‘Then and Now’ is a series that focuses on former Treasure Valley high school athletes and where they’re at now.
Amy Agenbroad walks through a tunnel and up some stairs with handrails.
It was to her first dance practice at the Kennedy School of Dance in Nampa.
More than two decades later, the 2014 Skyview High School graduate is still dancing. She is on the front page of the Washington Redskins’ cheerleading website — the longest running cheerleading team in the NFL.
“People ask me how I prepared and when I started preparing. And my answer is, ‘I’ve been preparing my whole life,’” Agenbroad said. "Ever since I was 3, when I walked up those steps (of the Kennedy School of Dance). I think that's really what it takes.”
Even growing up 2,400 miles from Washington D.C. in Nampa, Agenbroad, 24, was still oddly enough a Redskins’ fan. They were her favorite team — well sort of.
While the rest of her family watched the players, she honed in on the cheerleaders. Agenbroad tried mimicking the dance moves herself on her parents’ hardwood floors.
It wasn’t long before Agenbroad was dancing for real.
Dance recitals at the Kennedy School of Dance turned into being a member of the Skyview dance team — the Blue Angels. They won back-to-back state titles her junior and seniors years with Agenbroad as the team captain. The Blue Angels have won four of the last five state championships.
But her talents weren’t just limited to dancing.
Agenbroad was also pretty good with a tennis racket in her hand.
She was the captain of the first team state championship in girls tennis her junior year in 2013. Agenbroad took third that year in singles. The following season, she became just the second girl and third player overall in program history to win a state title with a win in girls singles. She is still the last player at Skyview to win a state crown.
It was all part of a high school career that saw her be named the Idaho Press Tennis Athlete of the Year, the recipient of the Athletic Scholar Award from Skyview and the Idaho High School Activities Association Interscholastic Star.
“I love Skyview,” Agenbroad said. “Yeah, looking back at it, a lot of great memories from there, both in and outside of sports. I’ll always be a Hawk.”
Agenbroad didn’t pursue either tennis or dance in college, though.
She elected to enroll at the University of Idaho as just a student. Agenbroad did other things like join the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
“I had put my heart and soul into dance and tennis for so many years that I just wanted to be a normal kid for a second,” Agenbroad said. “I wanted to see what life was like without running off to a practice every morning and night.”
However, Agenbroad was unable to keep herself away for too long. She made the Vandal Dance Team the next year. Agenbroad was the captain her senior year.
And after graduating with a double degree in finance and international studies in May 2018, dance was all she wanted to do again.
But Agenbroad needed a job first. She got one as a staff assistant in Idaho Senator Mike Crapo’s office before becoming the operations manager for the lobbying firm Polaris in Washington D.C. last August.
It all allowed her to pursue a childhood dream. One she was fully prepared for, too.
She ordered prep books, signed up for a consulting business that helps with NFL dance auditions and reached out to Washington cheerleaders to learn more about the team.
Three months later in March 2019, Agenbroad walked into the dance studio inside of FedEx Field in the Landover, Maryland with more than 200 other women.
The next two weeks consisted of grueling photo shoots, video interviews and dance routines. But she survived several rounds of cuts to make it to The Howard Theater on April 6, 2019, for the final showcase where the team was revealed.
The remaining 60 women all stood in the locker room waiting for their numbers to be called. One by one they were read aloud. Agenbroad didn’t have to wait long to hear hers — No. 9.
“On a scale from 1 to 10, it was 20 million,” Agenbroad said. “I just wanted to do everything in my control to try to make it. I just didn’t want to leave that auditorium saying, ‘If only I did this.’ So honestly, that was my goal.”
Agenbroad put on the burgundy and gold uniform for the first time during a preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Aug. 15. But the real experience came a month later in the regular season home opener against Washington’s biggest rival — the Dallas Cowboys.
FedEx Field sold out with 82,000 in attendance. Agenbroad was going to be the third cheerleader out following the pregame hype video.
“I was so nervous that I remember thinking, ‘Please don’t fall because you’re going to get run over by everyone,'” Agenbroad said while laughing. “This wasn’t a sideline pass. I was actually on the logo in the middle of the field.
"The craziest feeling when you’re on the field is when you look at the jumbotron and see yourself. There’s this delay too. So it’s almost like an out-of-body experience. It’s pretty indescribable.”
So Agenbroad still walks through a tunnel. But instead of leading to a studio, it leads to 100 yards of grass with thousands of screaming fans.
“It’s always been a dream of mine ever since I was little to dance in the NFL,” Agenbroad said. “So I’m just so proud and thankful to be here. It really shows that hard work really does pay off. But I don’t think I’ll ever get used to saying, ‘Yeah I’m a real Redskins Cheerleader.’”