SMU alumna Reese makes dream come
Former SMU Pom Squad captain survives "Making the Team," becomes Dallas Cowboys cheerleader
Published: Friday, November 7, 2008
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Amy Reese was born to perform. Instead of learning how to walk by placing one foot tenderly in front of the other, Reese would focus on tiptoeing around the living room, her toes perfectly pointed as she pirouetted across the carpet.
"I have always wanted to be a dancer," explained Reese. "My mother showed me home videos when I was learning how to walk, and I was always walking on my toes."
It was not until she was 22 years old that her dedication to dancing would finally pay off.
Growing up, the Texas native from Highland Park Village poured her heart and soul into all forms of dancing. Tap, Jazz, hip-hop, modern and ballet were just a few topping the list of styles Reese dedicated her skills to. While ballet and Pointe were her favorite, Reese started struggling with the hectic schedule that accompanied balancing the two styles.
"When I was in high school, I became really ill and my six days a week of ballet practice became too much," said Reese. "When I just couldn't stop dancing, I joined the high school drill team."
Upon graduating, Reese came to SMU in hopes of continuing her dancing career. After spending four years on the Creekview High School drill team, the SMU pom squad seemed to be the next logical step. In three years, Reese became the team's co-captain, and helped lead her team two first place finishes at the National Dance Alliance Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla.
As a senior, Reese took over as captain. Combining every style of dance she had been educated in, Reese helped her team become the national champions in the open division category for the second time in three years.
"I learned so much being on SMU Pom," said Reese. "I got to experience two national championships, faced numerous challenges and made lifelong friends. I had a chance to take on a leadership role and it prepared me for DCC, and also my future career. I learned the value of hard work, preparation and teamwork. It was the best way to grow as a person and as a dancer."
The four years spent dancing on the Hilltop "meant everything" to Reese, but she continued to cling to her lifelong dream of dancing professionally.
"I knew I always wanted to dance professionally, but staying with my college team came first so I waited until I graduated from SMU to try out [for the Dallas Cowboys," explained Reese.
Upon receiving two degrees from SMU in Corporate Communications and Public Affairs and psychology, Reese started the pursuit of fulfilling her dream of becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Piling into Texas Stadium along with over 400 other hopefuls, Reese embarked on a journey to earn one of 36 available spots on the squad.
The preliminary round required each participant to perform a free-style routine. If the women lived up to the judge's expectations, they were invited back to Sunday's second round. Of the estimated 400 hopefuls, only 150 were invited back to the semifinals. After 12 hours of dancing, kicking, turning and smiling, 63 semifinalists joined the 25 veterans in the final round. Adding to the pressure were the cameras surrounding the girls that documented every second of the audition process for the T.V. show "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team."
"It was scary," explained Reese. "It was unlike any audition I have ever been to. There were so many beautiful and talented girls. I was definitely nervous and knew I would have to give it my all."
Reese made it past tryouts in April and soon became one of 45 candidates selected to participate in the DCC training camp. On Aug. 8, the final team was announced. Composed of 36 women between the ages of 18 to 26, and representing over 13 states, Reese is one 16 rookies on this year's roster.
Bouncing between intense practices, public appearances and games, the Cowboy Cheerleaders are constantly in the spotlight, and expected to appear flawless at all times. Described as "truly extraordinary women chosen to exemplify the high standards of Dallas Cowboy Football Club and to proudly represent their hometowns, their country and young women everywhere," it is no wonder why they are considered "America's Sweethearts."
"I think the most valuable lesson I have learned is to believe in yourself," explained Reese. "No one can take away your dreams. I think anything is possible if you work hard and have faith."
Since becoming a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Reese has been given the opportunity to broaden her knowledge of the game she spent years cheering for on the sidelines. On her profile page, Reese lists her favorite current player as Tony Romo, but still holds a special place in her heart for SMU alumnus, Don Meredith.
Included in the overall experience, Reese is also given exclusive opportunities to travel around the world to tropical locations for the Annual Calendar Shoot, entertain U.S. military troops stationed around the world, get involved with the Dallas youth community, and receive special training to further better her dancing and performing skills. And of course, Reese gets one of the best seats in the house at every sold-out game at Texas Stadium.
With the stress of tryouts behind her, and her professional dancing career skyrocketing, Reese has finally seen her dream come true.
"I could not be happier," said Reese. "I love that I have been so blessed in my life to have been a part of so many incredible teams. I would not change a thing. I am honored to be a part of the Dallas Cowboys organization. It has such a prestigious reputation, and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to continue to dance."