Nervous time for Rockettes

Claire Ford.
Claire Ford.

SCOTLAND’S professional cheerleading squad, the Scottish Rockettes, are holding tryouts in a few days - and that means nervous times ahead for the local girls in its ranks.

Tryouts are quite ruthless as squad manager Carole Anne Deaney is uncompromising about having the right girls in her team. “Everone has the same chance to join the squad, whether they’re a newcomer or if they’ve been with us for years,” she said. “We’ve had quite a bit of interest from girls in Cumbernauld who want to join the team as well.”

So what will Carole Anne and her panel of celebrity judges be looking for? “You have to be able to dance, but you also need to have a bubbly personality. Quiet cheerleaders just don’t work.

“You also have to look like a Rockette, we have an image which is quite glamourous so the girls have to take good care of themselves. The other thing you need is a lot of commitment, you will have to spend a lot of time training, travelling and performing.”

Any female dancer or gymnast aged 18-35 can show up for the tryouts, which will be held at DW Sports Fitness in the Glasgow Forge on June 5 at 12.30pm. Carole Anne stressed that a prior rejection is no reason to give up.

“We’ve had girls make the squad on their third attempt. If we turn someone down we’ll tell them what we’d like them to work on, and if someone comes back after a rejection it shows how much they want to be a part of the team.”

One forthcoming Rockettes performance is at the finals of Miss Scotland where one of their members, Cumbernauld’s Deone Robertson, will be excused dance duties as she is one of the contestants! Two other Rockettes - Claire Ford and Paula Winters - also hail from Cumbernauld.

The News and Chronicle caught up with 24-year-old Claire, from Abronhill, who started dancing aged four with local teacher Bernardette Sloan.

Clare said: “I was very nervous the first time I went to tryouts but I had to show what I could do. You’re given a piece of choreography which is completely new to everyone - it’s not something the Rockettes have done before so everyone has the same chance, and there’s usually a freestyle section so you can show your own particular skills.

“My first year was amazing, I got to perform at big football and rugby games in Murrayfield and Hampden, the Rocks basketball games in the Kelvin Hall, and travelled tyo Switzaerland, Sicily and Italy. That made the next tryouts an even bigger deal for me as I knew what I had to lose and it gets worse every year as I become more and more committed to the squad.”

And that level of commitment is huge. Claire estimates she spends 20 hours a week either training or performing with the team, on top of holding down a full time job teaching dance.

“It is hard work but I love it and the girls all become close friends,” she said.

Details on the tryouts at www.scottishrockettes.com/tryouts.