The road to becoming a Sea Gal

Posted Mar 9, 2012

Being a Sea Gal entails just showing up on game day and dancing, right? Hardly. And the arduous task of making the 2012 squad begins with a series of workshops this month.

There’s an old saying coaches use to describe an NFL season: It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The same could be said for becoming a Sea Gal. The members of the Seahawks dance team don’t just show up on game days and strut their stuff. Far from it.

Before the finals, there are auditions. And before the auditions, there are workshops. The marathon process is about to begin, again, as Sea Gals director Sherri Thompson oversees a process that will begin March 24 and conclude with the finals on May 6.

“You have to be serious about it and do all the necessary things to prepare,” said Sea Gal Laura, who has made the squad the past two years and is preparing to try out for a third time.

“I am really excited about auditions. It is nerve wracking being on the other side, now that I’ve been on the squad. Now, it’s not, ‘I hope I make it.’ Although obviously I hope I make it. But it’s more, ‘Oh my goodness, I would hate to miss out on what an amazing opportunity this is to be with such great women.’

“It’s so much more than just dancing on Sundays. Obviously, that’s my favorite part. But I feel I’ve really grown as a person being on the squad.”

As a returning member, Laura does not have to participate in the preliminary auditions – just the finals. But she is planning to take part in the workshops for the third consecutive year.

“In order to be confident throughout the audition process, if you can plan as much as you can that totally helps,” said Laura, 23, who is from Renton, went to Kentridge High School and now works as an executive assistant at a wealth management firm in Kirkland.

“Going to all the workshops and getting a feel for the style of dance that Sea Gal use is definitely something that will help through the audition process. And being able to come up with choreography on your own is really helpful, especially for the preliminary round of auditions.”

The Road to becoming at Sea Gal

Want to be a member of the 2012 Sea Gals? It’s a multi-stop destination:

Open Workshops: Saturday-Sunday, March 24-25, Gold’s Gym in Issaquah, 3-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 1, Gold’s Gym in Redmond, 3-4:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 15, Gold’s Gym in Issaquah, 3-4:30 p.m.

Intensive workshops: Saturday, March 31, VMAC, noon-3 p.m.; Saturday, April 7, VMAC, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Audiiton schedule(all at CenturyLink Event Center): Sunday, April 22, 11 a.m.; Sunday, April 29, 1 p.m.; Friday, May 4, 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, May 6, 5 p.m.

For additional details: click here

And speaking of marathon efforts, the first year Laura decided to try out for the squad she was a senior at Washington State University and completing her degree in psychology.

“I was planning all year to audition, so when the dates posted for auditioning I made the necessary plans to come over,” she said. “It was a lot of driving back and forth from Pullman. So if you ever need directions, I’m the girl.”

But it was extra work – and miles – that were well worth the effort.

“The more workshops they do, the better it is for them,” said Thompson, a former Sea Gal (1981-83) and choreographer (1984-86) who is now in his 26th year as the director.

Asked about the stress of the process, Laura offered, “I wouldn’t say it’s stressful, it’s just really exciting. In talking to people who play other sports and things like that, you just really have to commit and you really have to be passionate about what you’re doing.

“I’ve always been so passionate about dance and, having grown up in the Seattle area, I’ve always been passionate about the Seahawks. So if you have those two things, regardless of all of the other things that go into it, it almost makes it fun.”

If there’s an upside to all this effort put in by the participants, it’s that Thompson has a pretty good feel for who will be on the squad by the time the finals roll around. Or so it would seem.

“Yes I do, but there are always a handful of surprises – people that I thought for sure would make it, and then it just didn’t turn out in finals; and then all of a sudden there are those who bring it that night,” Thompson said.

“It always sets me back a little bit. I always walk away that finals night going, ‘Hmm. Thought I had it all figured out.”

But one thing rarely changes: To the hardest workers usually go spots on the 24-32 member squad.

“All that training works,” Thompson said. “But there are always surprises like that.”