Wildcat Tracks: Kayla Hayes ’18
Many of us try different activities as a child, but few people are talented enough to take them from a hobby to a career. Kayla Hayes began dancing at a young age and just achieved her dream of dancing for one of the most prestigious NFL squads: the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. “I began dancing at age three and grew up competing in all styles of dance at DK Dance Productions (in St. Louis) until graduating from high school,” says Kayla. “I had always dreamed of dancing professionally since I was a little girl.”
During her time as a high school student at Westminster, Kayla served as a student ambassador and peer counselor. Both roles helped shape her people skills—a trait that would be valuable later in life. And to cement her cheering status, Kayla says Spirit Week was her favorite week of the year!
“Looking back, I can confidently say Westminster prepared me academically for college as well as continuing to grow in my faith. What I loved most is that every teacher truly wants to see you succeed and is so supportive in and out of the classroom. My education and experiences from Westminster have shaped me into the person I am today.”
This past spring, Kayla graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor of Arts in Critical Communication and Media Studies. She was a four-year member of the Butler dance team and was the team captain in her junior and senior years. During this time, Kayla felt she didn’t want her dance career to end after college. “Once I began dancing at football and basketball games on Butler’s dance team, I realized I wanted to pursue being a professional dancer in the NFL because I loved performing, but I also wanted to continue serving the community.” Kayla then set her sights on the arduous process of auditioning for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. It’s a three-month process entailing virtual submissions and in-person interviews, which culminate in a weeks-long training camp in Dallas every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
“Dancing at Butler for four years helped prepare me for DCC auditions by helping me become familiar with game day performance and pom style. The audition process was pretty intense. It began with a preliminary, virtual video submission of a one-minute solo,” Kayla said. “The second round involved learning a routine they sent through video, performing their famous kick line, and answering interview questions. After that round, I made it to the final in-person round, where I performed a solo on the field. From there, I was selected with 50 other girls into a nine-week training camp where they would narrow down throughout the summer to their final team of 37.” Her hard work paid off, and Kayla received great news in August. “I found out I made the team the first week of August. We were having a normal practice in our studio, watching back videos from the week, and a slideshow appeared on the TV announcing that we all had made the team. We were also surprised by seeing our locker for the first time with our uniform!”
Aside from being a part of a world-famous cheer team, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are well known for their civic-mindedness in Dallas and beyond. “Besides performing at football games, we are also heavily involved in the community. We do appearances and performances at high schools, work events, senior living homes, food banks, and so much more! One of my favorite things about being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader is meeting people in the Dallas community and inspiring other young boys and girls.”
You can follow Kayla’s DCC journey on Instagram: @_kaylahayes