Unlike most of her peers in the industry, Candace Galbreath BS’15, MS’16 didn’t grow up dancing. The Irving native joined her high school drill team as a junior, but still had no major studio experience when she enrolled at UT Dallas after graduation.
“It was just a hobby,” Galbreath said.
But that didn’t stop Galbreath from setting her sights high in the world of professional dance. She joined the Power Dancers as an undergraduate at UT Dallas, then decided to audition for the Dallas Mavericks Dancers. When she made it all the way to the final rounds of auditions, she gained the confidence to try out for the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancers.
“This team was different than any other professional dance team in Dallas, and that made me really want to be on it,” Galbreath said. “It’s a lot more diverse, and the audition process felt more like going to a dance convention than an audition.”
After her third time auditioning, Galbreath made the team in 2017. From two to three days of tryouts during the preliminary round to cuts for finals and training camp, each audition process typically took three months until the final team was announced.
“After my first and second time auditioning, I was able to receive written feedback from my scoresheet,” Galbreath said. “That made me feel like they really care about people, that they’re investing in talent.”
Separate from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, the Rhythm & Blue Dancers are a coed hip hop team that incorporates stunts into its routines. The dancers perform outside the plaza at AT&T Stadium before home games, as well as during games, and are typically stationed in the suite behind the visitor’s bench throughout the season.
“Being a Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Dancer taught me about confidence,” Galbreath said. “Being on a team at a professional level, if you don’t believe in yourself, you’re not going to get the most out of your experience.”
With rehearsals on Friday nights, appearances on Saturdays and game days on most Sundays, Galbreath’s years as a member of the Rhythm & Blue team have not come without sacrifices.
“I definitely missed out on family vacations and birthday dinners,” Galbreath said. “But on a grand timeline, this has only been three or four years out of my life that I have been able to do something I was dreaming about.”
Along with her rigorous practice and dancing schedule, Galbreath was also working full-time as a property accountant for Scout Energy Partners when she first joined the dance team.
“Plenty of times instead of taking a lunch, I would go nap in my car,” Galbreath said. “I would review dances at my desk. It was pretty hectic my first season.”
But Galbreath’s involvement in various organizations and activities at UT Dallas helped her learn how to juggle multiple responsibilities and prioritize her time. At UTD, Galbreath was president of the Undergraduate Accounting Club, a member of Phi Kappa Pi Honor Society, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the Professional Program in Accounting and a Terry Scholar.
“We would always get together, and it also functioned like a student organization,” Galbreath said of her time as a Terry Scholar. “It was like an automatic community.”
As an accounting major, Galbreath was given access to the tools, guidance and advice she felt she needed to be successful.
“UT Dallas is a big school, but it still felt welcoming enough that I could address my professors directly,” she said. “It felt like home.”
Galbreath now works as an analyst for SandsPoint Capital Advisors and hopes to continue her involvement with the Rhythm & Blue Dancers.
“Going into next season, I plan to still be on the All-Star roster and pop in as needed,” Galbreath said. “I want to be that person who’s advocating for brand awareness.”
When her time as a dancer on the team is done, Galbreath will take with her the lessons she learned as a result of her hard work and dedication.
“From year one to year four, I’ve learned how to be uncomfortable and look comfortable,” she said. “And most importantly, how to trust yourself and the dreams that are in your heart.”