Time Out catches up with a Britney-loathing head cheerleader and Rugby Sevens choreographer.
Tell us what your role is at the Dubai Rugby Sevens. I’m now the director of the group. I was head choreographer for the past three years and I used to perform too. I’m the oldest, obviously – they’re 21, 22, 23; I’m 29! Now I’ve taken the contract over, I’m doing all the choreography and looking after the girls too, so it’s a pretty big job.
Will you be cheerleading yourself? No, I wish I was. I’m still a professional dancer in Australia, but I think I’m getting a bit too old to shake my pom poms around, if you know what I mean. I’ve been making them do moves that I probably couldn’t even do myself, and they’ve been able to do them so easily. We’re doing a few different lifts, just to make it a bit more exciting. We’ve got to try and up the ante every year.
You’ve obviously been to Dubai before. I actually lived here for about a year and a half; that’s how I got on board with the Sevens. I knew [former director] Brook from Australia and I started helping out with the choreography. I moved back to Melbourne a couple of years ago, but I’ve gone back to Dubai each year for the Sevens. I think it’s great, I love Dubai – the culture there is so different, it’s just awesome to absorb.
How would you describe the Sevens to someone who has never been? It’s probably the most fun Rugby tournament there is. There are so many championships all over the world, but the Dubai Sevens is renowned for the vibe. The girls love performing for the crowd because everyone’s having such a good time.
How many routines will there be? I prepare eight, but whether we do all of them is up to production and the crowd – sometimes we ask them what they want. We’ve got a trademark song, ‘Hey Baby’. Production said they wanted us to do it again and I was like [groans] ‘Uhhh, OK’. I’ve got to be innovative with that routine because we do the same song every year, but all the rest are different. We’ll be doing a Led Zeppelin song, ‘Black Dog’, and Lenny Kravitz’s, ‘Are You Gonna Go My Way’. We’ve gone with rock songs this year because they always go down really well. I’m more of a rock girl – there’s no way we’re going to be doing Britney, that’s for sure.
What’s the training regime like? We do at least two sessions a week, for two hours. Dubai Rugby Sevens is big business in Melbourne: About 150 professional dancers showed up to the audition. You don’t get many opportunities to fly out to Dubai and become a mini-celebrity.
There’s going to be a Tom Jones tribute act at the end – will you be watching? We always stay around for the festivities. It’s a chance for the girls just to relax, but their flight is early on the Sunday morning so I’m going to have to give them a curfew!