Local dancer added to Alouettes cheerleading squad

Local dancer added to Alouettes cheerleading squad
At left is Cassondra Ruest

CORNWALL, Ontario – Cassondra Ruest has a problem. The thing about her new job she is most looking forward to is also the same thing that is making her more than just a bit nervous.

But it’s a great problem to have.

The soon-to-be graduate of Concordia University has been added to the cheerleading squad for the Montreal Alouettes.

Ruest, a Cornwall native, said in an interview she can’t wait for the Alouette’s season opener this summer – but it will be the first time she has performed in front of a stadium full of people.

“This is one of the biggest things I’ve ever done,” she said.

Ruest has been a student of dance nearly all her life. She is in the final year of the dance program at Concordia and has lent her services to small-scale music videos, promotions and the like.

But this was one of her first high-pressure auditions…and she nailed it.

“It’s stressful,” she said, adding about 150 young women turned up for the audution last weekend. “You just go in as a massive group and they split you up.

“They teach you the routines – it’s pretty lengthy.”

Officials reduced the crowd of hopefuls to 50, and then the girls were split into small groups of five and told to perform the routine again.

“Then they announced the call-backs, and I wasn’t one of them,” she said. “I didnt think I had made it.”

What she didn’t know was that Alouette cheerleading officials didn’t need to call her back, they’d seen enough and had already made the decision to keep her.

Ruest is one of six rookies on the 33-member squad, but the only Anglophone.

“I can understand what they are saying, so I should be ok,” she said of the Francophone-dominated squad.

The CFL schedule is expected to be released next week, but Ruest said the cheerleaders are already at work rehearsing.

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