Ravens Cut Down to 60 Cheerleaders

The first public unveiling of the Ravens’ cheerleaders was nerve-wracking.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

The Ravens came into Saturday’s “Making the Cut” event with just about 80 cheerleaders looking to join the team for the 2011 season, but only 60 would get past the judges.

At the end of the event, which was raucous to put it lightly, 60 stood tall, and the Ravens came out with the newest cheer team for the upcoming season.

“You know what, for me to say I’m impressed by the whole group of people means a lot,” said Ravens Cheerleader Director Tina Galdieri.  “Even the ones that didn’t make our squad, I know that they worked hard. I was very proud, and I was proud of this organization.”

As the only team in the NFL with a coed squad, the Ravens kept 40 women and 20 men for their stunt unit.

The night – held at the Sheraton City Center-Baltimore – was more than sold out, with over 600 fans supporting the Ravens’ cheerleaders.

Some of those fans were family of the contestants and some were just supporters of the Ravens.

Regardless, the intensity of performing in front of a capacity crowd was palpable.

“I was the first dancer called, and I was so nervous,” said Ashley, a rookie trying out for her first time.  “I just didn’t want to get cut. It was amazing. I’ve been doing the dance until I was blue in the face, so I felt like I just didn’t want to mess up.”

The ladies had to perform in a kick line to show their flexibility, complete a dance skill move and execute their choreographed dance to music.

The men demonstrated their skills in stunting by lifting the ladies effortlessly.

The quality of competitors impressed the judges, which included former Ravens wideout Qadry Ismail and 98 Rock’s Mickey Cucciella.

“It’s definitely a competition,” Ismail noted.  “These people really train hard to represent the Baltimore Ravens as a cheer squad.  We’re looking at people who are going to be in the stadium, and if it’s a third down or a critical situation where you need the crowd to get into it, you’re got to have the right kind of cheerleader to bring the energy.

“I’m taking this seriously, and I’m sure there’s a lot of girls and guys out there who are expecting me to take it that way.”

The Ravens’ cheerleaders are known for their philanthropic efforts, attending nearly 150 appearances during the year in addition to their gameday duties.

So, to have the final squad intact at this point in March is a boon to Galdieri.

“Organizing 60 people is a tough task,” she said.  “We’ve got practices, training camp of our own and getting uniforms.

“We’re hitting the streets in May.”

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