Southeast Cheerleader Alumnae Go Pro
Three Southeast Missouri State University alumnae have achieved what many young girls dream of becoming. Erin Bauer, Brandi Kilby and Megan LaTempt each cheer at the professional level.
Erin dances for the NBA Chicago Bulls dance squad, the Luvabulls. Megan is a St. Louis Rams cheerleader, and Brandi is a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.
The three have danced for most of their lives, and their passion for the art and the thrill of performing live in front of thousands could not stop them from continuing to dance after graduating from Southeast.
“After graduating, I was not ready to give up dance or performing,” Megan said. “Dance has been a huge part of my life, and I hope it always will be.”
Making a professional squad, however, is no easy task. Each of these women endured grueling try-out processes, not only once but before each season. The tryouts begin with hundreds of prospective cheerleaders learning dances, routines, and other skills.
Round after round, Erin, Brandi and Megan proved to be among the best. Each woman said they, as finalists, also had an interview session in which topics ranged from football to world matters.
Needless to say, Erin, Brandi and Megan aced their tryouts, but their work does not stop there. They have mandatory practices, and they participate in many charity events.
“We are required to attend practice twice a week and be available for every home game. We also work charity events and multiple promotions,” Erin said.
Erin, Brandi and Megan agree that cheering professionally is an experience of a lifetime.
“It is a dream come true for me,” Brandi said. “Along with that, it has also been a rollercoaster of emotions, from nervous to scared, to happy and excited.”
Erin, a May 2006 graduate of Southeast with a degree in psychology and a minor in dance, is in her third season as a dancer for the NBA Chicago Bulls dance squad, the Luvabulls. Erin was a member of the Sundancers all four years at Southeast and served as the squad captain her junior and senior years. Erin danced 14 years prior to her career as a Sundancer, competing eight of those years.
Dancing for the Luvabulls has provided Erin with many unforgettable memories. She traveled with the squad to Amsterdam, Paris, London and Milan, and she performed with her squad in the NBA playoffs this past season.
“My favorite part of being on the team is the constant challenge the choreography presents, as well as the relationships I have made with the women I dance with,” Erin said. “Mainly it’s been a lot of time management and hard work, but it’s all worth it to perform for 22,000 fans!”
While dancing for the Luvabulls, Erin obtained her master’s degree from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology after graduating in May 2009.
Brandi is in her first season as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader (DDC). Her debut performance with them was at the Friends and Family show last month, the night before the Cowboy’s first game.
“It was so cool to have all of our loved ones watching and cheering because for many of us, it was our first performance being an official DDC,” Brandi said. “I had chills for most of the dance!”
Brandi graduated from Southeast in May 2009 with a degree in criminal justice. While at Southeast, she was a member of the SEMO Showstoppers dance team for three years.
When Brandi was just four years old, she began taking dance lessons. As she progressed in dance, she took lessons in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical dance, Modern dance, and hip hop, she said.
After making the DDC squad, Brandi relocated to Dallas, Texas. She is currently working and taking an online class, but in her free time, she enjoys working out and hanging out with friends.
Brandi may be busy, but she would not have it any other way.
“I have the opportunity to make others happy and feel good by doing what I love to do, as well as making lifelong friends and being a part of one of the most amazing sisterhoods that anyone would ask to be a part of,” Brandi said.
Megan continues her dancing career as a cheerleader for the St. Louis Rams. “I was a Southeast Sundancer for three years. I thought cheering for the Rams would be the next perfect chapter in my life,” she said.
Megan said she began dancing when she was eight years old at Parish School of Performing Arts in Jerseyville, Ill., and was a cheerleader in high school all four years. In college, she danced in the University’s dance productions as well as being a member of the Sundancers.
Megan said that becoming a Rams cheerleader has always been a goal of hers. She said she first saw the Rams perform at the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii when she was just 14 years old. Megan had been selected to try out for the Pro Bowl opportunity by a scout at a dance competition with Parish Studio.
“At the Pro Bowl, there were cheerleaders from all over the United States representing their teams, and I told myself that one day I wanted to be an NFL cheerleader. Ten years later, here I am!” said Megan.
Megan admits there are a lot of perks to her job.
“Before every game we have our make-up and hair professionally done, and that has been such a joy,” she said. “We also attend charity events throughout the St. Louis community, which has been a great experience as well.”
Megan graduated from Southeast in May 2008 with a bachelor of science degree in exceptional child education.
“I currently am a special education teacher in the Ste. Genevieve RII School District. I was also the dance team head coach last year,” Megan said. “I teach dance at Rising Starz, a dance studio in Ste. Genevieve, to students of all ages from elementary to high school.”