This week, Elon University senior and dance team co-captain Lindsey Rothenstein will log onto her dance classes via Zoom. It’s not for a team practice or an academic course, but rather her first practice as a dancer for the Command Force — the performance group for the Washington Commanders.

A D.C. area resident, Rothenstein said she wanted to move back to the area because it seemed like the right fit, being that she’s also a political science major. She said she loved everything about the Commanders’ dance team.

“Performing with the team at Schar Center and at Rhodes Stadium has been the biggest thing that actually made me want to perform professionally because I loved the energy that comes with game days. I was not ready to give that up,” Rothenstein said.

Rothenstein auditioned for the team in late April. She said she knew she wanted to continue at the professional level last summer, and she’s spent the year doing research and attending various preparation classes. The audition process was four days long and Rothenstein said cuts were made along the way. 

“When they posted the finalist roster for the semi-finals, I was like, just got to keep focused,” Rothenstein said. “But after I posted the roster on Instagram, a lot of people reached out, which was pretty amazing, seeing all the support and love.”

The season runs from May to January, and Rothenstein will be at practice all summer. The team practices two to three times a week, and she said there’s game days and community appearances in addition to that. Yet, being an NFL dancer is a part-time job and Rothenstein said she’ll be looking for a political consulting role alongside her dancer position.

Elon senior and dance team member Ava de Bruin said she’s hoping to attend a game and watch Rothenstein on the sidelines next year. De Bruin said it’s not often that those auditioning for the first time make it on a professional team, and that made her even more proud of Rothenstein.

“I believed this was possible for her from the beginning, but of course, I didn't want to bring it up too much or make her feel additional pressure because I think we all have this understanding that it takes a really incredible dancer and teammate to make it all the way through on the first round,” de Bruin said.

Watching Rothenstein grow as a dancer, teammate and mentor are what de Bruin said makes her the most excited to support her friend in this new venture. 

“I feel like this could be just the beginning for her in terms of where she wants to take her dance journey,” de Bruin said. “She’s just been such a vital player. She has played such a vital role on our team, and in building our program, and I’m so excited that she's going to be able to bring her talent, her passion, her leadership skills to another team. To be honest, I think their team is lucky to have her.”

Rothenstein said she’s excited to be part of a team again, and is thankful to the dance team and Elon community for their support.

“I'm excited to be the youngest person in the room and learn from a bunch of different people, I'm excited to perform and get out there,” Rothenstein said. “It's a massive stadium and I haven't performed in front of nearly that many people ever, but I'm ready for it.”