Jennifer B, - The Woodlands, TX, TX, US: There are so many beautiful and talented girls trying out, what does it take to stand out and get noticed by the judges?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: This is Coach Alto. Thanks for joining me for this live chat. I'm really looking forward to tryouts beginning this Saturday.
Jennifer, thanks for the question. I think you can stand out in several ways: your attire (outfit), a great smile and being confident in your movements, even if you're wrong.
Vanna Esperanza - Houston, TX, US: How many girls try out each year?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: We expect more than 600 women for this year's tryouts. In past years, we've had around 1,500 women attend tryouts. Don't be discouraged. You can't make it unless you try out.
Olivia Nguyen - Houston, TX, US: Hello Ms. Alto, I am so honored to have this opportunity to talk to you and hopefully be a part of this team, but i wanted to know how important is learning jazz dance techniques to you. and would it make me or break me at try outs if you knew i had the potential to be better? thank you!
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: As long as you have rhythm and you can pick up movements, you should be fine. I can work with all levels of dancers. You just have to be entertaining, so don't get caught up with jazz dance techniques.
Jan - Houston, TX, US: Your current squad all has long hair. I have a short sassy cut. Is that okay?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: That is perfect. We like all types of haircuts, so don't feel like you're at a disadvantage. The sassier, the better.
Dana Huebner - Houston, TX, US: I've heard tryouts will be different than in the past, can you describe how this years tryouts will run? Like how many rounds will there be?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: There will be four rounds on Saturday. The one thing that is different for new participants this year is that finalists will have an additional round on draft day, which is April 25. On that day, there will be a performance in front of fans and there will be media interviews. Also, women will be judged based on their ability to communicate, since Texans Cheerleaders are required to attend many promotional appearances throughout the year.
Also, a new wrinkle this year is that returning members have to start in round one, unlike previous years where they started in the third round.
Vanessa Munoz - Houston, TX, US: Hi Alto, I am trying out for a second time, and am much more prepared! :) I am wondering if you prefer a head shot or body shot for the required photo? Thank you in advance! Go TEXANS!
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Either type of photo is fine, but I'd appreciate it if you could bring both photos. Thanks.
Desiree - Houston, TX, US: I'm very interested in trying out this weekend. I just completed a course specifically for this opportunity for my HS Diploma which I know is a requirment. Is there a specific time in which one must have their Diploma? Am I still eligible? Thank you.
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: As long as you have a high school diploma by April 18, you're fine.
Carrie Monzon - houston, TX, US: Do we need to have a check for the tryouts or is there no cost?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: There is no charge for tryouts. It's completely free, but you must meet all of the requirements.
Desiree Copeland - Houston, TX, US: About how many cheerleaders will be accepted to the team this year? Will the judges be looking for certain hair color?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Thanks for the questions. The number of cheerleaders that make the final squad will be between 30-35. We're not looking for a specific hair color.
Dana Huebner - Houston, TX, US: From watching a lot of the interviews and videos on the website , most of the girls talk about not making it their first time trying out. Is this the norm that not many make it their first time trying out?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Hi Dana, each member of the squad last year has a different story. Some women made it on their first time trying out, while others had to try out a few times. We're not concerned with whether or not it is your first time trying out. We just want to select the best women for the squad. So don't be discouraged.
Tish E. - Houston, TX, US: Do we need to bring a resume? Is there an application that should be completed prior to tryouts? Are there any specifics that you are looking for in this years team (hair styles, outfits, experience, etc.)?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Resumes are not required. There is an application form online that you can fill out when you register, or you can register when you arrive on Saturday at the Methodist Training Center. As far as what I'm looking for, I don't have any preferences as far as hairstyles or experience. I am looking for entertainment quality and fan engagement.
Johan B. - Houston, TX, US: About how many veterans are returning?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: I am not sure, but I do expect this year's squad to have a large turnover from last year. So there could be a lot of fresh faces!
Krystin Torres - katy, TX, US: Hi, my name is Krystin Torres and I'm super excited to try-out this weekend. I just have a few questions on things like is the fact that I will be wearing black dance pants going to affect my chances than if I wore shorts? Also for our pictures do you want more of a body shot or is just upper body (face) ok? Ok I will be in class unfortunately while you're on live to chat. But thank you so much and I look foward to meeting you this sat. this is my dream, I love dancing. Thank You! Krystin Torres.
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: I prefer to see shorts rather than long dancing pants. As far as photos, please bring whatever you look best in. Thanks
Lena Daniels - The Woodlands, TX, US: Will we be required to do any freestyle or should I prepare a solo?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Freestyle dancing will be at a minimum during tryouts (roughly four to eight counts). There is no need to prepare a solo dance.
Andrea - Houston, TX, US: Hello Ms. Gary, is it possible for someone to make the team without a perfect body shape: six pack stomach, lean arms, etc.?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Hi Andrea, our cheerleaders come in all shapes and sizes. I just require each woman to look good in their uniform no matter what their body type is.
Nick - Houston, TX, US: I know there are no age restrictions, but does a 45-year-old woman have a realistic shot at making the squad?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: You're right. There is no age limit. I don't care what age you are as long as you can dance and are able to entertain fans.
Sharon Pascual-Diaz - Houston, TX, US: Coach Alto, I am repetitively told "you never know what Alto is looking for each year"....what does this mean? What specifically are you wanting to see in a potential HTC this year? What are you looking for this year?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: I hear that a lot, too. But every year I'm looking for the same qualities: dance ability, entertainment value, physical fitness, crowd appeal, class and a positive attitude.
Katrina M. - Dallas, TX, US: Hi, I'm Katrina Murphy. I see you start out with hundreds of girls and end up with around 35. About how many advance in each round, and how many do you take to the final round? Thanks :)
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Each round varies. So there's no set number for how many women advance to the next round. But I plan on taking 50 finalists to Sunday, April 19, and then we'll go from there.
kim gonzalez - houston, TX, US: Is it okay to wear a skirt to tryouts or do we have to wear hot pants? Will we have to perform in boots? What exatly are you looking for? Do you have any final tryout tips?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: Skirts are fine to wear. I want to see your legs when you're dancing, so I prefer if you didn't wear pants for the tryouts. As far as tryout tips, my best advice would be to wear something comparable to what our Texans Cheerleaders wear on gameday. Show your midriff and your legs. Also, get a good night's sleep and bring snacks. It can be a really long day.
Jennifer Smith - Houston, TX, US: If I advance past this Saturday, I will be unable to attend the first finals practice due to a work conflict. Is there anyway I work around this? Thank you!
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: There are exceptions to every rule and we handle scheduling conflicts on a case-by-case basis, so don't worry about it now. Just focus on making it to the next round and then we can deal with that.
Dani I. - Burleson, TX, US: I was unable to attend the try out clinic, will that harm my chances? And I was also watch the videos about try outs, and Erica mentioned wearing boots, would you suggest bringing boots?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: We're running out of time, so I can answer only one more question after this. Thanks for everyone participating. We've gotten an overwhelming response.
Not attending the tryout clinic will not hurt your chances this year, so don't worry about that. As far as wearing boots, I suggest that you wear whatever you can dance best in. If it's boots, that's great. If it's tennis shoes or jazz shoes, that's also fine.
Sharon Pascual-Diaz - Houston, TX, US: Knowing that Auditions are closed to the public for viewing, does this rule also apply outside the Bubble during the allotted time and at designated area for registration? In other words, can family accompany or watch from a visible distance candidates register and get their audition number?
Alto Gary, Texans Cheerleaders Coach: This is my last response for today. Again, thanks for all of the questions. I think that tryouts this year will be really exciting and I look forward to seeing all of you out there this Saturday.
To answer your question, family are allowed to wait outside of the Methodist Training Center, but there's no way for them to see what's going on inside the facility. But if you make it as one of the finalists on April 25, your family can watch you perform at the Draft Day Party. Here's a link to that - /fanzone/2009DraftParty.asp