GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former member of the Grand Valley State University dance team is getting a chance to continue her dream of performing on the football field.
Taylor W. has been dancing since she was 3 years old, saying she basically grew up in a Detroit dance studio. She went on to dance for the GVSU Lakers and won three national titles while getting her undergraduate degree. Now after more than two decades of competing, she’s getting the chance to do it again.
Taylor was recently named one of the 19 women who will be a part of the Michigan Panthers cheerleading team this season. It will be the first time she’s gotten the chance to get on the field since she graduated GVSU in 2019.
“I just felt like there was something missing in my life. I loved performing, being on the field, especially for football games,” she said. “This was my dream to continue being a professional dancer so I was given the opportunity to be a Michigan Panther.”
Earlier this month, Taylor began the try-out process. She had to learn a dance routine, record it and send it to a panel of judges and then wait to find out if she made it to the second round. She did and then had an in-person audition in Detroit. A week later, she found out she made the final cut.
“I was honestly thrilled. This has been a dream of mine since I graduated college,” Taylor said. “Right when I got the email that I was a Michigan Panthers cheerleader, I called my family right away to let them know. I’m getting emotional about it because it’s just super exciting. Again, a huge accomplishment that I’ve been wanting to do.”
Taylor and the rest of the Panthers’ cheerleaders will be at every home game at Ford Field, the first one on April 30 against the New Jersey Generals. While there is more than a month before her first performance, Taylor said she will be staying busy until then as she will have 2-hour-long practices beginning next week.
On top of the demanding schedule, she will also have to maintain working her normal 9-to-5 job in the digital marketing space. But Taylor said it’ll all be worth it in the end.
“It’s an amazing opportunity, I think I probably won’t be able to contain my happiness and smile,” she said. “Just to be able to see the crowd again and be in person and at Ford Field representing and cheering on for the Michigan Panthers. I think that it’s just going to be awesome.”