EL SEGUNDO, CA-The wait. The anticipation. The constant movement. The call for action. Nerves were quieted by stretching and warm-up exercises before the show actually begun. Those hoping to become part of the 2018-2019 Los Angeles Laker Girls dance and cheer team on Sunday, July 8, would be met with dance routines that would challenge their artistic experience.
For dancer Fabiolah, going out for the Laker Girls team was a matter of fulfilling a lifetime aspiration, one that has in part been fueled by her admiration for Abdul, she says.
“To be honest, I’m kind of filling out a bucket list,” Fabiolah said. “I’ve always admired Paula Abdul, and I’m fulfilling that as far as the dancing part. Hopefully, I’ll be following in her footsteps. That’s my passion.”
A former gymnast and currently a personal trainer with a dance background in hip hop, freestyle, tap, and jazz, that still wasn’t enough to ease the anxiety that Fabiolah came to the audition with. With this being the first tryout she’s ever had for a professional sports team, the Laker Girls audition raised the barometer of her stress level considerably, she said.
“I have never tried out. This would be my first time trying out,” said Fabiolah. “[I’m] Extremely nervous.”
Fabiolah was not the only dancer drenched in worrisome nerves. Troi is a veteran when it comes to these type of open dance calls. The Laker Girls tryout was her sixth such audition for an NBA team. She also tried out to make the dance and cheer teams of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks before eventually re-locating to the City of Angels. All that experience under her belt didn’t keep her from fretting about trying to nail a spot to become a Laker Girl.
“I’m excited. I’m super nervous,” Troi said. “This is my first time in Los Angeles. I’m really, really nervous. I’m hoping I get it.”
Knowledge of the process and what judges tend to look for was something that Troi hoped would play in her favor.
“First, it’s your looks,” Troi said. “Then it’s can you hit the tricks? Do you meet the qualifications as far as your body type? Can you articulate? Do you know how to work a crowd? Do you know how to represent? Are you a brand ambassador for the team? All of those criteria I’ve been working on to meet the criteria of a dance team.”
Zoe believes she fits the bill to be a Laker Girl with her bubbly enthusiasm and the boundless energy she brings to the table. A longtime dancer, Zoe said she wanted to expand her dance horizons by attending and participating in the Laker Girl audition.
“I’ve been trying to step outside of my dancing realm,” Zoe said. “I have a great personality, I’m super energetic. I love to dance. It’s something that I do. I bring a lot of personality to the world, and I think that I should share that with people.”
If she were to make the team, Zoe said it would be proof that the sports dance team stage would not be too big for her.
“It would mean that I do have what it takes, and that I am working hard for something,” Zoe said. “I’ve worked my buns off for this.”