Vanessa grew up on the south side of Indianapolis.
“I’m from Greenwood, Indiana – born and raised.”
A dancer her entire life, she has a dream of dancing professionally – and it’s taken her across the country and back.
“My mother was my dance teacher and once I got through high school, I went to Indiana University and was a dance major for two years,” she says. “Then I moved to L.A. for about three months. I was a live-in nanny and I took some dance classes at the Millennium Dance Complex, then decided it wasn’t for me.”
Watching the Colts Cheerleaders over the years, they eventually inspired her to audition herself.
“I just really like how strong these girls are,” she says. “They aren’t just beautiful faces. Yes, they’re good dancers. Yes, they are powerful. But they’re also very strong when it comes to interviews and they’re very strong at things other than just dancing and looking good. I thought, ‘Why not be a part of that?’”
Vanessa’s ultimate goal is to coach a dance team at a Big Ten university.
But for now, she’s a substitute teacher who coaches dance on the side.
“I am a dance instructor. I also coach the Center Grove High School varsity dance team. I was a member of that. My mom was the coach, so I decided to help assist her. I’m going to take over their middle school program next year.”
She’s also excited about getting to work with the Junior Colts Cheerleaders.
“I love teaching dance. It’s my favorite thing to do,” she says.
Someone who inspired her – both to teach dance and to audition – is a three-year veteran of the Colts Cheerleaders who just finished her last season with the team.
“One of my former dance instructors is Ciarra,” Vanessa says. “She made us do a lot of their workouts when she was my dance teacher. So, I kind of knew what to expect. I talked to her a little bit and I’ve had some other friends – Hannah, her older sister and I danced together.”
She’s been pleasantly surprised by the support she’s received while attending the audition workshops.
“It was the hardest workout I’ve ever done. I was so motivated by everyone else,” she says. “There was just this amazing vibe and atmosphere. The only way that I was able to finish it was because of them – because everyone else was cheering me on. That was another, ‘Yes! This is why I want to do this.’”
Auditions haven’t officially begun yet, but for Vanessa, it’s already been a life-changing decision.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has said it’s been the best experience of their life and I’m starting to feel that myself.”
Vanessa chased her dream thousands of miles – only to rediscover it right in her own backyard.
“If I could do this, it would be a dream come true. It would be one of the ultimate goals that I have.”
For information on auditioning for the Colts Cheerleaders, go to: http://www.colts.com/cheerleaders/auditions.html.
To be the first to see who makes the team, purchase tickets to the Colts Cheerleaders Audition Showcase on March 26th: https://www.indianapolissymphony.org/event-detail/colts-cheer-showcase.