DCC Alumni Spotlight – Alyssa Sarasani Rouls
THE DCC SISTERHOOD: A TRADITION OF BONDING AND INSPIRATION
By DCC Savannah
I had the pleasure of interviewing Alyssa Rouls, a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader alum who cheered during the 2010 and 2011 season. Alyssa grew up in Ohio and distinctly remembers watching football on TV throughout her childhood. She chuckled when she told me her dad was an avid Cleveland Browns fan who would get a little annoyed when his daughter only wanted to watch Dallas Cowboys games. It wasn’t the players that Alyssa wanted to see though. She really wanted to watch her idols and the girls she looked up to: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Her dream to become one of “America’s Sweethearts” began when she was a little girl and came true in 2010.
Alyssa didn’t take formal dance classes, receiving most of her training from her high school pom squad and her college dance team. But her dance experience grew to include performing for an arena football team, a hockey team, and for the NBA as a Dallas Mavericks dancer.
The audition process was the same ten years ago as it is now. Alyssa still remembers her Bollywood fusion dance solo that won her a coveted spot at DCC training camp. While on the team she danced to “Thunderstruck”, the pregame dance with kick line that is still done today. It is pretty amazing that, like the iconic uniform, some of the choreography withstood the test of time and is still done decades later.
Alyssa’s favorite memory is coming out of the tunnel for her very first game as a DCC. She said she would never forget the moment the team was announced. “You just want it so much and I had tried out three times…the feeling of finally making it was unlike anything I could ever explain!”.
Alyssa was 24 when she became a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and cherishes her year on the team, all the experiences she enjoyed and lessons she learned. “I really was always pushing myself to boundaries I never thought I could achieve. I was challenged mentally and physically. You learn as you go, and what I learned is that you don’t have to do it all or be it all. A lot of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be the best at everything. Everyone has different strengths and everyone on the squad was selected for a different reason.”
Alyssa says she didn’t feel like she was the strongest dancer on the team, especially amongst the many technically trained studio dancers, so she embraced her strength, which was her ability to interact with people on appearances. She was trusted to go out into the community to represent the Cowboys and be an ambassador of the squad. “I loved nursing home visits and children’s hospital visits. I really loved being involved with the community. That one-on-one interaction with kids was special. I felt like I got to put on my superhero outfit and make people happy.”
When asked what she misses the most, Alyssa responds that it’s the experience as a whole – being a part of such an incredible organization and being around so many amazing and inspiring women. Her advice to the current squad is to, “…enjoy every moment. Treasure the moments you will never get back. There’s nothing in my life I’ve experienced quite like being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. I had a lot on my plate, and there were some stressful moments, but it’s worth juggling everything in life to do this because it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Alyssa’s DCC experience didn’t end when her season ended though. She continues to be an active member in the alumni association and has enjoyed attending the alumni events throughout the years. “Seeing former teammates is so fun! The coolest alumni event was the 50th anniversary dinner. That was the event when our alumni from the 70s got their pinky rings unifying of all the alumni. It was not only fun to see my teammates, but it was amazing to meet and hear stories from alumni that span the team’s entire history.” The strong DCC tradition continues.
I asked her if she ever gets out her pompoms to perform old routines. “No. I would break my neck if I tried! But I do break out the pompoms with my two little girls when we have some free-style dance parties.” Her cheering experience is something she now shares with her daughters. Both are interested in dance. One even attended a DCC Academy Camp and their dance teachers at their local dance studio are current DCC.
Alyssa’s DCC experience, both active and retired, demonstrates the closeness of the DCC sisterhood and the ability of the DCC organization and its members to span generations in order to keep their time-honored traditions alive, meaningful and relevant.