Wizard Girls Open Tryouts Recap
On July 30th, the Wizards brand new practice court was transformed into the stage for 170 girls to try out for the Wizard Girls dance team. The talent of the girls trying out was at the highest level it has ever been and this did not go unnoticed amongst the girls. One aspiring Wizard Girl commented ““There’s a lot of girls here, everyone looks really nice and really great so it’ll be interesting to see who makes the team” and another added “I think all the ladies are gorgeous, I mean DC always represents so I believe that anybody that has the opportunity to make the team is gonna represent very well for us.” Judges for the event included Wizard’s brass, choreographers and guest judges that were made up of fans who won the opportunity through being a contest winner from the Wizard’s web site, radio shows like Elliot in the Morning and Wizard’s season ticket holders. There was no doubt that each girl who arrived wanted a spot on the team badly. One contender summed it up by saying, “The Washington Wizards are my home, it’s my home team, I’m so excited to try out for this team because it has my heart.”
The day started with all the girls signing in and getting assigned their number and some warm ups to the Wizard Girl’s Anthem. The first round of the try outs were some more basic choreography. Guest judge Anthony let us know what they were looking for during the first round. “I think we’re gonna see if they pick up the routines, you know, attractiveness, see what type of flavors each of these ladies are bringing. I’m impressed at how easy they are making it look and there are some talented ladies out there so I’m very excited.” After all the girls had danced for the judges we had our first round of cuts. As the day got longer the dancing got more intense and the quality of the dancing definitely rose as the talent pool was whittled down.
The second round of the try out featured much more intense choreography and with it came increased jitters. One competitor commented, “It’s difficult to remember everything and then when you get out there it’s definitely nerve racking to be in front of the judges.” Derek Woodfield was the choreographer and dance leader for the try outs. In the second round Derek started looking for more dance skill. “The first round was more about personality and looks, this round is a little more difficult, there are a couple more technical elements in it so we’re really looking to see who the strong dancers are…and who also can shine and keep the energy and the stamina up.” The end of the second round came with another round of cuts as the once packed practice court looked empty and the tension definitely rose to a new level.
The third round took the girls off the dance floor and into an interview setting. Questions ranged from the girl’s backgrounds to what they do for a living to how they see themselves fitting in on the squad. When each girl had been sufficiently interviewed it was time for the selection process, which produced some arguments but ultimately a conclusion as to who would make up the 20 person roster. Senior Director of Game Operations Danny Zollars told us “(You have to have) a fantastic ability to dance, it’s a high level of dance that we are looking for but you also have to have the right look, we’re looking for girls who are in shape and able to come out and dance 41 games a year.” As the roster was announced one by one there was certainly a lot of excitement but also a fair share of disappointment as girls found out they had come so far only to end up being cut at the wire. Derek Woodfield offered his encouragement and advice to those who came so close only to be turned away. “You know sometimes the girls will let their nerves get in the way, you know they’ll be good dancers but they end up bombing so hopefully they get a good control over their nerves…If you’re a good dancer just show us that and you’ll do just fine.”