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What is Cheerdance

CHEERDANCE, sometimes referred to as cheerleading, is a team physical activity

using organized routines for the purpose of motivating a sports team, entertaining an
audience, or competition.
Cheerdance performances usually take a few minutes and is always done by multiple
performers, with formal cheerdance competitions outlining various requirements such as
minimum and maximum number of performers and a time limit.
Performances usually involve dances, tumbles, jumps, cheers, and stunts. In its original
form, cheerdancing was done to encourage a sports team – often referred to as
cheerleading in this context – by directing the audience to show support, providing the
team with motivation and a psychological edge in the game.
Over the years, cheerdancing has evolved into a contest on its own, with cheerdance
competitions held in conjunction with team-based games, such as basketball or football.
Today, cheerdance competitions are often held independent of any other event,
becoming a sport all its own.

What is Cheerleading?
In its simplest terms, Cheerleading is the performance of athletic skills, jumps, dance and/or chanting to
gain a response from spectators at an event (whether this is in support of a sports team, or simply to
score points in a cheerleading competition).

Depending on the organisation and country, there are a number of different Cheerleading disciplines.
Cheerleaders might specialise in one, or participate in multiple cheer squads throughout the year.

Types of Cheer
Future “emerging sport” for NCAA, collegiate teams
that are members of the National Collegiate
Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) that
Acro & Tumbling
compete only in skill sets of acrobatics, tumbling,
pyramids and a 2.5 minute team routine. Watch their
2011 National Performance

The new competitive team sport derived from

cheerleading. STUNT removes the crowd-leading
element and focuses on the technical and athletic
components of cheer; including partner stunts,
pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps and tumbling,
and a dynamic team performance.

Competitive Cheer Michigan High Schools and other college club teams
that just compete skills sets similar to NCATA
without music.

The performance of organized routines, usually

ranging from one to three minutes, which contain the
'Traditional' Cheer
components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and
stunting to spectators

Traditional Sideline cheerleading team that does not

do acrobatics or tumble, may or may not compete
Sideline Cheer (With Tumbling) with a primary goal of supporting other teams, and
being an ambassador for their school or recreational

Sideline cheerleading team that in addition to jumps,

motions and dance, they do acrobatics and tumble;
Sideline Cheer (Without
they may or may not compete with a primary goal of
supporting other teams and being an ambassador
for their school or recreational team.

A squad will incorporate a specific dance style (i.e.

freestyle, hip-hop, jazz or lyrical), technical work
Cheer Dance
(tumbling, leaps, turns, kicks, splits, jumps) and,
depending on the routine, pompon and/or cheers.

A unique fusion of hip-hop and dance, Street cheer

incorporates achievable street style moves with
elements such as Locking and Popping, Jump and
Street Cheer
Freestyle elements, along with Cheerleading Cheers
and Chants. Watch action from the Street Cheer
National 2010

As cheer dance, except the squad will use pom-

Pom Dance
poms in all its dance routines

It is also possible to differentiate by performer and gender:

Can range from a dance only squad to an acrobatic team,
but the primary goal is to support a professional sports

The principal athletic teams representing a college,

university, high school or other secondary schools. There
are strict rules and criteria governing the structure and
administration of varsity teams

School The squad is representing a particular school

Non-school teams that compete only doing a 2.5 minute

All-star team routine to music that includes jumps, dance, tumbling,
pyramids and acrobatics.

Single-sex All members of the squad are of the same sex

Co-ed The squad in mixed gender

Cheerleading ranges from chanting, to intense physical activity for sports team motivation, audience
entertainment, or competition based upon organized routines. Competitive routines typically range
anywhere from one to three minutes, and contain components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and

Cheerleading originated in the United States, and remains predominantly in America, with an estimated
1.5 million participants in all-star cheerleading. The global presentation of cheerleading was led by the
1997 broadcast of ESPN's International cheerleading competition, and the worldwide release of the 2000
film Bring It On. Due in part to this recent exposure, there are now an estimated 100,000 participants
scattered around the globe in Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan,[1]
the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

Before organized cheerleading
Cheerleading began during the late 18th century with the rebellion of male students. [3] After
the American Revolutionary War, students experienced harsh treatment from teachers. In response
to faculty's abuse, college students violently acted out. The undergraduates began to riot, burn down
buildings located on their college campuses, and assault faculty members. As a more subtle way to
gain independence, however, students invented and organized their own extracurricular activities
outside their professors' control. This brought about American sports, beginning first with collegiate
In the 1860s, students from Great Britain began to cheer and chant in unison for their favorite
athletes at sporting events. Soon, that gesture of support crossed overseas to America. [5]
On November 6, 1869, the United States witnessed its first intercollegiate football game. It took
place between Princeton and Rutgers University, and marked the day the original "Sis Boom Rah!"
cheer was shouted out by student fans.[6][7]

Beginning of organized cheer

Organized cheerleading started as an all-male activity.[8] As early as 1877, Princeton University had a
"Princeton Cheer", documented in the February 22, 1877, March 12, 1880, and November 4, 1881,
issues of The Daily Princetonian.[9][10][11] This cheer was yelled from the stands by students attending
games, as well as by the athletes themselves. The cheer, "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Tiger! S-s-s-t! Boom!
A-h-h-h!" remains in use with slight modifications today, where it is now referred to as the "Locomotive".

Princeton class of 1882 graduate Thomas Peebles moved to Minnesota in 1884. He transplanted the idea
of organized crowds cheering at football games to the University of Minnesota.[13][14] The term "Cheer
Leader" had been used as early as 1897, with Princeton's football officials having named three students
as Cheer Leaders: Thomas, Easton, and Guerin from Princeton's classes of 1897, 1898, and 1899,
respectively, on October 26, 1897. These students would cheer for the team also at football practices,
and special cheering sections were designated in the stands for the games themselves for both the home
and visiting teams.[15][16]

It was not until 1898 that University of Minnesota student Johnny Campbell directed a crowd in cheering
"Rah, Rah, Rah! Ski-u-mah, Hoo-Rah! Hoo-Rah! Varsity! Varsity! Varsity, Minn-e-So-Tah!", making
Campbell the very first cheerleader.

November 2, 1898 is the official birth date of organized cheerleading. Soon after, the University of
Minnesota organized a "yell leader" squad of six male students, who still use Campbell's original cheer
today.[17] In 1903, the first cheerleading fraternity, Gamma Sigma, was founded.

Female participation
In 1923, at the University of Minnesota, women were permitted to participate in cheerleading.[19][20]
However, it took time for other schools to follow. In the late 1920s, many school manuals and
newspapers that were published still referred to cheerleaders as "chap," "fellow," and "man".[21]
Women cheerleaders were overlooked until the 1940s. In the 1940s, collegiate men were drafted for
World War II, creating the opportunity for more women to make their way onto sporting event sidelines.
[22] As noted by Kieran Scott in Ultimate Cheerleading: "Girls really took over for the first time."[23] An
overview written on behalf of cheerleading in 1955 explained that in larger schools, "occasionally boys as
well as girls are included,", and in smaller schools, "boys can usually find their place in the athletic
program, and cheerleading is likely to remain solely a feminine occupation."[24] During the 1950s,
cheerleading in America also increased in popularity. By the 1960s, some began to consider cheerleading
a feminine extracurricular for boys, and by the 1970s, girls primarily cheered at public school games.[25]
However, this did not stop its growth. Cheerleading could be found at almost every school level across
the country, even pee wee and youth leagues began to appear.[26][27]

In 1975, it was estimated by a man named Randy Neil that over 500,000 students actively participated in
American cheerleading from grade school to the collegiate level. He also approximated that ninety-five
percent of cheerleaders within America were female.[28] Since 1973, cheerleaders have started to
attend female basketball and other all-female sports as well.[5]

As of 2005, overall statistics show around 97% of all modern cheerleading participants are female,
although at the collegiate level, cheerleading is co-ed with about 50% of participants being male.[29]

Cheerleading firsts
In 1948, Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer, of Dallas, Texas, a former cheerleader at Southern Methodist
University, formed the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) in order to hold clinics for cheerleading.
In 1949, The NCA held its first clinic in Huntsville, Texas, with 52 girls in attendance.[29] Herkimer
contributed many firsts to cheerleading: the founding of the Cheerleader & Danz Team cheerleading
uniform supply company, inventing the herkie jump (where one leg is bent towards the ground as if
kneeling and the other is out to the side as high as it will stretch in toe-touch position),[30] and creating
the "Spirit Stick".[18] By the 1960s, college cheerleaders began hosting workshops across the nation,
teaching fundamental cheer skills to high-school-age girls. In 1965, Fred Gastoff invented the vinyl pom-
pom, which was introduced into competitions by the International Cheerleading Foundation (ICF, now
the World Cheerleading Association, or WCA). Organized cheerleading competitions began to pop up
with the first ranking of the "Top Ten College Cheerleading Squads" and "Cheerleader All America"
awards given out by the ICF in 1967. In 1978, America was introduced to competitive cheerleading by
the first broadcast of Collegiate Cheerleading Championships on CBS.

Professional cheerleading
was for the Baltimore Colts.[5][31] Professional cheerleaders put a new perspective on American
cheerleading. Women were selected for two reasons: visual sex appeal, and the ability to dance. Women
were exclusively chosen because men were the targeted marketing group.[32] The Dallas Cowboys
Cheerleaders soon gained the spotlight with their revealing outfits and sophisticated dance moves,
debuting in the 1972–1973 season, but were first widely seen in Super Bowl X (1976). These pro squads
of the 1970s established cheerleaders as "American icons of wholesome sex appeal."[33] By 1981, a
total of seventeen Nation Football League teams had their own cheerleaders. The only teams without
NFL cheerleaders at this time were New Orleans, New York, Detroit, Cleveland, Denver, Minnesota,
Pittsburg, San Francisco, and San Diego. Professional cheerleading eventually spread to soccer and
basketball teams as well.
Advancements and traditions of cheerleading
The 1980s saw the beginning of modern cheerleading, adding difficult stunt sequences and gymnastics
into routines. All-star teams popped up, and with them, the creation of the United States All-Star
Federation (USASF). ESPN first broadcast the National High School Cheerleading Competition nationwide
in 1983. Cheerleading organizations such as the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and
Advisors (AACCA), founded in 1987, started applying universal safety standards to decrease the number
of injuries and prevent dangerous stunts, pyramids, and tumbling passes from being included in the
cheerleading routines.[35] In 2003, the National Council for Spirit Safety and Education (NCSSE) was
formed to offer safety training for youth, school, all-star, and college coaches. The NCAA requires college
cheer coaches to successfully complete a nationally recognized safety-training program. The NCSSE or
AACCA certification programs are both recognized by the NCAA.[citation needed]

Even with its athletic and competitive development, cheerleading at the school level has retained its ties
to its spirit leading traditions. Cheerleaders are quite often seen as ambassadors for their schools, and
leaders among the student body. At the college level, cheerleaders are often invited to help at university
fundraisers and events.[36]

Cheerleading is very closely associated with American football and basketball. Sports such as association
football (soccer), ice hockey, volleyball, baseball, and wrestling will sometimes sponsor cheerleading
squads. The ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup in South Africa in 2007 was the first international cricket
event to have cheerleaders. The Florida Marlins were the first Major League Baseball team to have a
cheerleading team. Debuting in 2003, the "Marlin Mermaids" gained national exposure, and have
influenced other MLB teams to develop their own cheer/dance squads.[citation needed

Competitive cheerleading is scored subjectively based on components including, but not limited to, the
cheer itself, dance/choreography, pyramids, stunting, and tumbling. In order to prevent injuries, there
are certain rules that cheerleading teams have to follow according to their level (high school, all-star, or
college). According to the Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine, there are two purposes of cheerleading - to
cheer on the sidelines for other athletes, and to be a "highly skilled competing athlete."[citation needed]

Along with this evolution to the sport's structure, there have been significant advancements made to the
typical cheerleading uniform. What began as the classic sweater and mid-calf pleated skirt uniform has
now come to incorporate materials that allow for stretch and flexibility. Uniform changes are a result of
the changing culture from the 1930s to modern day.

Cheerleading may seem like a light-hearted activity to some, but injuries that can come from practice or
a competition can be severe if the athlete is not properly trained. There have been many catastrophic
injuries from cheer, especially from tumbling and stunting. Because of the lack of studies on injuries in
competitive cheerleading, many injuries that happen could be avoided. Most studies in sports medicine
pertaining to cheerleading are focused on whether it is a sport or not.[3]
Modern styles of cheerleading uniforms
1960s uniforms
As fashion styles changed through the 1960s so did the cheerleading uniform. Gone were the overly long
wool skirts, as pleated shorter skirts became more popular. The long skirt was essentially chopped in half
as knee length cotton fabric skirts made for easier movement and a more comfortable experience for the
wearer as compared to their wool counterparts. The sweater top changed dramatically, squads elected
to wear short sleeve crew neck sweaters in favor of long cardigans, however the school letters and
megaphone emblem remained, now being placed in the center of the stylish crew neck sweaters. Some
squads in this time period, in particular high school squads, favored placing an additional embroidered
emblem with the squad member's name on the center of the school letter patch. This was a symbol of
high school popularity, as it was a huge privilege to be a cheerleader

1970s uniforms

A cheerleader in 1975

Much changed in uniform fashion from the 1960s. Most squads now wore more athletic [material] or
tennis shoes.Cheerleaders wore sneakers as opposed to saddle shoes or Keds, and the uniform was
made less bulky to allow for easier movement.[1] Also more variety was available for sweaters, vests or
shells and skirts. The sweater now featured a stripe pattern on the front, in alternating school colors. The
letter patch became more elaborate as well, often more colorful and unique. Sweaters were also less
bulky and had a more flattering fit. This new slimmed style allowed better movement and more of a
functional fit, without sacrificing modesty or tradition. Sweaters were made to fit close to the body for a
tighter fit, and the length was tapered very short to eliminate excess fabric overlapping the skirt. Often
this caused the cheerleader's bare abdomen to be exposed during movement- by now most sweaters
were worn without any shirt or collared blouse beneath them. Different styles were incorporated to give
squads more of a choice. Round neck, and v-neck sweaters were popular with squads seeking greater
functionality, as cheerleading was becoming more athletic instead of the standard vocal chant. The new
sweater styles allowed squads to eliminate the extra collared blouse beneath the sweater, essentially
just wearing the sweater over a bra. While these uniforms provided a functional style, some modest
women in society viewed these outfits as scandalous and racy. The shorter skirts combined with the
shorter and tighter sweaters were viewed by some as "improper."

1985–1995 uniforms

Theses uniforms are similar to the current uniforms except slouch socks especially Wigwam slouch socks
were very popular to wear. Also Keds champion sneakers were worn by many cheerleaders. A typical
school cheerleading uniform from 1985 does not look much different than a uniform today. The favored
top in this period was a waist-length button-down sleeveless vest, worn with or without a turtleneck
layer underneath. The vest top was a modest style, and was mostly un-revealing. Also seen as a uniform
top was a turtleneck worn underneath a sweatshirt. The choice skirt remained a pleat model, but with
added color striping around the bottom hem. The length style preferred was shortened to mid-thigh or
slightly longer for most squads. The general rule at this time was the skirt had to be down the end of
fingers when arm down at side. Bike shorts were worn underneath with some uniforms.

Current uniforms

Most uniforms are currently made from a polyester blended fabric, usually containing spandex as well.
The top without the sleeves are called shells, if they have sleeves it is called a liner. Most American
school squads wear a sleeveless top with either a sports bra or an athletic tank top underneath. If the
shell lacks sleeves, many teams wear a turtle neck bodysuit under it, although this is not required
specifically. The bodysuits can be either leotard like or covering only to the bottom of the ribcage. Due to
guidelines imposed by the National Federation of High Schools, high school squads must have a top that
covers their midriff with arms by their sides, however if the arms are raised most uniforms will show a
small section of midriff, which is not against NFSHSA rules. Most school-sanctioned squads have modest-
looking uniform tops that are usually a waist-length fit, covering the whole frontal upper body except at
the shoulders and arms when worn sleeveless. Likewise, the back construction of most school
cheerleading tops cover the full upper body, however skin in the lower back area is mostly left uncovered
if the cheerleader is sitting or bending; this does not violate NFSHSA uniform rules. These requirements
do not apply to all-star cheerleading organizations, therefore many have tops that stop at or just below
the bottom of the bra line. Another growing trend among all-star teams is having sections of material
missing (allowing bare skin to show) across the top for the chest, the shoulders, the top of the back, or
portions of the arms. The length of skirts has shortened dramatically, with the average length for skirts at
both high school and all-star being 10 to 13 inches, and lengths are shrinking every year, however some
coaches and various team sponsors encourage wearing shorter skirts due to safety reasons (too much
fabric can be dangerous while tumbling). Skirts are worn over top of colored or metallic
spandex/polyester briefs, also called lollies, spankies, or bundies. These briefs are worn over top of
underpants and are sometimes printed with stars, dots, etc. The briefs can also sometimes have a team
logo, such as a paw print, sewn on the side or across the behind.