The New York Jets Flight Crew has moved from the conclusion of its sixth season as an NFL cheerleading squad last month quickly and gracefully into the new year with the announcement that auditions for the 2013 Flight Crew will begin Saturday, April 13, at MetLife Stadium.
While this time of year always provides a sense of excitement, it also presents a level of uncertainty.
"The closer you get to it, I think the closer you realize you are to possibly losing it if you're not working hard," second-year veteran Donna Marie said.
The annual tryout features candidates attempting to make the squad for the first time as well as veterans aiming to keep their positions on the team.
"You have to stand out," Donna Marie said, "and you have to earn your spot back. For me, a big part of trying to earn my spot back is trying to improve on the dance and technique side."
The deadline for pre-registration is April 8, with walk-up registration taking place the morning of preliminary auditions on April 13.
Candidates who advance past the preliminary round move into the semifinals. If they reach the final round, they will have a 15-minute interview with Flight Crew director Denise Garvey and will perform a 90-second solo dance combination.
To prepare candidates for the audition process, the squad is offering seven prep classes. The tuneup sessions, which will all be held at the Atlantic Heath Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J., cover technique, style, stretching, choreography and beauty tips. Each class costs $30, and you can register for all seven classes for a discounted rate of $175. The first class is scheduled for March 14 at 7:30 p.m.
"I struggled a lot my first year," Donna Marie said. "To be honest, I didn't expect to make it to finals. I went to every prep class. That was a big part of getting ready for me and I think it's a big part of getting ready for girls who are new coming into it."
To try out for the Flight Crew, candidates:
■ Must be 18 years or older by April 13, 2013, and be a high school graduate or have a G.E.D.
■ Must have a reliable means of transportation and be willing to travel around the New York/New Jersey area.
■ Must be available to attend all rehearsals, home games and promotional appearances.
To register for auditions, suitors must fill out the online registration form and pay the non-refundable audition application processing fee, which is $25 for registration by March 8, $35 by April 8, and $40 for walk-up registration.
"I think it's worth taking a shot at," Donna Marie said. "Give it a try. You have nothing to lose. Go to a prep class. Watch the videos on YouTube to see what the dances are like. Go on the website, read the articles and the blogs, seeking an idea of what the girls are like.
"We're a really welcoming bunch. We love new people and we love to help. Trying it and not making it is better than not trying at all."