FRISCO -- The Dallas Stars returned to the Stanley Cup playoffs last season following five years of no postseasons for the 1999 Stanley Cup champions. While the Stars eventually fell to the top-seeded Anaheim Ducks in the quarterfinals round of the Western Conference playoffs, they brought the familiar energy back to North Texas that made Stars games the hottest ticket in DFW in the late 90s and into the early 2000s.
The Dallas Stars Ice Girls also enjoyed a renaissance under director Christina Swanson in her first year at the helm. The Ice Girls had over 100 ladies on hand for their auditions at Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco on Saturday, nearly double the amount of ladies who tried out last summer.
Since there are multiple ways to audition for the Ice Girls -- dancer, skater or both -- the day is split into a first round of skating and dancing. The skating took place on the arena's practice ice rink while the dance portion was on an elevated stage inside the arena. Those who opted to skate did freestyle as well as skating drills while those dancing learned choreography and then performed for the seven judges that included Swanson and other Ice Girls personnel.
"I have a strong cheerleading, gymnastics and ballet background," said rookie candidate Courtney C. "Since I can pull on my gracefulness from ballet into skating and my sharpness from cheerleading into the dance, I am hopeful that it will be the winning combination for this audition."
Following the first round of judges deliberations and an initial cut, the returning veterans arrived for the semi-final round. The semi-finals followed the same format of skating and dance, only this time the arena's overhead lights were lowered with only the direct lights shining on the stage. This gave it the effect of what the performance will look like during Stars home games at American Airlines Center.
"I feel more confident going into my third audition process because I know what to expect," said Melissa, auditioning for what would be her third season with the Stars. "That being said, it may actually be more nerve racking because now I know what is at stake and how amazing it is to be a Dallas Stars Ice Girl."
The deliberation following the semi-final round ran about an hour longer than originally planned due to the extremely high level of talent demonstrated by the candidates. For those who would advance there is a week-long final round followed by a week of training camp after which the final team will be announced.
Swanson returned with the names of 32 ladies (12 veterans and 20 rookies) who would be advancing to the final round. The veterans are Stephanie, Jade, Rachel, Cheri, Jessica, Melissa, Ashley, Cassie, Belinda, Kendall, Lauren and Emma. The rookie candidates are Katie, Taylor, Olivia, Brooke, Brittany, Shelby, Kelsey, Callie, Alex, Julia, Courtney J., Taryn, Whitney, Madison, Christen, Courtni W., Nicole, Amanda, Mariyah and Courtney C.
"I'm so blessed and honored to be going into my second season as the Dallas Stars Ice Girls director," Swanson said. "I know this is going to be an exciting year and the excitement started on Saturday with the announcement of my new assistant director, Kamwin Dietz, and taking 32 very talented young ladies to finals."
For further information and updates on the Dallas Stars Ice Girls, visit DallasStars.com.
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