SALT LAKE CITY — Fremont High School senior Madeline Massingill is one step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a professional dancer this week.
Massingill is currently in Dallas, Texas, pursuing her dream of becoming a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader and has been named one of 50 finalists in contention for a spot on the team.
“This has been a dream of mine for a long time,” Massingill said. “It would mean the world to me. I’ve always wanted to be a professional dancer and this would be the first step to get me where I want to be.”
The Cowboys cheerleading team is one of the most highly sought after jobs for professional dancers and has its own reality show on CMT called “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader: Making the Team.” Approximately 500 women from all over the country come to Dallas in hopes of making one of the coveted spots, she said.
For Massingill, it was a way to get into the professional dancer world, and a place where she feels she belongs.
“I’ve been training my whole life for this, really. I’ve danced since I could walk. It’s always been my goal to be a professional dancer,” she said. “I didn’t know who for, at first, and now that I’m getting older I’m starting to realize a niche for me. And I think in the entertainment industry like sporting events, dancing for someone like the Cowboys, is where I’m supposed to be.”
Massingill is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and said her being from Utah was seen as a bit of a negative when she first talked to the panel of judges that included owner Jerry Jones’s daughter, Charlotte Jones.
“I think people from Utah kinda get overlooked,” she said. “(Judges) don’t expect big things to come out of Utah because it’s not a big city kind of place to live. When they found out I was from Utah they were kind of like, ‘Oh, sure, whatever.’ After I danced they wanted to know a little bit more about where we come from and what goes on at home.
“They think it’s pretty interesting,” she added. “They do know about it and I think it kind of captivated them a little bit — they’re interested in the religion.”
Although the Cowboys cheerleaders have various roles throughout the regular week, the bulk of the job is performed during Sunday games. But Massingill said she still wants to go to church and keep her values as a member of the LDS Church.
“It’s what I want to do professionally and I feel like I can still stick to my morals and standards. I still want to attend church on Sundays,” she said. “There’s plenty of church leaders and people that do have jobs that have taken some of their time on Sunday. Sometimes you’ve got to sacrifice just a little bit, and I’m willing to do that if that’s what it takes.”
Massingill will have a formal interview Friday before performing a solo in front of the panel of judges Saturday. Although Massingill is working for a spot on the team, fans have the opportunity to send one woman straight through with an online vote. Massingill is one of 10 currently in the lead online. The woman with the most votes at the end will make the team. The judges will finalize the rest of team Saturday night.
“The fans get to be an extra judge,” Massingill said. “The judges get to pick through the first two processes who they think would be a good candidate for their team. Once they get to this final audition round, they let the fans do a fan pick. And one girl gets chosen — the girl with the most votes gets chosen to go straight through to training camp; they can’t get cut this next weekend.”
Massingill said her hometown of Farr West and her school teachers and principal at Fremont have been very supportive during this process and have rallied others to vote for her.
“My teachers and my principal have been so supportive of this,” she said. “They’ve actually been having classes vote for me for this online vote. They’re so excited for me. They’ve been really supportive and they’ve got signs up all over the community. It’s been really exciting to see and hear the pictures and all the things that have been going on at home.”
The opportunity to make the team is a bonus for Massingill’s parents, too. Her father grew up a Cowboys fan and her mother has been her dance teacher her whole life.
“My dad has been a Cowboys fan forever; he’s from Texas, actually,” she said. “He’s very supportive of it. My mom has been my dance teacher my whole life. I’m kind of following in her footsteps; she’s danced for the Utah Jazz. She’s very excited for me.”