|Posted by Diana Hex on January 10, 2012 at 6:05 PM|
One particular day I heard of an audition being held for Professional cheerleaders and decided to go. I made this decision without telling anyone. I did not want to hear another discouraging comment that would dissuade me from going. I had already heard that there were no black cheerleaders because these organizations preferred white girls. I was confident enough; however, to know that with my training I had a gift and talent in dance! I woke up at 5 the morning of the audition and arrived at the Spectrum Athletic Club in Manhattan Beach at 7 for the audition at 8 on the basketball court. This is significant because at this stage in my life I was usually late to everything. I was ready to dance wearing my black leotard, black dance briefs and my soft pink sports top with my belly button taut and tight.
A few girls turned into hundreds of glamorous girls trying out. As more girls begin to arrive I grew more anxious, nervous, intimidated and excited all in one bundle. I embraced my shoulders with the warmth of my own arms, and I told myself, “You have a divine gift and talent that’s enhanced with pure passion, and no one can take that away from you!” As we entered the gymnasium the registrars sat at a long table where we submitted our pictures and resumes in exchange for our audition number. I was number 57 out of 500 dancers auditioning.
It’s now around 8:30am, and we were to dance for the judges. We began with an across the floor combination of walks, turns, and leaps. After everyone was given a chance to learn choreography; we went across the floor in small groups displaying our numbers and judged according to our execution. As the judges collaborated I could hear voice volumes increase as dancers expressed words with each other, some laughed, some complained, and some had vocal outbursts; as if they had Tourette’s syndrome. As the announcer grabbed the microphone and caught our attention, everyone became silent. I could almost hear the pounding heartbeats of some of the dancers in the fog of silence. The announcer called a series of numbers; mine included and said “Would you please stay” and thanked everyone else for coming. Girls cried and moaned as they gathered their baggage, nearly 100 girls were cut. The second phase was here. We learned a jazzy dance routine. The same format was followed, and another group of girls were cut. The third phase included a Hip Hop routine, yet again, the same process. Wow, I’m still standing and amazed; however, we still had over 100 girls. Our fourth phase this day included our own made up routines to a song they played, and we had less than a minute segment that should include our strengths, specialties, or tricks. It’s now after 4pm. And we had 30 minutes to work on our own choreography. I included a little Jazz, Hip Hop, leaps, falls and gymnastics. We all went individually. I remember moving, shaking, flipping, and jumping, and everyone screaming and cheering me on! I felt an amazing unbiased freedom. I was happy, excited, anxious and nervous. While the judges gathered, fellow dancers complimented my energy and routine. I felt overwhelming joy, and I knew that I was where I belonged. It’s now 6pm. The judges did not call numbers, instead the thanked us for coming and explained that the finalists would be called via the telephone, and those called would meet with the NBA directors and panel in a final interview and that we should dress model professional at the time. We left, exhausted and overjoyed, in our different directions.
The next two days were a fog of anticipation of the awaited phone call. I remember that I answered my cell phone on every ring. I even answered calls that I was trying to avoid just to be sure! Finally, I received a phone call from a young lady who said, “Hi, Diana; we are directed to call everyone whether you’ll proceed or not. I just want you to know that, I apologize for not calling you sooner, we would like you to proceed to the finals.” I screamed and shouted, and everyone on my end of the phone came over to make sure that I was ok! At our final interview we were taken in small groups of five or six and sat before a panel of managers, directors, sponsors, and others behind the Clipper organization. We were asked questions and interacted with each other. After we had our final interview we were thanked and informed that we would be called. I don’t know remember which anxiety was greater: the anticipation of the first phone call or waiting for the last call that would determine my fate. Finally they called me the following evening by 7:40pm. They congratulated me on being an Official NBA cheerleader for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Chills of excitement surged through my body. I considered the audition day from eight-ish to six-ish my 10 hours of fame. I called my family after the process was completed. My mother and sister screamed and shouted. My dance academy and mentors was very proud. Somehow, I remembered to call Joel Todd, and invited him to come to any NBA LA Clippers basketball game of his choice. I was recently rejected as a dancer by Joel Todd, a manager, who wanted to represent me as a model. He was an average height and sized man who was once an artist and noticed me at the Beverly Connection on my way to the Souplantation for lunch. Upon his interest in representing me, he had come to Dupree Dance Academy to watch me in a jazz level 3. After, no more than five minutes, at the time we were learning the routine. He walked out. When I’d finally spoke with him he told me to forget about dancing and to stick with modeling. He had explained that he was a former dancer and didn’t think that it was my strength. I was heartbroken. My heart has healed and I forgave the non-believers with my success.
Oh the journey to get to that one small but important moment has left a lasting impression on me. My career continued to flourish in dance through television, film and stage productions. I also delve into the fitness industry. I became a choreographer and fitness instructor. Some of my opportunities include choreography for Bally Total Fitness commercials, Crunch fitness Video’s, Ms. Fitness, third place titlist in 2003, Grand Openings, former P.E. teacher for West LA College and recently Ms. Fitness universe 2009, fourth place titlist. Today I’m a celebrity trainer, dance and fitness instructor in all fitness formats for The Sports Club LA and Beverly Hills, The Jonathan Club, Spectrum in Manhattan Beach (where I audition for the Clippers), Gold’s Gym in Venice, and Equinox. I’ve now arrived back at SMC to complete my degrees in Dance and Kinesiology to better serve my students and clientele. Amazingly over ten years after that amazing audition to become a Professional cheerleader, I recently auditioned for the new Zumba Video, as number 65 out of over 200, and am now in the current DVD and infomercials; it was on television today at 12:30pm on CNBC. In the same regard as my younger years I am super excited. Ten hours has influenced a lifetime of fame at heart.