When the Cleveland Cavaliers tip off tonight in Quicken Loans Arena for their first home game of the season, fans from Case Western Reserve University might see a familiar face on the court: Bry Atchison.
A junior majoring in English, Atchison is one of the newest members of the Cavalier Girls dance team.
With the Cavs coming off a postseason berth that ended in the Finals, Atchison and the other Cavalier Girls will help keep the crowd in the game all season—and hopefully into the post-season.
“To be a Cavalier Girl means to be a super-fan,” Atchison said. “I have the awesome opportunity to stand in the front of the [arena], helping build the excitement of the fans and dancing for the city that I adore.”
Atchsion has been dancing since she was 2 years old, so she had ample experience when she went up against 100 women for one of 20 spots at Cavalier Girl tryouts this past summer.
Her years of work paid off. She’s now part of the dance team, giving full center-court performances during each game, cheering on the sidelines throughout the evening and working to keep the crowd’s energy up during timeouts.
This isn’t Atchison’s first experience on a dance team for Cleveland sports: Two years ago, she was part of the Cleveland Gladiators’ dance crew.
But switching from arena league football to professional basketball meant some adjustments for Atchison—notably, the increased time commitment. The Gladiators only had nine regular-season home games, compared to the Cavs’ 41.
Plus, the dancers typically must arrive at the arena three to four hours before tip-off, in order to complete a two-hour practice before heading out to the court to amp up the crowd.
In addition, Atchison makes time for her other passions—including being the reigning Miss Greater Cleveland and a former Miss Ohio contestant.
And, of course, there is her full course load at CWRU.
Originally, Atchison came to Case Western Reserve to further her studies in dance, but when she joined the Cavalier Girls dance team, she decided to make her major a minor. Meanwhile, she’s continued to pursue English as a major to prepare her for law school.
“I can’t even remember the first time I said ‘I’m going to be a lawyer,’ ” she said. “That’s how long I think it’s been.”
Atchison expects to graduate in December 2016 (a semester early), and hopes she’ll make the Cavalier Girls team next year so she can devote time to dance. Then, she intends to attend law school—ideally near a professional sports team so she can continue to dance.
“It’s my outlet. It’s my way of dealing with whatever stresses or whatever good or bad feelings I may have,” Atchison said. “Everyone has that one thing that they look to whenever they just want to get away from reality or whatever it may be, and dance is mine.”
See her in action at a Cavs game this season—but first, read her answers to this week’s five questions.
1. What’s the one place in Cleveland that’s your must-visit for out-of-towners?
Probably Chagrin Falls. I graduated high school in Greenville, S.C., and that area really reminds me a lot of downtown Greenville with all the falls and the little boutique shops. It’s really cute. I love it.
2. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a teacher?
This goes along with my major. My elementary school’s motto was “read, read, read.” I’ve always used reading as a way to take me to places I’ve never gone before. As an English major, I’m reading hundreds of pages all the time, so “read, read, read” is definitely the best advice.
3. What’s the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I don’t actually like wearing makeup, even though I have to do it for my job.
4. What famous person—past or present—would you most like to have dinner with and where would you go?
Beyonce, and to the fanciest restaurant in New York—although I don’t know the name of one because I’ve never been to one. But something fabulous. Beyonce is such an inspiration. As a performer and an African-American female, seeing how far she’s come in her singing and dancing, is really inspirational to me.
5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
I would definitely have to say the location. When I first moved here, people were like, “Cleveland? Isn’t it kind of dangerous?” But I feel so safe. Especially with the security officers here—they’re so nice, and they’re always willing to help out. I really love the location of where we are: It’s close to downtown, and it’s a nice little area right next to museums. And, of course, the security officers do everything they can to keep us as safe as possible.