Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 18 News List

Miami Dolphins looking for cheerleaders in Brazil


Dancers compete in cheerleader auditions for the Miami Dolphins in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday last week.

Photo: AP

Leaving one of the poorest cities in Brazil at 5am, 20-year-old student Luciane Lima traveled from Sao Goncalo to a Copacabana hotel two hours away to join 300 women at an unusual audition in the land of soccer: cheerleader for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins started auditions last week and are targeting soccer-crazy nations, such as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. Although few of the Brazilian candidates know much about the sport, they found out about the trials via social media and flocked to the tryouts.

In exchange for injecting a touch of samba into the Dolphins’ cheerleading team, they hope to start new lives in the US.

Lima was raised without her parents and said dancing saved her life. She is among many coming from poor regions where they could never work as dancers.

“I haven not slept, because I was so anxious, but all this hard work is worth it because just being here is a huge emotion,” said Lima, who did not make the final selection.

While American football is a growing sport in Brazil, it is still nowhere near as popular as soccer and volleyball.

Ballerina Nadine Santos, 22, stood out as a genuine Dolphins fan.

“Soccer and football are totally different. You can see that when teams come out to play,” said Santos, who started watching NFL games three years ago.

Santos did not make the final six picked from Rio to go to the finals in Miami on May 1. All of them had to be at least 18 years old, enrolled in high school until June and with a valid passport.

Miami Dolphins cheerleaders have traveled to more than 30 nations on five continents over the past decade.

Dolphins senior director of entertainment Dorie Grogan said that she wants to create a true international cheerleading squad.

“We selected locations where we have already had cheerleaders in the past,” Grogan said. “We hope to expand it if it works out.”

Grogan said those chosen would have to commit to living in Miami for a minimum of nine months.

“We have a full process to get them settled in Miami,” she said. “We will assist them in housing and transportation.”

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