FRISCO -- While it is already the hottest time of the year in DFW, the action really caught fire as the Dallas Stars Ice Girls auditions took place Saturday afternoon inside Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco. The day began before 10 a.m. as over 60 ladies were on hand with the dream of joining this year's squad under the leadership of first-year director Christina Swanson.
There are three ways to audition to be a Dallas Stars Ice Girl with options to be a skater, dancer or both. Auditioning as a dancer includes a freestyle portion with the candidates are placed into small groups to perform for the judges' panel. The girls have four 8-counts to make an impression and 'wow' the judges with hopes of advancing to the next round. Skater auditions are similar as they begin with a freestyle lap around the ice in which every girl has their chance to shine. The freestyle lap is followed up by several different skating drills.
The group of 45 rookie candidates who auditioned in the first round was so strong that the initial cut was minimal and 31 ladies advanced to the next round to be joined by the 17 returning veterans. While there is not a set number for the squad, it will likely be in the neighborhood of 20. As the second round got underway, the rookies began to understand that being an Ice Girl is much more than cleaning the ice during breaks in the action and dancing up on the platform; they are joining a family-type atmosphere of young women who truly want to see their teammates succeed.
"My first year to audition for the Ice Girls, I was so nervous," said three-year veteran Candace, when asked about her leadership role as one of the longest tenured ladies on the team. "While there are still some nerves, I know what the new girls are going through and definitely gave them a few tips for how to handle themselves on the ice to be able to catch the judges' attention."
The second round steps up the level for both the dancers and skaters. The dancers are taught a short routine and (to show their ability to adapt and pick up choreography) almost instantly perform the new combination for the judges. Skaters not only have to follow a particular pattern, but they have to use the exact snowplows used during the games at American Airlines Center. Of course, all of this must be done with style, grace and speed as the Ice Girls have to clean the ice surface during all three TV timeouts each period and have only two minutes each time they hit the ice.
"There are no words to explain how great of an experience the games are," said Mercedes, a veteran auditioning for her second season. "It's a ton of fun, but we are there to do a job. It is intense and our fans are so supportive. I never want to leave."
Following a long judges deliberation that was due to the high level of talent by all of the candidates, Christina Swanson emerged with the names of those who would advance to the two-week training camp to determine who makes this year's team. During training camp, the skaters will learn to dance and the dancers will learn to skate. The group will learn news skating drills and dance routines nightly and each candidate will have a private interview to formally introduce herself and show why they should be a part of one of the NHL's most popular franchises.
"While it is very different to be on the other side of the judging table, it is not any easier," said Swanson, herself an Ice Girl for two years before taking over the reigns this off-season. "You know that while you are making some dreams come true, others are being broken based on the decisions you make. One thing is the same though, it is still a fun and exciting day."
Swanson called the names of 14 veterans and 15 rookies to move on. The 29 finalists who advanced to training camp are Ashley, Cassie, Cheri, Jessica, Mercedes, Candace, Whitney, Jennifer, Emma, Lauren, DeAmber, Kendall C., Kieara, Rachel H., Katharina, Jade, Logan, Robbyn, Erica, Taryn, Stephanie, Rachel K., Chelsea, Shanelle, Melissa, Brieana, Kendall Q., Belinda and Tori.
The NHL season for the Dallas Stars kicks off in September when the team holds its training camp in downtown Fort Worth. The Dallas Stars Ice Girls season is now officially underway.
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