HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Next week the NFL Draft will be held virtually, sticking to the big event's original timeline. But, as one Washington Redskins team adds to its roster, another does not.
The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders will no longer have their 2020-21 cheer team decided by draft night after the tryout timeline was pushed back because of COVID-19.
Now, the team transitions from the dance studio to the internet, where they're currently hosting prep classes ahead of auditions.
“Our team motto is adjust and adapt," Redskins cheer captain and Chesapeake native Ashley M. said. "We all quickly had to learn and choreograph on camera and then learn how to teach a virtual class, which we’ve never done before.”
The classes begin with a workout led by one of the cheerleaders and finish with dancing.
One of the Redskins cheerleaders choreographs a dance and teaches it virtually. Unlike classes done in the team studio, there is no mirror, so the choreographer has to make sure they're teaching dances from multiple angles.
While the prep class format has changed, there's hasn't been a negative affect on attendance numbers.
“We’ve seen additional people actually sign up to participate online so that’s really cool,” Washington Redskins Cheerleaders director and Newport News native Jamilla Keene said.
“Every time I get on I see new faces," Ashley said. "We have pages and pages of girls dancing with us.”
Thursday night, those pages of participants totaled 72.
One aspect the women are missing out on is the team building factor that comes with hyping up one another in person, but they are cheerleaders after all, and have no problem getting team spirit across virtually.
“We’re all muted but typing, like, great job, love the choreography!” Ashley said.