If the IPL is a lot about having fun, the cheerleaders provide a major share of it. Dancing on platforms near the boundary ropes, they also bring the crowd to its feet.
Despite being a hit so far, escalating costs seem to have nicked the teams’ idea of having their own cheerleaders. Instead, the organisers have made venue-specific arrangements. There are fixed set of cheerleaders in each centre who perform for all the teams.
Danielle Nichol was in the Super Kings’ yellow on Thursday after having donned colours of the Knight Riders a few days earlier. “I love the IPL. I was dancing during the T20 World Cup in 2007 also, but this is better,” said the student of psychology, who is also a professional dancer.
In Durban, 20 girls were selected from a group of 40-odd after an audition and they had practice sessions for a week before getting to set the stage ablaze. “It’s fun to perform in front of such crowds and well-paying as well," said Danielle, whose CV includes dancing in the Hindi flick Race which was shot partly in Durban.
Ebashnee Pillay turned out to be the most interesting of the mix. Born to Tamil and South African parents, she learnt Bharatnatyam in Chennai for three years before deciding to concentrate on the modern stuff.
“I'm doing a lot of professional dancing all over South Africa apart from working in theatres. I always wanted to be a dancer and that's why took classes in Indian classical dance, but now I want to do more of what's in at the moment,” said Ebashnee.
For some, it's not just about having fun. Cheyne Lister is a South African and student of arts. To make ends meet, she chose to perform at the IPL which is helping her earn more than what she does as a babysitter. Different backgrounds, different objectives and different needs — these cheerleaders have one thing in common and that is work. Entertaining others and getting entertained themselves, they are having fun.