An eager young lady struts her stuff looking to get a spot on the Jets' flight crew this season (Jets Insider.com Photo)
As the New York Jets begin preparation for the 2008 season with OTA’s starting this week, the New York Jets Flight Crew began taking shape Saturday morning. More than 200 girls participated in a preliminary open audition (last year’s audition was invite only) at the Jets Practice Facility on the campus of Hofstra University.
Denise Garvey, who is the Director and Choreographer for the Flight Crew, said that this year’s team will be bigger and better. Last year the Flight Crew contained 10 members and for this upcoming season their will be 22 members on the Flight Crew roster.
“The reason why we are upping the team to 22 girls this year is purely for the fans. The response from the fans last year at the games was amazing,” said Garvey. “The fans were so supportive and they absolutely loved and accepted [the Flight Crew] as part of the gameday experience. The only complaint we really ever got was why aren’t their more and why their only 10, so we decided to even more than double the number. Jets fans are so loyal and so dedicated, we just wanted to introduce it slowly. And now we know they love it, we are going to go with it.”
After Saturday’s preliminary try-out Garvey said she was going to invite back about half of the girls for the semifinal round, which took place on yesterday at the Jets Practice Facility. At the semifinals the girls who tried out at the open audition will be joined by last season’s Flight Crew, who will begin to teach them some choreography.
The third and final round will contain 50 to 60 girls and will take place June 1st at the Marc Ecko Enterprises headquarters in New York City. Ecko and the New York Jets announced earlier this month that Ecko will design the Flight Crew uniforms and will personally direct other aspects from hair and make-up to photography.
21 of the final 22 girls will be selected by a panel of celebrity judges and former Jets players, while the 22nd member of the Flight Crew will be elected by the fans as they will be able to vote via www.newyorkjets.com.
“I think overall the Flight Crew is expanding by leaps and bounds. They are going to be entertaining at all the Jets home games. But in addition they are starting to do really exciting things out in the community and in the media,” said Garvey. “This has been an amazing experience for not only the girls, but the Jets as well. It’s so new, it’s fresh and it’s exciting.”
Along with sending a member to the Pro-Bowl last season, the Jets Flight Crew has performed at the Tribeca Film Festival and they are just coming off a recent commercial shoot with ESPN, which is scheduled to air in the near future.
As for the opening round auditions, Garvey and fellow judge Brian Mulligan (Jets Director of Events and Game Operations) were looking for specific qualities in the girls. They wanted to see how the girls react to different kinds of music as well as a certain type of energy and showmanship that is needed to be a member of the Jets Flight Crew.
While Garvey and Mulligan were thrilled to see what the new girls can bring to the table, many of the girls trying out were nervous as they all wanted to accomplish a dream of theirs, which dancing in front of thousands of people.
Michelle Lalime, 25 from West Hartford came out to try to accomplish her second life goal. Growing up Lalime wanted to become a registered nurse as well as dancer. She has accomplished one goal by becoming a registered nurse at New York Medical Center in Manhattan and now she is trying for number two.
“I couldn’t sleep a wink last night. Waking up every hour and having dreams about all this. It would mean so much,” said Lalime.
Also at yesterday’s open tryouts were girls with dancing experience with other NFL teams. Michelle Abbruzzese, 37 from Norwalk, Connecticut, was previously on the New England Patriots cheerleading squad. Unlike Matt Walsh (the former Patriots video assistant that met with Commissioner Roger Goodell last week), Abbruzzese said left the Patriots because she moved to far away from Foxborough.
If some of the girls make the Flight Crew they said they are going to have to become Jets fans. Long time Packers fan Laura DeCarlo, 24 of Bloomfield, New Jersey said if chose she will definitely trade in her Brett Favre jersey for Chad Pennington’s #10.
“I’m actually a Green Bay fan but if I make the team I will definitely be wearing a Jets jersey all the time,” said DeCarlo.
PHOTO GALLERY: For exclusive Jets Insider.com Flight Crew Audition photos
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