You wouldn't know it by watching her perform in the Meadowlands end zones and on the sidelines on Sundays, but New York Jets Flight Crew member Laura is just a rookie.
Even though the current C.W. Post business management major has been dancing ever since she was 2 years old, this Jets season marks her debut dancing for a professional team.
"This is my first year, so it's really exciting to me," Laura said prior to a Flight Crew practice at the Jets complex in October. "It's an indescribable feeling — the biggest rush of excitement and adrenaline that you could ever imagine."
Laura was hand-picked by Flight Crew choreographer Denise Garvey this summer. Garvey was Laura's former Kickline coach in high school, where she was a four-year member and senior captain of the squad that's best described as a mix of the Rockettes and cheerleaders.
Garvey, the former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, knew exactly what Laura had to offer and was thrilled to invite her former student to the tryouts this past June.
"Laura stood out because she had really good energy," Garvey said. "She was someone who really stuck out amongst a big team and was always somebody that was a crowd favorite because of her energy and enthusiasm."
Laura's road to Flight Crew stardom began with a three-part tryout in Hempstead, N.Y. Along with some 45 other performers, Laura's evaluation consisted of a dance routine, a flag run similar to the pregame ritual in the Meadowlands, and an interview. Needless to say, the native of nearby Wantagh aced all three.
"[Denise] picked 10 girls and we got a phonecall if we made it and an email if we didn't make it," she explained. "When I got the phonecall, I freaked out! I couldn't believe it was happening to me, it was so awesome. I'm really grateful for it."
"She really is a hard worker and comes to rehearsal ready to give 100 percent and it really shows," Garvey said. "She knows that her job involves going out and performing in front of 80,000 people and I think that every time she comes to rehearsal she comes with that mindset. She's really willing to work as hard as it takes to get the job done."
Aside from the thrill of dancing for tens of thousands of passionate Jets fans, Laura was eager to reunite with Garvey as well.
"I look up to her a lot. She's a beautiful woman inside and out," said Laura. "She always has good ideas and advice and she inspires me to do a lot of things. She's very positive in everything she says or does so she just creates a good environment."
Denise isn't the only one Laura can thank for all of her success in the business. Not only was it her mother who enrolled Laura into the dancing studio "Dance Workshop" at age 2, it was she who passed down the dancing genes.
"My mom was a dancer. She danced all her life and she inspired me to do it. She's really proud of me and wishes she could have done this, of course," Laura laughed.
The Flight Crew has opened up a whole new world for the Post undergrad. When not at class or performing for the college's dance team, Laura is practicing with the other nine girls and Garvey at the Jets indoor facility at Hofstra two nights a week.
One would imagine that so much work would cause a lot of stress, but Laura looks forward to the practices, saying that she and the rest of the crew members have a very strong bond that has developed into a unique friendship.
"I enjoy coming here. It's just an exciting part of the day to get away from school and to come here and do what I love to do," she said. "We get here early to go over the dances and goof around a bit, but when it comes to work, we work really hard and we sweat like crazy. Most of the time I go home sore.
"I didn't know any of the girls," she added, "but when I got to meet all of them, we bonded really well so it's pretty good that I have a bunch of new friends. We're all upbeat and have great personalities. There's a lot of laughter and joking around. It's so much fun."
The inaugural Crew's camaraderie sure shows up on game days. Their performances and "wow" factor have lived up to their preseason hype — in local and national blogs, newsfeeds, UTube clips and more — proving their hard work is paying off.
While Laura and the rest of the girls relish the Crew's popularity, their nerves are flowing every step of the way, although you may not be able to see it hiding behind their smiling faces.
"Hearing that screaming and roaring is surreal," Laura explained of her emotions on the FieldTurf stage. "I look around me and think how unbelievable it is. Having almost 80,000 people watching me and being on the Jumbotron and hearing those pyros go off, I can't believe I am doing it. It's incredible."