From the Founder 

 

I remember it like it was yesterday. 150 girls. All taller than me, all prettier than me, all dancing powerhouses. WHAT HAD I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?

 

Up until that day, I had thought of myself as a “big fish in a small pond”. I was captain of a highly competitive high school Pom team, I had danced at a studio for over a decade, and I had worked tirelessly to be the most talented dancer I could be. I was oozing with confidence. Well- oozing with confidence until I walked into the University of Arizona Pomline auditions April 17th 2009.

 

Why did girls have their hair down?

Why did girls have on so much more makeup than I did?

Why did girls have these elaborate rhinestoned matching outfits?

 

Did I miss the memo?

 

Here I was in a ponytail, everyday makeup, and a simple yellow tank top. I didn’t do much prep work for the auditions because like I mentioned above, big fish in a small pond. I had met with the captain and researched what technique was required online. I was ready; or so I thought…

 

I specifically remember first cuts. Across the basketball gym floor that seemed to be three miles long. I stood behind Sarah; 5’ 8 leggy blond from California with curled hair so perfectly teased it never moved. Her rhinestoned red top had so much sparkle I couldn’t look at it directly out of fear I would go blind.  Who had that much time to rhinestone? Where do you even buy that many rhinestones? She went across the floor and my mouth dropped. This was the girl that goes right before me? Seriously. This gazelle that does six pirouettes without any effort? What were they feeding these girls in California? Suddenly I realized…. I was no longer a big fish in a small pond-

 

I was a small fish in a HUGE pond!

 

“Turn it on Natalie” I told myself. “TURN. IT. ON. RIGHT. NOW.”

 

I took my hair out of my ponytail and became a new person. I danced harder and bigger than I have in my entire life. I mimicked every single thing the current team members did; I tried to be exactly like them. I danced in a way I have never danced before in my life. As cuts continued to happen, I managed to keep my head above water and push through. Finally, 150 turned into 18, and I was lucky enough to have made the team. But not without realizing one crucial thing-

 

College dance team tryouts were a whole new animal.

 

Even though I made the team, I wish so badly I had prepared for them better. But I didn’t know how. There were no tools to prep me.

 

Fast-forward four years, I became captain of the team and helped run auditions for the second year in a row.  After being behind the scenes for two years I understood what was going on and what the judges were looking for. It all made sense!

 

I started CDP for one reason- so dancers trying out for college teams could have an inside look at what was to come.

 

College dance teams are not about technique- they need dancers with the WHOLE PACKAGE. Looks, personality, technique, approachability, and intelligence.  Having been through the process, I feel the obligation to share the knowledge I have and save girls the minor heart attack I faced when I auditioned.

 

CDP is everything I wished existed when I auditioned, and I hope to provide the tools and information needed to make every dancer prepared for even the toughest audition.

 

After all, when preparation meets opportunity- anything is possible.

 

Natalie Chernow