Dancers chase their dreams at Charger Girls auditions

Former Laker Girl Tiffany Daniels makes a big impression with judges during the first round of auditions at the Charger Girls tryout at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

LOS ANGELES-Former Laker Girl Tiffany Daniels didn’t really know what to expect when she set herself on a path to make one last push to be part of another professional sports franchise cheer, dance and entertainment team.

That itch she got came in the form of the Los Angeles Chargers moving uptown to be in the mix with the Dodgers, Clippers, Lakers, Anaheim Duck and Los Angeles Kings.

With that being said, plus the fact that one of her friends went out and made the cheer and dance team for the Los Angeles Rams, Daniels thought it would be just natural for her to stroll down to UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion to try to strut her stuff at the Charger Girls auditions on Saturday May 6.

Kristin Francy trying to make a statement with the judges at the Charger Girls tryout. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

The preliminary tryouts saw hundreds of women come early and compete all day to advance to the finals, which took place at the Novo in downtown Los Angeles a week later. Daniels made the cut of 65 that auditioned again on Thursday, May 11, for the chance to be part of the final 28-member Charger Girls squad.

A San Diego native, Daniels said the fire was lit under her to try out for the team when she discovered the Chargers were moving.

Brittany Thompson gets her swerve on at the 2017 Charger Girls audition on Saturday, May 6, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman

“I had an experience as a Laker Girl in the NBA. I’ve never done the NFL, so I thought that was really exciting and intriguing to me,” Daniels said. “I’m originally from San Diego, which is my hometown. L.A. is like my first love, so the fact that the two of them are married now…just kind of opened up an opportunity for me I feel, and just kind of ignited something in me I didn’t know was there.  So I’m here, going for it.”

For the Chargers, everything is new. The Chargers are going through a myriad of new changes.  The team has relocated from San Diego. They’ve brought in a  new coach. New additions to the squad showed up in the form of rookie mini-camp. But the football field isn’t the only place where revamping is taking place.

Charger Girls Audition

The Charger Girls annual tryout introduces the team’s new entertainment faces to fans. The first round of the auditioning process took place on the campus of UCLA in Pauley Pavilion, where hundreds of women, from all over Southern California and beyond, tried to master the dance routines they performed in front of judges, including renowned radio host Kurt (Big Boy) Alexander.

For some, this was their first time going out for a gig like being part of the entertainment crew associated with a professional sports team. For others, like insurance and financial agent Kristin Francy, going through the drills of the audition, is almost like old hat. The 2017 Charger Girls auditions was Francy’s ninth time trying out to make the team.

“I’ve been coming out to these tryouts now for nine years,” Francy said. “I’m basically a professional auditioner.”

Several hundred women came out to the Charger Girls tryout at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, May, 6, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

Francy lives and works in San Diego. While she hadn’t been able to make the Chargers Girls squad in previous attempts, Francy said she has gotten better every year and feels like this could be her time now that the franchise has moved.

“I want to be on the first-ever Los Angeles Chargers squad,” Francy said. “I’m one of the few, apparently, willing to make the trek up here. I’ve definitely progressed over the years in understanding; one that you can be an absolutely incredible dancer and just not be the right fit for what they’re looking for that year. So that was an understanding that it took me a couple of years to come to. I’ve grown a lot through the process, and understanding different ways to approach things and really not taking things as personal because when you’re a competitive person, or you’ve been a competitive person your whole life, it’s a devastating blow in the beginning…They really want you to do the best you can when you come to these.”

Francy wasn’t the only Charger Girls audition participant who’ve hit the cheer and dance circuit. Brittany Thompson has made the auditioning rounds as well in recent years, going from trying to land a spot with the LA Clippers Spirit team to vying for a place on the Rams cheerleading squad.

The 2016 Charger Girls dance team members participated in the audition process. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

The human resource representative for a web hosting company said she couldn’t resist coming out to see if she could dance her way to becoming a member of the Charger Girls.

“I wanted something that I could really do what I love,” Thompson said. “I love performing. I love dancing, and it’s in LA now. I would love to be part of a team and really experience a sisterhood. So that’s why I was like it was my time to just go out and try for it.”        

Her zeal to perform has been years in the making, including a stint working for a commercial theme park. Thompson said she’s just trying to keep her performance train moving to the next phase.   

The preliminary audition to make the Charger Girls team took place on Saturday, May, 6, 2017. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline.com

“I’ve been performing forever,” Thompson said. “I’ve worked at Disney for years. It’s in me. I’m just trying to find the next outlet so that I can kind of open a new chapter and experience that.” 

Unlike Daniels, Francy or Thompson, this tryout period was the first time that Tess Moore has ever tried out for a professional sports team. It was a big deal for Moore, who had to balance trying to make the finals cut before having to jettison off to Texas to pick up her master’s degree from Baylor University in sports management.

“I’ve been admiring the Charger Girls since I was a little girl,” Moore said. “Finally, the time is right for me to come out and audition and trying to make the squad. I love their passion about service, and their professionalism that’s not exactly present in every team that I’ve seen and done research on. They are a classy group of women.”   

Dennis J. Freeman
About Dennis J. Freeman 1084 Articles
Dennis covers the NFL (San Diego Chargers), NBA (Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers), Major League Baseball (Los Angeles Dodgers) and NCAA sports (USC, UCLA, Long Beach State). As a professional journalist, Dennis has also covered and written on topics such as civil rights, politics and social justice. Dennis is a graduate of Howard University.

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