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Strutters advance to Las Vegas on ‘America’s Got Talent’

By Meagan Singletary
University News Service
July 25, 2008

The Texas State Strutters advanced to Las Vegas
on the NBC program "America's Got Talent

The Texas State University-San Marcos Strutters have made their way past the first round of judging on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” television show to the Las Vegas callbacks.

If they make it through this round they will compete with the other qualifying acts to take part in the live semi-finals where the audience watching from home will vote for their favorite acts and ultimately decide who has got talent worthy of a million dollars.

The Strutters have performed in many different arenas. They have taken part in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, MTV’s Total Request Live, five motion pictures, a national Coca-Cola commercial and numerous NFL halftime show games. These might have been some of the things that attracted the casting director from “America’s Got Talent” to them.

“We were pursued by ‘America’s Got Talent.’ The casting director from ‘America’s Got Talent’ contacted me over spring break and said they were looking for a unique, high-kick performance group to audition for their show and that we fit all of the qualifications they were looking for,” said Strutters director of 12 years Susan Angell.

The Strutters had never entered a talent competition because they think of themselves more as performers. 

“This is the first time that we have been in a talent competition because we are entertainers,” said Angell. “We’re not a competitive team. It’s all about entertainment for Strutters. It’s about representing Texas State University and being role models and bringing recognition to our university.”

However, they couldn’t pass up the experience of performing on this television show.

“It was definitely surreal. We did not expect to go past the L.A. auditions,” said Strutters head captain and Friendswood native Ashley Caterina. “We were just overwhelmed with excitement. It was a wonderful opportunity. No words can possibly explain the feeling we got when we were performing.”

“They got out there and they held their composure and they performed just beautifully,” said Angell. “The audience went wild and gave them a standing ovation.”

The Strutters only had a short period of time to put together their routine and perfect it before going in front of the judges. In preparation for the show the girls were put on an all-vegetable, fruit and carbohydrate diet. When their legs succumbed to the strain of doing countless high-kicks and splits they were put into ice baths.

“We only had two nights to put this together. So we were up in Strahan coliseum until midnight,” said Julia Kelley, junior captain and native of Australia.

The Strutters performing on “America’s Got Talent” will certainly bring more attention to Texas State and it might also be a recruiting tool not only for the Strutters but for the university as a whole.

“I think we’ll finally be noticed. Even if people don’t end up coming here it will bring a lot more people to visit the campus and see what we’re about and discover us and spread the word,” said Kelley, a dance major.

“I think it’s going to bring a lot of publicity to Texas State University. I think it’s a good recruiting tool,” said Angell. “I get fulfillment knowing that I might have helped recruit someone to come to Texas State--even if they’re not a Strutter. Nothing thrills me more than to have someone come to the school that I graduated from.”

The Strutters’ drive and passion for performing and close bond with each other has helped them to excel to the level they have on “America’s Got Talent.”

“These are girls that come together for one passion and that’s to dance. We’re kind of like a sorority but I feel like we’re closer,” said Caterina, a senior dance major.

“We have so much fun it’s not like work. It’s a fun extracurricular activity that we get to give back to the university through,” said Kelley.

Giving back to the university is one of the things the Strutters strive to achieve as representatives of Texas State.

“I think that the student body needs to know that the Strutters love Texas State,” said Angell. “They care and they want to give back to the university.”