You might recognize Errin Williams as the hostess for the Bellevue Club’s Splash restaurant. But this year, you can also spot the Eastside native and classically trained dancer in a very different arena as she cheers on the Seattle Seahawks. At just 18 years old, this fall Williams is debuting as one of the youngest Sea Gals on the field.
Reflections magazine: When did you start thinking about trying out for the Sea Gal squad?
Errin Williams: During my senior year in high school, my drill team coach mentioned it to me. She said, “A couple other [drill] coaches have been contacting me, saying you would be perfect as a Sea Gal.” I never really thought about it before. I knew I wanted to further my dance career, but I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do that. I was planning on taking courses in college, but I thought this would be more fun, being on the field, and it’s a different style. I figured, you know, why not? So I talked to one of the coaches, and we did a small session where she answered all my questions.
RM: What was her advice?
EW: She told me, of course, to dance big. And to always smile and never forget that the coaches could be looking at me at any time. So you always want to be looking presentable and up to par. You always want to sell it. That’s like a huge saying in that arena—“to sell it.” Always sell it. So then I looked into the workshops that they have. I attended a few of those. Finally auditions came around, and I fought for it.
RM: What was the audition process like? How long did it take?
EW: It was a lot of waiting. We played the waiting game.
RM: I read there were about 200 girls trying out for 32 spots?
EW: Yes. So you do the workshops, and then you go in and dance. They look at you, your appearance and how you dance. They’re looking to see if you can do the Sea Gal’s style and how you manage that.
RM: What’s specific about the Sea Gal’s style?
EW: You have to know how to whip your hair [laughs]. That was hard for me. My neck was sore after the first day. But you have to control the hair, because if you’re going for a spin and your hair is in your face, it just doesn’t work. So you have to know where to place your hair. And there are other little things you have to pay attention to: your arms, your steps. They just really make sure that you can look like the choreographer, that you’re mastering the style, plus adding your own something to it.
RM: And you audition every year, right? It’s a one-year gig?
EW: Yes. It’s very nerve-racking. You don’t know if you’re going to make it the next year. You just have to go in with that mentality that every year starts new. She [Sherri Thompson, Sea Gals Director] starts with a whole new team. You just never know.
RM: Do a lot of veterans keep going through?
EW: A lot of veterans will usually keep going through. She’ll bring them back because it’s always good to have those core girls that you know will be good examples. Usually they have a pretty good shot.
RM: And you are the youngest one on the crew?
EW: I am one of the youngest, yes. I think we have three 18-year-olds now. She [Sherri] got a couple new ones. I know when I was going through the audition process I was only 17. So I was scared because all the girls are older, and they seem prettier and fitter. It was scary, but you just have to go into it with some sort of confidence and figure out how to get over all that negative talk in your head.
RM: Are you nervous about being on the national stage, especially coming off a Super Bowl win?
EW: It’s definitely crazy; it’s overwhelming. But, you know, it’s not anything that I can’t handle. Right now we’re just taking it slow. There’s not too much going on now for me because I’m a rookie. Some of the veterans are busy with appearances. But, overall, this season is like a fresh start. Of course the fans are always going to see them as Super Bowl champions, but to the players, they have to start all over again. They always keep that mentality, and we just go with the flow.
RM: Have you met a lot of the players? Do you guys interact a lot?
EW: No. I haven’t really met any of the players. We do our own things; we’re kind of separate. We’ll go to an appearance, and it might be “Hey! Football players are here.” But we never really cross too much.
RM: So where do you see this going for you in the future? Would you like to keep doing it for a couple years?
EW: I would hope so if I keep making it. If Sherri keeps taking me, I would definitely want to continue, see how long I can go.
RM: And you’re also going to college in the fall?
EW: Yes, I am going to Bellevue College. I’ll start that this fall.
RM: And beyond that? Do you have dreams to own your own dance studio one day?
EW: I have thought of that. I have always wanted to open up a studio for autistic children. When I danced at Evergreen, there was a girl there my age, and she had a mental disability. You couldn’t tell in her dancing; she’s a beautiful dancer, but she talked a little different. And that’s when I realized she had some type of disability. I thought that was amazing, and thought it would be cool to open up a studio for kids who sometimes don’t really feel like they have a chance.