Thursday, January 18, 2007

I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

East of Boston - Wareham's Own Celtic Dancer

Boston Celtic dancer and Wareham native Cherie Blier was nice enough to do an interview with Cape Cod's nastiest sports page yesterday. It might be "Bleier," but sometimes we don't do that fact-check thing really well here at the sports section. We did nail down the "Cherie" part, though.... but we have a pretty French background here at EOB.


She was driving from Boston to Rhode Izzy when my people talked to her people, so no wine was poured.  There won't be some story like "We closed a bunch of bars, fought a couple of waitresses, drove home on back roads at 110 mph, ended up smoking crack in bed with some Foxy Lady waitress and a Cuban guy named 'Renaldo,' etc..."

No, Cherie actually seems like a pretty nice girl. Besides, her dad's a cop, and- while I don't personally have anything against cops- I'm generally happier when they're not around... especially when they're asking me stuff like "Why can't my daughter stop laughing?" or "Who talked her into a  Bourne To Kill tattoo?"

No... life's too good for that sort of thing, and I'm not even a #1 stunner like Cherie Blier. She has a perky alto voice that belies a seriously impressive resume. She's a college student, owns and operates a cheesecake company, she dances 41 times a year in front of 15,000 people, and most likely spends the other 324 days going "That's very nice, but I have a boyfriend already."

Rather than reading my ramblings, just check out the detailed Q&A. I'm sort of working from some hastily scribbled notes when I put her answers in, so don't anybody get really mad at Cherie if she says something that sounds Monponsettish.


CCToday:  How did you get to become a Celtic dancer?

Cherie: I've been dancing since I was three. My grandmother owns  Baker School Of Dance, and I have training in styles such as Classical, Ballet, Tap, Jazz,etc... The Celtics announced tryouts for their dance squad, and I was lucky enough to be selected from hundreds of girls.

- What's the biggest difference between the cheers one sees at a high school game and the Celtics dancer routine?
We're not cheerleaders. The differences are technical. We don't do lifts, flips, pyramids, or even actual cheers. I've never actually been a cheerleader, even at Wareham High.
- No pyramids? That kills like 4 of my prepared questions... "Can you dunk off the pyramid, is the really tall girl there to catch the girls who do flips, etc..."
Oh well... smiles
- Do you hate it when someone calls you a cheerleader?
Hate, no... but I'd point out that we're dancers, all of whom have a lifetime of experience in various forms and styles of dance. Our routines are also entirely different from the routines cheerleaders do.
- How so?
Cheerleaders try to draw cheers from a crowd, and are positioned on the sidelines. They do simpler routines, with very little in the way of synchronized group movement. They are also constantly doing something during the games- often to the distraction of fans who came to watch the game.
The Celtic dancers perform once between quarters, and during the official timeouts. Other than that, we're off the court entirely.
- You aren't kneeling by the side of the court during play?
We stay in our dressing room when we're not dancing, and we just mass in the runway before the quarter ends.We used to be courtside, but someone complained.
- Wow... what a loser. Was it because he/she hated the concept of Celtic dancers?
No... we were just in the way of the fans and players. I can understand. No one was upset about it.
- What do you think about people who felt that a dance squad was an unwelcome presence at Celtics games?
- No one ever says anything like that to us, personally. We'd read stuff about it in the papers, but there's always going to be someone who doesn't like something. All of us seem to agree that after 20 games or so, everyone (fans/media/players/refs/security) was pretty much used to us.
We're right out there in front of them, and he have a certain degree of intimacy with those who watch us perform. Even those who thought we were like strippers coming in have seen that we're just a dance squad. I've never personally been heckled, and the crowd itself seems to police those who yell something at us.
Kids love us, too.
-  Do the rich guys in the front row hit on you?
It hasn't happened to me, but it has happened. They have to sort of work at it, though... we usually run out, do our routine, and head back to the dressing room.
- "All that dancing must make you tired... care to ride home in my Porsche?"
They're not that creative.
- Ben Affleck behaves?
I haven't seen him. I'm usually more into my routine than any crowd-watching.
 - Who's the tallest guy who stomped on you accidentally?
We were only courtside briefly, and nothing like that happened. They all look pretty tall to me... I'm 5'4".
 - Do you have to follow some sort of hardbody diet, or do you get to chow a steak now and then?
Some girls do, but I've always been able to eat whatever I want and not gain weight. I have a huge appetite. The dancing is pretty intense, and I'm starving when I'm done.
It's actually quite different than people think it is. They were quite specific about the fact that they didn't want certain body types, and the bone thin look was one of them. It's in our contract.
- How do the Californian girls on the squad like this 8 degree weather we're enjoying?
They're, umm, warming to it. They all bought winter clothes back when everyone local was talking about how warm the winter was. It snowed through one of our practices once, and some of the girls were like kids.
- They hadn't seen snow before?
Most of us are locals. Some of the Californians had only seen it on TV, though. They ran out into the snow after practice like kids, and had a snow fight.
- One more thing in this world that just had to happen when I'm not there with a camera.
They also have to learn how to drive in the snow. Be careful in Boston this winter.
- Without asking you to cough up a W-2 or anything... can you make a living as a Celtic dancer, or do you need a side job/rich parents?
Every girl I see there is doing it because she loves to dance and perform. I suppose it could lead to other things, and this job would look good on a resume. A day job comes in handy, though.
I'm in college. This is actually my first real job.
- Did you know that Paula Abdul first rose to prominence as a Laker dancer?
No, I didn't. I can see where it would further her career as a singer/ or a dancer. She sure made it big, though.
- What advice would you give a kid who wanted to grow up to be a Celtic dancer?
Take dance classes, preferably in multiple styles and forms. Work for as many choreographers as possible. Get used to performing in front of a crowd.
- How does the floor at the Boston Garden compare to a dance floor?
It's parquet, so it's very nice in that regard. There's also a lot more going on around you.
- Which Celtic player has the best car?
We don't really interact with them. It's in our contract. I've seen some nice ones pulling out, though.
- No dating the players? There go like 5 more questions. I was looking forward to "Would you date a 7 footer?"
Probably not. I don't want to break my neck to look at a guy. My boyfriend is my size, roughly.
- Which cheerleader won the fistfight over who gets to date that guy who runs around dressed like a leprechaun?
Oh, Lucky? He's great. He's not that "lucky" with the dancers, though.
- They should dress Lucky up so he looks like the dude from that Leprechaun Goes To The Hood movie.
Which Celtic dresses the best?
Paul Pierce was wearing a gorgeous chocolate brown velvet blazer the other night. It may have cost my entire season's Celtic dancer salary. I think they look very nice when they dress up.
We get to see a lot of the player fashion, because they've all been injured so much.
- Has Doc Rivers ever turned to you and been like "If I put you out there, could YOU box out Emeka Okafor??"
No, but he should. Courtney is 6'1".
 - Could you jump up and kick, say, Danny Ainge in the teeth?
How tall is he?
- Danny Ainge is 6'5"
Most likely. I suppose I'd need a good reason to do that. I'm a nice girl, generally.
What's the worst injury you ever saw a cheerleader suffer? I saw a cheerleader get hit in the face with a puck once.
Ow! If you include my time in dancing, I've seen hip flexor injuries, sprains, knee ligament damage... it's a very physical job.
Do you like basketball?
I'd never been to a game before I took this job. I've begun to follow them since, and I find myself more and more into them each day. They've had a tough season, with a lot of injuries. I'm quite a fan of theirs, now.
- If a fight started on court during a Celtics/Knicks game, would you feel any Celtic-based loyalty to run over and deck a Knicks cheerleader?
It most likely wouldn't happen, as the dance teams don't travel with the basketball team. If it came down to it, though....
Yeah... (does best Bill Murray).. you're a Harbour Chick....
If I put $20 on it, could you hit a free throw?
I used to play in my driveway when I was a kid. I could probably do it if I practiced a bit.
- You went to Wareham High School, no?
Class of 2005!
Did you play basketball at WHS?
No. I didn't even cheer. I was teaching dance at my grandmother's studio all through high school.
- Were you like some fat kid who got out of high school and went all Swan?
I was pretty normal in high school. I was friends with everyone.
- What is your favorite part of Wareham?
I love Stony Point Dike..... You couldn't get me off the water as a kid.
- I'm told that you love to fish.
 I used to go fishing every day with my mother...fluke, striper, bluefish, flounder.... we had a commercial license, and we'd sell whatever we caught at the fish market.
Mom loves to fish. Dad would go sometimes, but Mom was the one in charge.
- What's your favorite seafood?
Lobster, scallops, stuffed shrimp... I love the baked stuffed shrimp at Lindsay's.
- Do you consider Wareham to be the last town on the mainland or the first town on the Cape?
It's the Gateway!
- Do you support the establishment of an industrial wind farm on Nantucket Sound?
That's a tough question. You're balancing the needs of property owners and environmentalists with the need for clean power generation. It's not for me to say.
- Are you related to Rocky Bleier?
Who's he?
- Played for the Pittsburgh Steelers... had a leg shot up in Vietnam.. came back to play again.... big TV movie, I think.
Sounds like quite a man. I'll have to look into it.
Is it as much fun being a cheerlea.. umm, dancer if there aren't a bunch of Band Geeks to make fun of?
I'm pretty friendly... I had plenty of band friends in high school.
- Have you ever been like walking down the street, made eye contact with some guy,and he then walks into a tree while gawking at you?
Not a tree. I had a guy walk into a street sign, once. It's funny, because Iwanted him to stop staring at me, and he walked into a STOP sign.
- The good Lord works in many a strange and wondrous way.... so, do guys hit on on you all the time?
Guys treat me fairly well. My father is a police sergeant, and I have several big brothers.
- Did guys show up to date you in high school, and there's this huge buzz-cut police sergeant sitting in the living room,cleaning his service revolver? "I'd be very disappointed if my daughter came home even a little bit past her curfew, Son.... click-click!"
Yeah, it was pretty much like that... then the brothers all make an appearance, as well. Was your father a policeman?
- Mafia. Same thing, effectively.
Oh... k...ummmm.... well, boys always were  extrordinarily polite when we were dating in high school.
What's next for Wareham's favorite (Geena me no Davises- this girl has caught a 50" striper) daughter?
I'm studying to be a baking and pastry arts dessert chef at Johnson and Wales. I'm also studying Culinary Nutrition.
- What's your favorite thing to cook?
Harvest apple cheesecake, graham cracker/walnut crust, apple streudel filling.. My mother and I actually run Mom and Me Cheesecake Company.
- Cherie... you're a proessional dancer and look like're also a Cape girl... expert fisher... pastry chef... you have what must be top-notch sports're intelligent, friendly, and polite....very nice ,an absolutely charming young lady.....has someone asked you to marry them yet?
They will.... trust me.


cneinhorn said...

i wonder if they pay them better than the cowboy cheerleaders who only get $50 a game! sheesh!

lurkynat said...

Wow Smurfette I'm impressed with her!
She amkes it sounds more like you know Irish dancing! How did she up and buy a cheescake factory? fascinating Smurfette..good read

monponsett said...

I don't think it's a cheesecake "factory"... I think that she and her mother operate a small bakery, perhaps even in-house. I plan to order that Harvest Apple cheesecake she was talking about. Johnson and Wales kids know their way around the kitchen.

When she or I say "Celtic dancer," I mean it in a sense that she performs at Boston Celtics basketball games, and is employed by the team. While Cherie may or may not be proficient in the Celtic-Gaelic style of dance, my notes from the interview provide no mention of it.

monponsett said...

While Celtic cheerleaders don't perform as much during a game as the Cowboy cheerleaders (who are nearly constantly in motion) do, the Celtic cheerleaders do 41-50 games a year, and maybe 65-70 if the Celtics make a deep playoff run. I hope they score a lot more bread than the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.

nclrbrt said...

Re: That roughing the passer call changed the game.

Without it, the Colts get a field goal, and the whole tone of the final drive changes.

Instead, the Colts are handed half the phucking red zone, and essentially their tickets to the Bowl.

Whoever made that call should be castrated. I feel as though I can make a very strong case that the refs have eliminated the Patriots for the second straight year.

I hope that Ogunliye or whatever hits Peyton in the back so hard that his own spleen suffocates him. That punk deserves nothing less.

I love the NFL, and I'd hate to see its champion be some guy who couldn't get it done until the refs handed it to him. What a *ussy.

Posted at 10:34PM on Jan 21st 2007 by The Belly Check

The Patriots are the dirtiest team in the league.  I'm tired of hearing about how "classy" they are.  And Belichek is an asshole, too.

dpoem said...

Whoa...  Celtics' Dancers playing in snow?!?  

I just  seem to miss all the fun, don't I?


missgossipnba said...

This was fantabulous.

I was shocked that she didn't know about Paula Abdul being a Laker Girl. But then I realized that she is basically still a teenager. I FEEL OLD.

monponsett said...

I sports blog better than she does, so she can have all that looks-better stuff.

gehi6 said...

This is kind of an amusing interview.  I think it is very thorough.  I feel I really know a lot about this girl after reading this.  I kind of like her.  My sisters and my daughter were cheerleaders so I feel I know a lot about cheerleaders.   One sister could walk on her hands up and down a flight of stairs, so they concentrated on gymnastics or she did.  Ever once in a while I would cuss them for the shallowness of it all, since I considered myself a heavy intellectual at the time, but I was probably just jealous because I knew my ankles were too big and my nose too fat to ever get elected cheerleader!   Gerry