ARLINGTON -- The Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Party at Cowboys Stadium is an opportunity for fans of America's Team to get to experience the greatest sports venue in the world while having optimism about who the team will add. The day also represents the hopes and dreams of the ladies hoping to join the only hip-hop dance team in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers.
Prior to the finals auditions, All Access with DFW.com host Kristen Keith went behind the scenes with Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue director Jenny Durbin Smith, returning veteran Kara Robinson and hopefuls Danielle and Sammi. She also spoke with Masayo Harada, who traveled all the way from Osaka, Japan, to chase her dream of joining the DC R&B Dancers.
There were 31 ladies -- including eight returning from last year's squad -- on hand to not only audition for a spot on the team but serve as the featured entertainment for the thousands of Cowboys fans for the annual event in the East Plaza of the stadium. The audition process that officially began on April 13 at Valley Ranch -- it started much earlier for the ladies who attended the prep classes at the Centre for Dance in Dallas -- was now in its third and final round and the dreams of these ladies were in the hands of the judges that included Jenny Durbin Smith, Dallas Mavericks Dancers director Mallory Mills, Allen Americans Ice Angels director/choreographer Stephanie DiBiase-Wheat and a dozen others, including yours truly.
At stake for the ladies was the chance to perform at every Cowboys home game outside on the plaza beforehand and up in the Miller Lite Landing during the games as well as appearances on behalf of the organization. It is also hard work that includes three nights a week of practice from "7:30 until we feel confident the routine is at a performable level."
Retiring DC R&B Dancers Bambi DeLaRosa and Cecily Bolding took the stage to bid farewell to Cowboys fans and wish the new dancers their best. With the NFL Network coverage of the draft on the huge screens throughout the plaza as the backdrop, the ladies came out in six different groups to perform the choreographed dance they learned during the previous audition round at Valley Ranch. Between the ladies' trips to the stage, Cowboys players including Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and last year's top pick Morris Claiborne came out to visit with the legendary voice of the team Brad Sham.
As the sun began to set on a glorious spring day in DFW, the candidates who advanced to the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancer Training Camp were announced: Miranda, Bianca, Masayo, Brittany, Amy, Christen, Jessica T, Antonese, Kendra, Ani, Melody, Kara, Maya, Danielle, Stevee, Mateya, Jessica S, Angelise, Callie, Brittani, Arianna, and Sammi.
FOLLOW JAY BETSILL ON TWITTER @THEFAMOUSJAY