When the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders take the field in the fall, a TCU student hopes to be among them.
Joining the squad is a longtime dream of Courtney Johnson, a first-year strategic communication major.
“I see DCC as a sisterhood of incredible, inspiring, poised leaders,” Johnson said. “Once I met some of the current cheerleaders, I became even more encouraged, and knew I wanted to be in their position.”
Johnson devotes more than 20 hours a week to dance, taking classes at TCU as well as taking private lessons with current DCC members.
Johnson has been training for the DCC auditions since August 2013, going from two to seven prep classes a week.
A typical day for Johnson starts with a 6 a.m. workout class at the University Recreation Center.
From there, Johnson works at the front desk of Sherley Hall, where she works on her homework assignments. After work, she attends classes until 5 p.m, and then immediately heads to dance practice.
Most of the time, Johnson drives to Dallas to train with current and alumnae DCC cheerleaders, choreographers and the technical coach, Kitty Carter. Johnson said she generally gets back to her dorm at either 1 or 2 a.m.
“I am so busy, and I love it.” Johnson said. “It makes my life so exciting.”
Along with dance practice, Johnson studies the history of the Dallas Cowboys by listening to podcasts on her walks to class. She also said that when she carpools to dance with friends, they have practice interview sessions.
The hopeful Dallas Cowboys cheerleader said she never stops dancing. When the Rec Center multipurpose rooms are closed, she uses the mirrors in the locker room. If that doesn’t work, she lines up mirrors in her room to practice.
Melinda McNatt, Johnson’s former coach of eight years and owner of Spirit of Tyler gym, said that Courtney is one of the hardest workers she’s ever worked with.
“She would be the first in the gym and the last to leave,” McNatt said.
Johnson said her ultimate goal is to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, but along the way she hopes to be an inspiration to others.
“I want other people to know that it feels incredible to pursue your dreams,” Johnson said.
Christen Lockett, a first-year pre-business major, describes Johnson as having “a beautiful spirit that shines through her dancing.”
Johnson said she wants to join other Horned Frogs who have ties to the Dallas Cowboys.
In 1961, TCU defensive tackle Bob Lilly was the Dallas Cowboys’ first draft choice, and the current DCC director is a TCU alumna. The DCC have also included former TCU Showgirls alumnae Kelsey Bond, Jordan Daigle and Emma Dutton in recent years.
“I used to dream about coming to TCU, training at the elite dance studios in Dallas, and auditioning for DCC,” Johnson said. “Now I have translated those dreams into goals.”
Auditions for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders will start May 10.