DALLAS -- In what felt like mere hours after the conclusion of the Dallas Mavericks Dancers preliminary auditions, the 53 ladies who had survived the first day returned to the Hilton Anatole for the final auditions. The big difference was the 14 returning veterans, who were also on hand to compete for one of the spots in the upcoming training camp that will decide who makes this year's team.
After the first day's overflowing parking lots and anxious families packing the hotel's lobby in anticipation of how the ladies fared, Sunday was much more quiet and focused and carried a different level of intensity. For the women who were chasing their dream of dancing in the NBA, there was an added level of excitement as they were one big step closer to their goal. The returning veterans had a certain level of anxiety as they are well of aware of what is at stake, and what they have to lose.
"Being a Dallas Mavericks Dancer is such a great experience," said veteran Kathryn, auditioning for what would be her second season for the 2011 NBA champions. "Not only do you get to perform on the court in front of 20,000 Mavs fans at American Airlines Center, but I have made some great friendships that will last forever. This is a very important day for me."
The format for the day also changes. As opposed to three different rounds spread over six hours and multiple cuts, the final round featured the ladies in groups of four performing the choreography that they had learned the previous day for the judges' panel. They performed the routine one time, introduced themselves to the judges, and their work for the day was completed.
While the judges deliberated on who would be advancing to training camp, the hopefuls were across the hall in a different ballroom attempting to not let their nerves get the better of them as they waited out the final announcement. Some took pics with their phones, others answered social media, and a few even walked around the grounds of the massive hotel as they hoped to hear their number called.
Once the decisions had been reached, fifth-year Mavs Dancers director Mallory Mills called the ladies together and announced the 37 who would be moving on to the four-day training camp taking place at Elevation Fitness. There is not a set number of women who will make the team, and with eight veterans not returning from last year's squad, the competition will be wide open among this talented group.
"This year's auditions were great," Mills said. "The highlight for me was how many great performers we had this year. As judges, we had some very difficult decisions and I am looking forward to training camp."
The 37 remaining ladies received instructions on how the upcoming week would unfold, including signing up for personal interviews with Mavs team personnel and fitness assessments conducted by Mavs Dancers trainer Sharif Abboud.
"I cannot be more honored to be invited to training camp," said Vivian, auditioning for what would be her rookie season. "The opportunity to be on the court performing at a Mavs game would be a dream come true."
The Mavs Dancers training camp is Monday-Thursday, with Mills handing out envelopes at the conclusion of Thursday night's session with instructions to not open them until they have left the premises so as to not have someone celebrate in front of another who has witnessed their dream come to an end.
For further information on the Mavs Dancers, visit mavs.com.
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