The Miami Dolphins have one of the most well known cheerleading squads outside of the infamous Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Recently they announced their auditions for the coming season to be held on June 5th of this year at The Dolphins Training Facility. They have already held a separate audition in Orlando, for the first time.
You might be wondering why I am telling you all of this, or why I care at all about the subject. Well, if you don’t know, I am in the entertainment industry by day. I work for a theater company handling it’s business affairs and expansion in Central Florida. And I run a site for auditions, of many kinds, in Central Florida. I considered posting about the Miami Cheerleader auditions as an opportunity for those in my local area.
However, after a little research on the Dolphins Cheerleaders website, I opted not to do so because I could not honestly advise a single person to make the commitment to auditioning for them. Let alone work under those conditions. Allow me to explain.
According to the site, prospects are “strongly encouraged” to attend 3 days of audition prep, May 30th, June 1st & 2nd. ARE THEY KIDDING? Three days of preparation, with out any pay, in the middle of the week... It’s clear from the start, they only want people with full dedication and very little interfering schedules.
The audition itself is to last from 9:00am till 1pm, June 3. This seems like a fairly normal length of time for an audition in my educated opinion. Though the process that is explained seems tedious. Those auditioning have to go through three full rounds of cuts just that day, which seems like a lot of wasted time. But here comes the rub... IF they make it through the audition they still haven’t made the squad they are just “finalists”.
Finalists have to go through a day of interviews and then ANOTHER 3 days of rehearsals before they ever get to actual “final audition”. WHAT???? What a chaotic nightmare, especially if you do not live locally to the South Florida area.
And what is it all for exactly?
What Kind of Cheerleading Is This Anyway...
Here is the thing, I could almost understand the tediousness of the audition process if NFL Cheerleading resembled anything like what collegiate or even high school cheerleaders do on their squads. Seriously, have you ever seen a cheer competition? It’s like group gymnastics with an insane about of trust in your group members required. They lift each other up and flip people in the air to dizzying heights. I could see needing time to make sure you don’t have people injured at your audition.
NFL Cheerleading isn’t that though...It’s high impact dancing with pom pom’s in hand. That’s it! Not to diminish choreographed dancing, but in sheer comparison to the collegiate cheer squads: the risk, athletic ability, and know-how required in one far surpasses the other. I’ve seen professional dancer auditions. I’ve (with the help of a choreographer) presided over dancer auditions as a director. There is absolutely no reason to be putting these women through this ridiculous process. None.
What About the Compensation?
Does anyone remember in 2014 when Cheerleaders were filing lawsuits against their teams about not making minimum wage? Yeah, let’s think about that. There were a handful of teams in which this happened to and a new rule was put in place requiring minimum wage for rehearsal hours. At the beginning of this year the people over at TotalSporTek did an aggregate of cheerleader’s pay and came up with an interesting calculation. Not all cheerleaders are the same. Returning squad members get better pay hourly and game day stipends. Here’s a graphic to show how much a cheerleader can expect to make in the course of a season:
They can make more from official appearances and photoshoots like the Dolphins Cheerleader Calendar. Though, I think you can guess that the ones already making the most money are given the preferential treatment when it comes to this as well.
Is the Reward Worth the Commitment?
This is all without much mention of the draconian height/weight standards and rules squads place on their cheerleaders. Being in the entertainment industry, and a sports fan, I am used to people being held to high physical standards. That usually comes with compensation well beyond what is being afforded these women. Heck, mascots make more money, averaging 35k per year, than cheerleaders.
With all of this said, I am not advocating for eliminating cheerleaders. Or that people shouldn’t audition if they think it is something for them. I’m actually saying you need to pay them in conjunction with the time, restrictions, dedication and talent level of which they are expected to adhere.
In it’s current state, auditioning for the Miami Dolphins Cheerleader squad, or any other in the NFL, is not something I can in good conscious recommend to an aspiring performer.
PS. I managed to come to that conclusion without once condemning the revealing costumes or the objectification of women. You’re Welcome!