It took talent and intensity just to make it past Saturday's first round of auditions for the 2009-'10 Mavericks Dancers squad, but for Sunday afternoon's finals, they'd have less than a minute to perform, competing with four other dancers for the judges' attention.
Even a great performance couldn't guarantee a spot on the team. The dancers' longtime director, Shella Sattler, said she wasn't looking for any number of rookies in particular -- she'd invite back as many women as she felt were deserving. With a number of returning dancers in the mix, Sattler strolled through the ranks in downtown's Elevation Fitness, calling out names and offering encouragement. Sattler said she's looking for three things in new talent: "physical beauty, dance ability and personality."
Danesha McGill was one of many who were hoping to make a return to the squad (she was a Mavs Dancer from 2003-2006), and when her turn came, she did seem to give a bigger performance than the first-timers beside her, looking more like she was playing to an arena of screaming fans than eight judges with notebooks.
As each group took a turn in front of the judges, the rest of the hopefuls looked on through glass doors, passing around mirrors and primping, following along with the routine, or sizing up the competition.
"Oh, yeah, she messed up," one whispered to the woman next to her.
"As long as you do it fast with a smile," the other dancer said, "they're never gonna know."