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#ThisIsEndicott - Nicole Manelas ’17

Nicole Manelas performs during a Patriots game.
Full-length photo of Nicole Manelas.

BEVERLY, Mass. — New England Patriots Cheerleader. Business Owner. 2017 Endicott College Summa Cum Laude Graduate.

This is Nicole Manelas and this is HER STORY, in her OWN WORDS.

DREAM COME TRUE

Becoming a Patriots Cheerleader has always been a dream of mine. At the Patriots football games, I always loved watching the cheerleaders perform and I knew I wanted to do that one day. At 19 years old, I decided to audition for the team alongside about 400 other women. I danced my heart out throughout the month-long audition process and was so grateful to have been selected for the 2015 squad. I have been loving every moment since! 

THE MEMORIES

I had the opportunity to cheer at Super Bowl LI where I danced in red, white, and blue confetti as the Patriots made Super Bowl history. I will NEVER forget the experience of that Super Bowl, it is something I will cherish forever. 

I also was able to perform in Super Bowl LII which is incredible because there are cheerleaders that never get to experience a Super Bowl and I was able to experience two back-to-back! I have also traveled to Mexico City to perform and promote the NFL Mexico game - Patriots vs. Raiders. Additionally, I have modeled in three calendars thus far where I traveled to Aruba, the Dominican Republic, and The Bahamas. I just made the team for my fourth year and I am so excited for my last season!

THE LAST SEASON

The Patriots Cheerleaders have a four-year maximum before retirement. This year marks my fourth and final year. I can't help but smile and be extremely grateful for my time on the squad. It has further developed me as a person as I am always making appearances in the community by visiting orphanages, hospitals, military bases, and other charitable events. I have had so many wonderful experiences off of the field that I can thank the Patriots Organization for. I have traveled to some amazing places and cheered at two Super Bowls.

Most importantly, I have made lifelong friends in the sisterhood that is the New England Patriots Cheerleaders. When it's all over, I will miss standing on the field at Gillette Stadium looking up to 70,000 fans. It is exhilarating each and every time. This final season of mine, I look forward to appreciating everything that I am able to do and not taking a single second for granted as I will have a lot of last times.

BEING A CAPTAIN

This is my third season as a captain. The role is chosen by my coach and director, Tracy Sormanti. Being a captain means running the show on gameday. I am responsible for my own line where I call out dances to all of the songs that come on in the stadium at random. When ladies need extra help, I will schedule additional practices with them. 

Captains are the go-to women. We help guide everyone so that they are completely prepared for each and every practice and promotional appearance. We work very closely with our coach and director to make sure the team is functioning at its full potential. 

Most importantly, being a captain is being a role model to the team. We must lead by example, meaning that we have our routines perfect, we are early to every practice and event, and we are overall setting a good example to the rest of the team.

THE ENDICOTT EXPERIENCE

Endicott helped me by teaching me to learn great time management skills. I was on the dance team for my first two years at Endicott while also pursuing a minor in dance. I knew how to balance being a full-time student with being an athlete as well. This made the transition easy when I made the Patriots Cheerleading team. 

The dance program at Endicott also pushed me to keep improving my skills and knowledge as a dancer which can only be beneficial when joining a professional dance team like the Patriots Cheerleaders. 

I am currently opening my own dance and fitness center in Derry, N.H. called The Vitality Place. I was a business entrepreneurship major at Endicott in addition to my dance minor and I have used knowledge from both to go after my dream career. I am eager to share my love and experiences in dance and fitness with others, which is why I am so thrilled to take the leap of faith and start my own company.

WHY DANCE/CHEER?

From a young girl, I was always dancing around the house putting on shows for anyone who would watch me.  My mom recognized my passion for it and put me in dance lessons at age three. I later started cheerleading at age seven where I was eager to learn how to stunt and tumble. My mom put me in tumbling lessons and watched me work so hard to gain skills such as handsprings, tucks, and layouts. 

My mom was always willing to support my dreams even if most people felt they were unrealistic. 

I later competed in dance all through high school and into college. Fast forward to making the Patriots cheerleading team and my mom still supports me from the crowd watching me dance and flip across the field witnessing first-hand that it was all worth it. 

I dance because I love to perform. I love being able to entertain. 

When I am on that field I feel completely in my element, and just overwhelming happy. I love to dance for myself as well in an open studio just improvising. I feel connected to the music and I am able to simply dance from the heart and from the soul. I love that dance is both an art and an athletic. Dancers are strong and powerful, and able to tell stories with combinations of movement.

WHAT SHOULD PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT BEING A PATRIOTS CHEERLEADER?

The team is made up of unique, strong, and intelligent women.  

Every member is determined and dedicated to the role. We all support one another to be the best versions of ourselves. We stay accountable for our fitness, and our dance routines. We workout almost daily to keep our bodies healthy and strong. We put in so many hours outside of practice so that every practice is more like a performance. 

Our season runs as long as the Patriots advance, and then we begin auditions again in March, so we don't have much of an offseason. It really is an all year commitment. 

We also are not guaranteed a spot on the team and every year we all must re-audition to earn our position back for the following season.

THE VITALITY PLACE

The Vitality Place strives to provide people with a community where they feel a strong connection and sense of belonging to something greater. 

With self-love and body confidence at the core of its practice, The Vitality Place offers classes in dance and fitness so that getting in a great workout is the fun part of your day! The Vitality Place provides you with proper training to make fitness become a part of your lifestyle. 

The Vitality Place will train you in dance to prepare you for future auditions for college teams, NFL Cheerleading teams, NBA dance teams, Disney, cruise ships, backup dancers, and more! 

The Vitality Place wants you to follow your dreams and passions because we know nothing is out of reach when you are willing to put in the work!

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(Cover Photo Credit - Dwight Darian; Full-Length Photo Credit - Robert Hare)