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Cheerleaders Head to India to Create Squad

The best in the world of professional cheerleading will be creating a new era in a new world.

The Redskins Cheerleaders will travel to India on April 10 to create the first-ever cheerleading squad in that country for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, part of the new Indian Premier League (IPL). The inaugural game is April 18.

The Redskin Cheerleaders will stay to conduct a national audition of Indian women. The squad's choreographers will remain with the Royal Challengers until the end of the season in mid-June and conduct clinics throughout India.

The Royal Challengers cricket franchise is owned by Dr. Vijay Mallya, through his company Royal Challengers sports private limited--a 100 percent subsidiary of United Spirits Limited.

Cheerleaders in cricket is a new concept in India, although teams from South Africa and Australia have had cricket cheerleaders.

Twelve cheerleaders and two choreographers will spend 18 days touring the country and performing at major events, and to cheer at the first four games on the Royal Challengers.

President Venkat Vardhan of DNA Networks, the largest event and entertainment promoter in India and the producers of the IPL pregame and in-game entertainment, introduced cheerleading to the IPL.

Vardhan contacted his long-time partner George Veras, President of Veras Communications and former Vice President of Broadcasting and Productions for the Cleveland Browns, to get the ball rolling.

VCI has had a relationship with DNA Networks since 1997, when VCI produced the worldwide TV special, "Yanni Live at the Taj Mahal."

"Cheerleading is a unique American spirit and the fact that it now is a bridge into India and their national sport cricket, speaks to the world vision of the Washington Redskins and DNA Networks," Veras said.

Veras called his former NFL colleague Larry Michael, the voice of the Redskins, to inquire about the Redskins interest in the unique project.

Of course, the Redskins Cheerleaders welcomed the challenge.

Melanie Treanor, Director of Marketing for the cheerleaders, has been helping prepare the cricket team to market the auditions in India and making travel arrangements for the Redskins Cheerleaders.

Traveling with the cheerleaders to India will be Entertainment and Cheerleading Director Donald Wells.

Just two days after their arrival in Bangalore on April 13, the Redskins Cheerleaders will hold the first-ever professional cheerleader auditions in India.

"I have been working for weeks creating the new uniforms and working on the smaller details that it takes to create a squad from scratch," Wells said.

Two weeks after India's first-ever cheerleading team is announced, the group will be on the field dancing side by side with the Redskins Cheerleaders.

The cheerleaders have taken their style of dance and had Indian dancers come in to teach Bollywood Hip Hop for a dance routine.

"This fusion of dance backgrounds has created a new amazing style," Wells said. "I am really looking forward to the reaction of India towards the Redskins Cheerleaders. I've known what we are doing is cutting edge and it's great to see that we are going to start this squad off on the right foot."

The Redskins Cheerleaders will return from India at the end of April, but Donald and two-year veteran Sharica will stay behind for three more weeks to work with the Royal Challenger Cheerleaders through the paces and teach them the sport or American cheerleading.

"I am so honored to be able to help create history," Sharica said.

On May 14, Wells will hand over the new squad to Stephanie Jojokian, Director and Choreographer of the Redskins Cheerleaders.

Jojokian will spend 10 days working with the Bangalore Cheerleaders.

"I am looking forward to coaching the India team and watching them unite as team, improve as individuals and feel the same type of pride and dedication our cheerleaders feel by working hard and accomplishing goals," Jojokian said.

By the time the initiative is complete, the Redskins Cheerleaders will have spent more than 10 weeks creating a new cheerleading world in India.

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