Mariah Gets ‘The Call’

As my ringtone played, answering my phone following my interview with the head coordinator of the Raptors Dance Pak, was the make it or break it moment I had been anticipating.

Once “Congratulations, you have made the Raptors Dance Pak” was said,  the jumping up and down in the middle of the grocery store (yeah…pretty spunky!) began. I knew the hard work and HUNGER for the spot would pay off.

How did this all go down? Well…let’s rewind far back, shall we?

So basically it all started when I was eight years old learning and watching Bring It On religiously. I mean, it was only a matter of time before my mother enlisted me in dance, I had learned every routine and the essence of sass by this point!

Eventually I was lucky enough to attend a Raptors game (GO RAPTORS!) at the age of 15 and couldn’t take my eyes off the dancers. They really get the crowd going and had me urging to join them! I finally decided that once I was 18 nothing would stop me from auditioning! I couldn’t resist the cute outfits, the smiles, and the overall crowd pleasers that these girls were! Yup, my mind was made up.

Let’s fast forward to July 14th 2012, ya? That Saturday morning my alarm clock — actually its 2012, no one has an alarm clock — my phone blasted “Marry The Night” by Lady Gaga and at 7:00 am I was up! I had snacks for days (literally), a big breakfast, a great fruit smoothie and a smile to get the happiness going!

Arriving at the ACC girls filled the hallways, stretching, exercising & in the zone moving to the music playing in their headphones. Eventually we all got our numbers and awaited our turn to go into the gym where our 2012 captain Ashley would teach us some sassy, hair whipping choreography! The turnout was incredible, over 180 girls danced their hearts out for a spot on the team and after an almost seven-hour long audition, the remaining girls would attend an interview two days later!

(We can fast forward to the phone call now, whew!)

Hearing that I landed a spot on the team was the most fulfilling and rewarding feeling one could experience! All that hard work, watching past Raptors Dance Pak YouTube videos, following their blogs & tweets made it feel that much more real!

So for those reading this, the new 2012 Raptors Dance Pak team is ready for the season! Filled with enthusiasm and excitement we are ready for the world, hair whipping, snaps and winks all to cheer for our team! GO RAPTORS!

Just a reminder nine girls are competing for the last spot on the Dance Pak! Vote for a chance to WIN amazing prizes & help your favourite make it!

Until next time Raptor Fans! *snaps*

Your girl, Mariah!

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More Shots From China

Check out these latest photos of the Raptors Dance Pak’s adventures in China. Be sure to check out all the photos from their trip in their latest photo gallery.

Hanging out with the Thunder Girls…

Sharing a few moves with the Thunder Girls…

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Latest Photos From China…

The Raptors Dance Pak continue their adventures on a tour of China. Check out a photo gallery featuring highlights of the trip by clicking on the image below!

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Dancing In The Streets Of China…

The dancing has already started for the Raptors Dance Pak on their trip to China…

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Teeing Off For Charity

RDP members Colleen and Bo recently headed to Emerald Hills Golf Club for the annual PlayStation Charity Golf Tournament. Check out some highlights from their visit:

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Ladies On The Rise

For two weeks this summer, I had the pleasure of teaching and sharing my love for dance with the girls from the ‘Ladies on the Rise’ summer program. The Raptors Dance Pak has been working with the program for two summers now to empower and energize these ladies in positive ways through dance and through a variety of different activities. Members of the Pak teach the girls new routines every week in which they will perform in their end of the summer show in mid-August.

When I came in to teach these ladies for my two weeks, they blew me away with their talent and their passion for dance. Here’s a video of the girls sharing their thoughts about the way dance makes them feel.

Ladies if you’re reading this…  good luck at your show and thank you for an incredible two weeks of dancing and fun times! I had an amazing time and it was truly an honour to be able to share my passion with you ladies. You all are extremely talented and I wish you the best of luck with everything you do!

- Ashley :)

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First Rehearsal…

Ashley and Jay welcome you to the RDP’s first rehearsal of the 2012-13 season!

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Audition Tips From An RDP Insider

The RDP pre-audition workshop is a little different from the actual audition. Ashley has tips on how to improve your chances to make the cut!

I’ve recently noticed on Twitter and Facebook the heightened interest for the 2012/2013 Toronto Raptors Dance Pak auditions.

“What should I expect? How should I prepare? What are the judges really looking for?” As I’m reading these tweets, I begin to feel the butterflies creeping up as I realize that the auditions are only three weeks away!

Even though I’ve been on the team for three seasons already, the excitement and the nerves of auditioning in front of a panel of judges still gives me a tiny little bit of stage fright. For all of you surprised to hear this news… yes, even seasoned RDP members still have to audition for one of the 14-16 spots on Canada’s only NBA Dance Team. The pressure’s on!

So to help prepare myself, as well as all future RDP potentials, below is a list of things to do and to think about in the upcoming weeks before these auditions.

For more tips and advice, past members of the Dance Pak are using #RDPauditionadvice on twitter to share some RDP insight as the big day approaches.

You can also follow @RaptorsDancePak on Twitter or check out our Facebook page.

Good luck! Have fun, and I’ll see you soon!

- Ash (@AshleyConstance)

Take Dance Classes: If you’ve been out of practice, taking drop-in classes can help prepare your mind to be able to pick up choreography. As an RDP member, we’re required to learn around 20 routines a season, so the judges want to know that you are not only able to quickly learn a routine, but that you are also able to perform it with confidence and charisma. It would be unfortunate for a great talent to get cut simply because they’re a little rusty.

Train your Body: Eat healthy, drink lots of water, hit the gym, and get enough sleep. Don’t hurt your chances because you’ve been eating unhealthy and barely getting much sleep the week before. The auditions are physically and mentally demanding and can take all day!

Stick to the Dress Code: Two-piece outfit with mid-area, arms, and legs exposed. No baggy cover-ups. The judges want to be able to see the way you move, your lines, and your technique. Don’t eliminate yourself because you couldn’t leave your lucky sweats at home.

Hair and Make-up: The judges want to see dancers in full performance hair and make-up to truly envision you on-court as an RDP member. That said, make sure you’re comfortable dancing with the way you style your hair. I can guarantee you there will be a hair flick in the choreography so you want to be able to let go and dance without worrying about a curl being out of place. Also, for those of you with long hair, I suggest you go for the lipstick over the lip gloss. Trust me, you don’t want to be mid-performance with hair glued to your lips.

Warm-Up. Really… Warm-Up! We’ve all seen and done it before. The ten second warm-up. While you’re entering the ACC, you do a quick neck stretch. Then a deep plié in second while talking to your girlfriend you came with. Then finally, maybe a quick straddle stretch as you wait for the audition to begin. Ladies… that is not a warm-up. Make sure your muscles are really ready to be dancing all day. You don’t want to injure yourself. The judges will ask you to perform the routine over and over again until they can fully evaluate all the dancers’ abilities. This means that your muscles and joints will be enduring a lot of physical stress so you’ll want your body to be ready to handle it. I learned the hard way my first year and ended up having to ice my neck for the entire following week!

Bring Water and Snacks: It can be a very long day, so make sure you keep hydrated and energized. The judges are looking for girls who can endure the long process, so don’t let them know you’re tired!

Bring your A-Game: Give it your all and don’t hold back! Make sure you perform and show the judges your style and personality. Even if you make a mistake in the choreography, keep dancing and smiling, because if you exude a confidence and stage-presence, no one will even notice! The judges are looking for the whole package, so be prepared to lay it out on the dancefloor!

Relax and Have Fun! During the audition, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or nervous, take a deep breath and relax. Have fun with the choreography and let your passion for dance and your personality take over your body, not your nerves. If you’re enjoying your dancing, the judges will too! No stress! Good luck!

 

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From Our Friends With The Canadian Forces

The following note was sent to Dance Pak member Char after Canadian Forces Night on March 21st.

“This picture is being framed and hung up in our Armouries in Niagara. If it makes it a bit more interesting the beret you and your friend on the far right wore were both in Afghanistan in 2010. Myself and my buddy on the far right (Tom) are both Infantry and were overseas as part of whats known as the “Battle Group”. The inscription on the cap badge on the beret means “Not for ourselves, but for our country”. If you have any questions at all feel free to Email me or get a hold of me on Facebook.

Thank you again,

Sincerely James Hudson”

 

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Great Pics From Canadian Forces Night

 

Clink the photo below to check out the Raptors Dance Pak in action on Canadian Forces Night.

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