2008 Flight Crew Audition
More than a month remains before the first audition day for the Jets' 2008 Flight Crew. But before the club hosts its open tryout at its Hempstead practice facility on May 17, director Denise Garvey is teaching aspiring team members routines to help them for tryouts. This past weekend, 100 young ladies participated in two prep classes held in New Jersey and on Long Island.
"We had a great turnout and we've seen a lot of talent over the course of the past couple of days," Garvey said Sunday following more than a two-hour session at Hofstra. "There were a lot of different types of girls and a lot of people were very enthusiastic about the Flight Crew."
Sixty potential hopefuls filled the Jets' bubble April 13. Anne-Marie, a business administration major at Farmingdale State, has always dreamed of dancing for a pro sports team.
"I was really excited last year when I heard they started the dance crew. But I knew it was a closed audition and I found out after the fact," she said. "I kept an eye open for this year and I went on the Web site, saw the information and knew that I definitely wanted to do the prep class to get myself familiar with their style and to be more prepared and confident."
As busy as she is talented, Ann-Marie has danced for 15 years and the actress has appeared in a number of commercials. She also owns a lingerie boutique in Bellmore with her mother.
"I think I did pretty well," she said of her initial performance in front of Garvey. "You're always a little nervous at first, but then you start to get comfortable, perform and not care so much."
The competition hasn't officially begun, yet it would seem natural for people to try to assess their chances. But each applicant will ultimately only be able to control her own performance.
"When you compete, a lot of it is team but there are also solos, doubles and trios," said Ingrid, a Medford, N.Y., native who prefers not to peer outwardly. "A lot of it is yourself and your personality on stage."
The format for the pair of prep classes was similar. Garvey led her students through a 30-minute stretch/ab workout before spending approximately 75 minutes on a dance routine. On Saturday, they rocked out to Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible." A day later, Timbaland's "The Way I Are" hit the loudspeakers.
"There were a lot of girls who picked up the choreography quite quickly and really showed their personalities through their dance and through their smiles," Garvey said. "There are some girls in the prep classes who are doing a fantastic job."
Garvey had a tight Flight Crew in 2007. Those original 10 members have a unique bond that will last a lifetime.
"I love the nine girls I danced with. As a team, we all had so much fun together and we were all really good friends," Ryann said. "I think it's great that they are building up the team and we'll have so many more girls on the field. It's all going to be new to us, but I think it's going to be fun having that many girls out there."
More than doubling their size, the Jets will move to a 22-person unit next season. Garvey had '07 crew members help her out over the weekend, sending Mandisa and Laura to New Jersey while Ryann and Gina were on hand at the Long Island prep.
"Everything in regards to selections and pairings was done with a purpose," Garvey said. "Each set of two is different in regards to their looks, their styles, their personalities and their ages. There always is a method to the madness.
"They are an excellent example to the girls auditioning: This is somebody who had what it takes to make the Flight Crew last year and this is somebody who did an excellent job throughout the season. So why not have those girls in front as an example, so they can look at a current Flight Crew member if they need a reference?"
A third and final prep class is scheduled for Wednesday at Chelsea Studios in New York City from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The Jets will again welcome walk-in registrations and Garvey knows she'll see some familiar faces in addition to the new ones.
"Some of these girls will be coming out again for the Wednesday class," she said. "The girls who came to the prep class were able get invaluable experience and get some tips. If I planned on auditioning for this team, I surely would want to come."