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Storm Chasers, take the field


Storm Chasers Dance Squad tryouts are on Dec. 14, and attendees must wear workout gear that shows their mid-drift to ensure they will be comfortable in the uniform.

Storm Chasers Dance Squad tryouts are on Dec. 14, and attendees must wear workout gear that shows their mid-drift to ensure they will be comfortable in the uniform.

Don’t let the excessive exclamation points in this article fool you, intelligence and entrepreneurship abound within circles like Des Moines’ own Iowa Barnstormers Storm Chasers Dance Team.

“We are role models to girls of all ages,” said Emily Toribio, co-captain of the Storm Chasers. “To know the impact we have with young girls wanting our autographs and photos, dancing in the stands with us and often times, having them at our Kids Clinic, well, it’s simply humbling to be in this position.

“The Storm Chasers are also the ‘cheerleaders,’ however, we do not incorporate chants, jumps or stunts into our sidelines,” Toribio said. “Sideline routines are primarily short dances, many of which our fans know, so they can join in on the fun as well!”

It’s time to strip the image of the cheerleader as risqué dancer and replace it with the career-minded woman who happens to love football and dance, and all that comes with the two. Sound appealing? Consider signing up, then, for this year’s Storm Chasers tryouts.

Prep Iowa

Prospective Storm Chasers will begin the day with warm-ups and stretching. (Sorry fellas, but tryouts are closed to spectators, and this is a girls-only squad — at least for now.) The rest of the day, the ladies will learn a few sideline routines and dances, which, after a fair amount of practice-time, they’ll eventually have to perform before judges.

“The No. 1 thing that we look for in our dancers is their availability and personality,” said Toribio. “We want girls that are smiling, happy and bubbly and, in general, just excited to be there. Personality makes all the difference both on and off the field!”

A great personality and dancing skills will get you far with this team. Ultimately, it’s about team support and keeping fans happy and excited. Last year the squad had 18 ladies (their largest ever), though that doesn’t mean it’ll be the same this year. No set number is required for the squad; they’re just looking for girls who are talented, energetic and fun, Toribio said, adding a few words of advice:

“Don’t not be nervous! I know many of the girls worry so much about remembering every aspect of the dances that they forget to smile and have fun. We’re not testing people on a perfect memory. We want to see that they can move, smile and be entertaining!”

The results of the competition will be posted on the Iowa Barnstormers Official Facebook page on Dec. 14. CV

David Rowley is an Iowa native with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa and a master’s in film journalism from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.


Storm Chasers Tryouts
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 14; registration a 11:30 a.m.; tryouts at 12:30p.m.
WHERE: Riverfront YMCA, 101 Locust St. Des Moines, in the Aerobics Room
COST: $25 per participant (pre-registration), $30 day of tryouts.
AGES: Open to women ages 19 and up
EXPERIENCE: All participants will be tested on: double pirouettes, leaps, advanced dance techniques and pom; a one-minute routine will be taught and performed, and participants will be judged on personality, style and appearance.
ATTIRE: Dance or athletic top (mid-drift must be showing), hot pants or shorts, skin-toned tights or hose, dance sneakers, jazz shoes or sneakers, performance-ready hair and makeup.
WHAT TO BRING: Resume, reference list, head-shot, insurance card, driver’s license or photo ID, payment and audition forms. (Download one from the website at, or pick one up at the door.) Participants are encouraged to pre-register, as spots are limited.


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