LANDOVER, Md. - "Imagine a collegiate kind of stunt team, that meets DC go-go, that includes dancers."
Petra Pope, the Washington Football Team's new senior adviser of game day entertainment, is excited about the Washington Football Team's new coed dance team, which recently wrapped up auditions.
The dancer bring with them diverse backgrounds, ranging from gymnastics, to cheerleading, to dancing and with that diverse skillset comes a greater difficulty when incorporating everyone into a routine.
"As I bring in all these really cool choreographers I explain to them, these are the compartments you need to make sure shine," Pope said. "There's a lot of work that goes into it, but it’s worth everything because the end result is so much more interesting than what fans have been used to seeing."
Pope is no stranger to setting trends in the sports entertainment world. She brings with her 33 years of NBA experience, including a 14-year stint with the New York Knicks, where she introduced stilt walking to the league.
"I was definitely the first in the NBA in introducing stilt walking," Pope said. "I though myself, listen, if I'm gonna ask the ladies to do this I've gotta do it first, so literally stood up on these four-foot stilts and walked. I walked a few steps only, but I said listen guys, if I can do it you can do it.
"That was probably one of my proudest moments because I was scared to death."
If you're hoping that Pope will bring the use of stilts to Washington, you're in luck, because they're "Gonna try bouncing stilts rather than just regular stilts," according to Pope. "We have a few amazing gymnasts. We’re gonna buy a few, test it out and see how it works on the field.
"We’re gonna see if we can use pop smoke, so as you perform, there’s all sorts of beautiful colors of smoke so we’re gonna try to do that. We’ll see what the NFL, from a rules perspective, will let us get away with."
After watching Washington's cheerleaders perform since the group's inception in 1962, football fans are sad to see the First Ladies of Football go and Pope understands.
"Change is definitely very difficult for all of us in one way or the other," although, she's confident fans will love the new coed dance team once they start performing at FedEd Field this fall.