By Kiko Martinez
Born and raised in Yonkers, New York, Puerto Rican newcomer Noel “Mouse” Areizaga, 25, stars as Ruben, a member of the West High Sharks cheerleading squad in “Bring it On: In It to Win It,” the fourth installment of the “Bring it On” series made popular by the first film in 2000. The new film has recently been released on DVD.
With a background in dance and choreography, Areizaga took his talents to the open audition in hopes of landing a part as an extra. He was surprised when he received a call back and was offered a speaking role.
Areizaga spoke to La Prensa Newspaper about what it was like learning how to cheer and how he prepared for his role in the movie.
La Prensa Newspaper: You’re 25 years old so how were you able to prepare to play the role of a high school teenager?
Noel Areizaga: We got to watch some footage of high schoolers coming out of school and having lunch. As you get older you mature, so we got to see how they act. If I was in high school again I think I would have done a lot of things differently.
LP: Did anything surprise you about the way teenagers act today?
NA: They are so outspoken. They don’t care who you are or who’s around. Another thing I noticed is that they seem really happy and exuberant.
LP: How did you get the nickname Mouse?
NA: Mouse came from a friend of mine when I started dancing. She told me I looked like Mighty Mouse. As I got older, I thought it was cheesy so I took out the Mighty and kept the Mouse. It’s kind of catchy like a stage name. So, wherever I go, people know me as Mouse.
LP: This is the first film of your career. How did you get involved in the project?
NA: I went to the dance audition. They had open calls for dancers and cheerleaders. I went to just dance. I did everything I was supposed to and they liked the way I looked. They called me in the next day for a speaking role and they liked it. A month later, I got the part. I thought I was just going to be one of the dancers way in the back and I came out being one of the leads in the movie.
LP: You have a lot of experience in dancing, but not in cheerleading. How did you learn those skills?
NA: They had us in cheer-leading camp for a month. It was 9 to 5, five days a week. They taught us how to stunt, lift up girls, flip, tumble and exercise. It was really hard but it was all worth it.
LP: What is the most challenging part about cheer-leading? Would you consider it a sport?
NA: Cheerleading is definitely a sport. I respected it since day one. The hardest thing about cheerleading is that everything has to be in sync and on point. You can’t have a lose screw because then you’ll mess up everything. The positions and the transitions are really hard. It’s really fast-paced. If you don’t have stamina and endurance you will definitely mess up.
LP: Why should people rent or buy “Bring it On: In It to Win It?”
NA: Well, the theme is “West Side Story.” It’s really high-energy. It has a lot more choreography and dancing in it that the other movies. This one shows a lot more flavor and competition.