Dedicated to the HATRED of all things trOJan


The Black Dance Pants look great and seem to be the popular choice, but there is definitely something to be said for Shorts.

The heart-breaking process of selecting the next heart-breakers is not for the faint of heart

Pat Benatar.  The Rolling Stones.  Led Zeppelin.  They each sang a different song called (something very close to) “Heartbreaker.”  UCLA Spirit should have taken those three songs and played them in a continuous loop on Sunday, as about 50 girls who could just stop your heart on a dime — or break it by leaving you — performed in Pauley Pavilion.

The only problem is that there are not 50 slots on the UCLA Spirit Squad, so some horribly difficult decisons have to be made, and I promise you, some vulnerable hearts get broken.  And sure, I can sit here on my high horse (NOT Traveler) claiming injustice when my personal favorites don’t get recognized for their excellence, but I understand that there is much more to it than meets the eye.

For those of you who weren’t here last year, let me give some credit to the experts who handle this dilemma.  Executive Director of the UCLA Spirit Squad, Mollie V. (whom, admittedly, I consider a friend) has put together a Selection Committee consisting of Show Business, Beauty, and Dance Industry Professionals, former Cheerleaders and Dance Teamers, and has even in the Past had one of the Masterminds behind the Laker Girls.  These Judges often have tight UCLA ties, but are completely unbiased towards the individual girls.

They have a strict judging regimen, and they take it very seriously.  They even clear the first 8 rows above the judges, to insure their privacy.  The judges get to see all the girls, who wear id #’s, perform in groups of 3.  For the Dance Team, around 40 girls tried out.  First they came out as one entire group, in vivid, multicolored dance garb (almost all with Black Dance Pants), to “meet the Judges.”  They also did a few moments of dance in between Judges.  Then they left, and, in groups of three, re-entered one by one, each leading a quick cheer like an 8-clap.  Then each threesome would perform to a recording of the UCLA Fight Song.  Then they did the “The Rose Bowl” Routine, and finally, one last short Dance Routine.

After the 14 or so threesomes, there was a break while they tallied the scores, and then they brought out the 21 Finalists in a procession.  Then the girls left, and re-entered in threes, to repeat the exact same three-piece try-out.  Following those 7 threesomes, it was Interview time.  They cleared the public all the way to the upper level seats in Pauley, so we couldn’t really hear what was being said.  After each Interview, each applicant performed a brief little original dance, but I think it had to include “twirls,” because that was the element that I think I recognized as being in each girls’ piece.

If I remember correctly, in the Past, it took a few days before Final Results were known.  But apparently, the 21 Girls found out on Sunday Night — the Night of the actual Auditions — via the Official Cheer web site.  And as you can imagine, there were probably 10 girls who were understandably close to tears.  Despite their looks, these are NOT Professional High Fashion Supermodels who try out and get rejected for campaigns all the time — These are teens who might have had their hearts set on being a UCLA Cheerleader, ever since they donned the Blue and Gold Mini-cheer Uni at a Rose Bowl Tail Gate 13 years ago.  I believe that the Judges’ score cards will be made available to the girls, in terms of private discussion of them with Mollie, if they are interested in the details.  Hopefully, this meeting will help those who are determined to make it next year.

I received an e-mail from one of the applicants on Monday.  I am going to respect her privacy and not disclose her name or “number,” but the letter was so sweet, it would make your heart melt.  The letter corroborates what I said above about the intense emotion involved.  I look forward to one day photographing this gorgeous young lady, while she’s leading an 8-clap on the Rose Bowl sidelines, in that iconic Uniform, in front of 80,000 enthusiastic Bruin fans.  Then both of our dreams will have come true.

Here are 10 new photos from the Auditions.  And for any newcomers:  The photos enlarge when you click them, and they have pop-up captions when you mouse over them.  Enjoy these 10… and come back soon because there are at least 30 more that I will be posting over the next few days.

 That’s Mollie addressing the Dance Team hopefuls, but right then, she was experiencing a pregnant pause.

     Whoever recruited these applicants (Mollie, I guess) passed the test with Flying Colors.

One thing about the pants: They actually make it okay to show kick shots!

The old Sesame Street game does NOT apply here (because in THIS pic, they ALL “belong.”)

Erin, of course, is returning, so here is a Congrats-to-Erin shot.  [These Black Pants finally let me show you how limber these girls are]

The Gold Standard:  I’ve never specifically found mellow yellow extra “appealing,” but the two girls wearing golden tops on Sunday really took my breath away.

This is Kathryn, a brand new Dance Team Member, doing the David Lee Roth Panama move.

Oh.  My.  God.  Does it get any cuter than this?  Brand new Dance-Teamer Francesca is going to make this a season of Frantasy Football.

Here’s Francesca looking up, as things are certainly looking up for the Dance Team.

Now I know why Maya has such a great smile:  It’s because it is genuine.  I think she is very proud to be a Bruin.

That’s it for today.  I forgot to put “Last one for today” in that last caption, as Maya’s smile got me all ferklempt.  Stay tuned for about 30 more solo shots coming soon.

"HEART-BREAKERS, DREAM MAKERS, AND LOVE TAKERS" was published on May 4th, 2010 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Cheerleader Photos.


  1. SCopper wrote,

    Erin and #200 … maybe two new favorites could fill Brianna’s shoes. 😉

  2. Impgard wrote,

    I miss Brianna already!

  3. BL wrote,

    Did you cover the cheer auditions? Are you going to post pictures?

    [T-H’s Note: Okay, here’s the story: I WAS there for the Cheer Squad portion of the Auditons. And you know what? ONLT TEN GIRLS TRIED OUT (and eight made it). So, while I got about 800 photos of the Dance Team portion, I got only around 200 of the Cheer Squad. On top of that, the first half of the Cheer Squad section included girls on shoulders, holding their leg out. I can’t post those too often, or I get grief. Also, since the girls were shifting up and down, it was harder to get UN-blurry shots of them in darkly-lit Pauley. So I have SOME photos for you, but not as many as I had hoped. I will be including them as I go through them and edit them for posting.]

  4. JP wrote,

    I believe Elizabeth may be this batch’s future Hall of Famer.

    T-H, do you know why Rachel didn’t try out this year? And I know you didnt take pics of the retired members, but I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded to have posed for pics. They know how much they are beloved on this site.

    Thanks for all your insider info.

    [T-H’s Note: No, I don’t know why Rachel declined to return. As far as the departing legends, of course they would have obliged me, because they are such NICE people, but I didn’t know if they felt “camera-ready” out of their Uniforms, in street clothes, and not having expected to be photographed on this day. I didn’t want to put them on the spot, and also, I don’t want them to think of me as nothing more than a camera with a guy attached. I want to be more of a “friend” to them, who only takes their picture when THEY want me to.]

  5. BL wrote,

    Cheer Squad auditions are ** by invitation only ** after attending three mandatory clinics, therefore . . . less girls at the audition. That’s per their website. On audition day, cuts have already been made.

  6. Joseph Gallo wrote,

    Looks like you took a photo of my license plate frame ” Official Groupie UCLA Spirit Squad” and wrapped it around one of your photos of the dance team auditions! I am guessing that you must have parked in the same lot as me on Auditions day! Joseph Gallo

  7. Sparky wrote,

    No offense to SCooper but there isn’t a girl who could possibly fill Brianna’s shoes!!!! It would be tough to fill Katie & Elise’s shoes as well but it might be done. But Brianna???? No Way, No How!!! And T-H, please don’t worry about what Brianna, Katie & Elise think of you. They obviously like you because of the working relationship you have had with them over the years. For those of us who would give our left one’s just to meet and talk to them, and hopefully not embarress ourselves with all the drooling, we implore you to take the pictures when you get the chance. I can’t imagine they would mind. For that matter, why don’t you suggest a shoot with you and the three of them as kind of a “where are they now” kind of thing! And again, a DVD would surely be a big seller. I’d be first on the list!

  8. Cindy wrote,

    Great points! I will be checking back here often!

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