. We also have access to a trainer who helps us with meal plans and all that.
A: There's an equal number of vets and rookies this year. We're 9 and 9.
A: A lot of us come from different backgrounds. You have the girls who grew up doing dance competitions, then you have a of couple girls who were ballet dancers, and then we also have girls who were just cheerleaders and gymnasts. Because we're so diverse we have a team that can do a ton of different things, and our coach, Jami Taylor, does a really good job of taking advantage of that and highlighting everyone's strengths.
A: We practice three days a week for four hours a day. But we're known to go over those set practice times. Usually we just practice until we get it right.
A: Most of us work and/or go to school full time. One girl works full time at an accounting firm, another just finished up her degree for Pharmacy. We have Ohio State University grads, and some of us are pursuing degrees at the University of Akron, John Carroll, or Baldwin Wallace. Several of the other girls are nannies and another is an executive assistant to a CEO. We all do the Cavs Girls thing, but we also all do everything else.
A: This year we're 18-26, but there's no age limit. We actually have an 18-year-old this year. One of the girls just graduated from high school.
A: Yeah. Like every game. They'll try to ask for your number. "I had one fan- this is pretty memorable- that brought a sign that said Kellyn Will You Marry Me?" Cavs Girl Kellyn said. "They brought it three games in a row."
A: There are so many good things. The fan interactions are one of our favorites. We really feed off of the energy they give us in the stadium. "For me, there are two things," said Cavs Girl Tiffany. "Finally get to perform in front of everyone is one, because we've put so many hours of work into a 2 minute routine. And two, being a role model is one of the coolest things ever. To have a little kid come up to you and be like 'I wanna be like you one day,' makes everything worth it," she said.
A: Cavs Girl Kellyn said that her favorite part is bonding with her fans. "We get to perform for them, but it's also nice to have a conversation and get to know them a little bit. It's very rewarding to put a smile on their face. They really enjoy meeting you and it makes it personal. You get to form a bond with your fans," she said.
A: People usually focus on what they see on the outside. At the game, they see this done-up, doll-like image. But we're just quirky, goofy girls like everyone else.
A: You have to make sure you're always growing as a dancer. You can never get comfortable and stop improving.
A: You also have to learn about time management. Fitting everything into your schedule in addition to jobs and school is difficult. You really have to learn how to prioritize. "It's a struggle at first, but once you get it down, it's a skill you'll take with you forever," said Cavs Girl Tiffany.
A: "There are a lot of knee injuries. ACL and meniscus tears, lots and lots of knee injuries," said Cavs Girl Shannon. "I also shoved a disk into my spine once," said Cavs Girl Kellyn.
A: Yes, we're with each other a lot. We'll go get food after practice, or go shopping. We also use each other as resources to help improve our dance techniques. Each person has a unique strength that they bring to the team, so we can all learn from each other. But we're also all really busy, so we don't hang out outside of practice as much as we'd like.
A: We do everything. Some of us take yoga classes, or do Cross Fit, or bicycle. Others take additional dance classes outside of rehearsal. Our practices really keep us in shape though.
A: You want to be as well rounded as possible. Be yourself. Stay true to who you are. If you enjoy what you're doing, it shows through. Just to go for it. Some of us didn't make the team the first time. Just keep trying. Don't be afraid. You just have to have the heart for it. If you're willing to put in the work, it'll all pay off.