DCC Alumni Spotlight – Courtney Barfield Sparks
Courtney Sparks has had quite the success in the professional dance and theater world, even before she began her journey as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Being a DCC was something that she had been dreaming about since she was a little girl. Her interest first sparked in the organization at a young age in her hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. She watched the Jerry Lewis Telethon, which was filmed in Missouri, and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders would perform throughout the telethon. She remembers watching the show broadcasted Live and her parents asking her “Do you think you could do that?” At that point, Courtney was already on the path of making dance a career for herself. She had been training in all styles of dance since the age of 5. She said, “Oh, yes! I want to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.”
Before Courtney earned her boots and stars, she attended Oklahoma City University where she earned her BFA in Dance Performance. She also had the opportunity to dance professionally for Opryland Productions, Celebrity Cruise Lines, and in New York! When asked what her theatrical dream role would be in a show, she said that when she was young, she always wanted to be Victoria, the white cat in the Musical “Cats.” As she grew as a dancer there were so many roles and musicals she would have loved to be a part of. She said that her favorite shows that she got the opportunity to perform in were “Anything Goes” and “42nd Street”. After Courtney spent some time in the professional theatrical world, she yearned for more stability in her career. She moved back to Oklahoma to work on her Masters degree but was having a difficult time giving up her love of performing. She said that around that time, she remembered watching MTV’s “Road Rules Europe” and saw the late Michelle Parma compete on it, who was a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. On the episode Courtney happened to watch, Michelle had to do a cheerleading skill to highlight the fact that she was a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. In that moment, Courtney was reminded of her childhood dream to dance with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and recalled saying to herself “If I could make it onto the squad, I could have a stable job and still have the opportunity to perform.” She threw herself into preparing for the auditions. She remembers traveling back and forth from Oklahoma City to Texas to attend the DCC Prep Classes at Valley Ranch during the week. Many late nights driving and a lot of miles later she went to Texas Stadium and hoped for the best.
Courtney cheered for the Dallas Cowboys from 2001-2004. During her years as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, Courtney served as a member of the Show Group and performed the National Anthem at several games. She also got the opportunity to sing and dance for our troops on several USO tours. She served as a 2nd Group Leader from 2002-2003 and served as a Group Leader in her final year as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader from 2003-2004.
When I asked Courtney what her biggest piece of advice to individuals who want to pursue a career in dance, she said, “Go to every audition you can. If you don’t get the job don’t let it get you down. Think of it as a free dance class and another opportunity to learn and grow. She also expressed how thankful she has been to have a job and career in something that she loves so deeply. She encouraged those who have that to be thankful for it because “there is nothing that compares with that.”
I asked Courtney if she could give her Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader self any words of advice, what would it be? She said that she would tell herself to “soak every moment in.” She reflected on her rookie season where she wished she would have taken the opportunity to enjoy her experience more. She also reflected on her final season as a DCC, saying how she made sure to take in every single last moment spent in the locker room with her fellow teammates before she left her DCC family behind to start a family of her own. She said it was “like being in the best sorority ever.” She said that she still keeps in contact with several of her teammates and is so thankful for the sisterhood of this organization.
After Courtney’s time as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, she continued her involvement with the organization. She helped with the summer camps and the Junior DCC program for several years. She also took the time to help out All-Stars with suite visits and major halftime performances. She taught dance at Kitty Carter’s Dance Factory in Dallas, TX for nine years. She has been represented by a local talent agent and has appeared in several commercials and print ads. She is married to Dustin Sparks and Dallas attorney and the have three boys together. I really enjoyed talking to Courtney about her experiences as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and as a professional dancer. She is such an amazing individual who truly encompasses all of the traits a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader should possess.