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Sparkle and Soul: A Personal Take on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Netflix Series – by Michael Cornell

Grit. Focus. Musicality. Precision. Fluidity. Line. Flexibility. Dynamics. Athleticism. Dedication.

When I list these qualities, you might think I’m describing the dancers at American Ballet Theater. Surprise! I’m actually talking about my latest Netflix obsession, “America’s Sweethearts: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.” Tune in for the split jumps, stay for the soulful moves that these dancers deliver straight from their hearts—each sparkle on their micro shorts shines with their passion.

“America’s Sweethearts” isn’t just a show; it’s a world within a world. At face value, it’s about stunningly talented dancers chasing their dreams. But beneath the glitter, it’s a deep dive into the unique culture of the Dallas Cowboys. Say what you will about Jerry Jones and his crew, they know their brand inside out—they stick to their guns like seasoned pros. I tip my hat to their top-notch organization skills.

There’s so much to unpack here, but let’s start with what hooked me: these dancers are technical wizards. The show cleverly mixes in clips of their competition routines and dance classes, showcasing their incredible skills. They’ve got the lines, the power, the lyrical grace—all in one package. Hats off to the producers for highlighting their artistry so beautifully.

And these dancers aren’t just pretty faces; they’re sharp as tacks. Back in my day, people often underestimated dancers’ smarts. Let me tell you, learning their cheer routines—twenty-five of them, mind you—in just weeks takes serious brainpower. “It’s a skill set that deserves major respect. Trust me, mastering even one routine on that unforgiving astro-turf is tough as nails.

But what really shines through is their heart. That’s the thread that ties this whole spectacle together. Behind the scenes, you hear it in their voices—their love for the choreography, the sheer joy of performing. These girls live to dance, and it shows in every move they make. The secret to their greatness? It’s that undeniable passion that lights up the screen. America’s Sweethearts know how to bring it!

Two standout figures steal the show: Kelli Finglass, the director, and Judy Trammell, the head choreographer. These two know the game because they play it straight. Leading isn’t easy, and making tough calls comes with the territory, but these pros handle it with grace. I admire how they lay it all out—honesty and logic in every decision. Sometimes, two weeks just isn’t enough time to perfect that high-level technique, and they’re not afraid to say it. Building strong foundations takes time, and these two get it.

I appreciate how Kelli and Judy set the bar high not just for skill, but for professionalism. It’s not just about kicks; it’s about how you treat your team. Every organization could learn from their example. When you demand respect and unity, cliques and toxicity fade away. Toxicity? It’s the worst enemy of any group.

Now, don’t get me wrong—Cowboys Cheerleaders know their standards. But if I were to nitpick, it’s that sometimes those standards feel a bit cringy. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and ages, and showcasing only one ideal leaves out so much of the beauty in diversity. Who am I to talk? Just someone who’s seen the toll of body image pressures. Variety is the spice of life, and sometimes, visual diversity wouldn’t hurt.

But credit where it’s due—the show dives fearlessly into tough topics like mental health and body image. I give the Cowboy organization high marks for allowing the discussion. This show deeply illustrates our cultures plague of perfectionism and the trauma of unrealistic appearance standards. It’s not just glitter and glam; there’s substance here.

In summary, “America’s Sweethearts” inspired me in ways I didn’t expect. It’s a salute to the hard work of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders—they’re a force. Here’s hoping this show dances on for seasons to come, inspiring folks everywhere to get up, get moving, and dance.

About The Author – Michael Cornell is the founder of the Align Ballet Method which provides authentic classical ballet training for adults. The Align Ballet Method has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and Vogue. Michael spent a decade as a principle dancer with BalletMet and had leading roles created for him by the most innovative choreographers of his generation.

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