THIS SUNDAY, basketball will take a back seat in the UAAP as cheerleaders, dancers, lifters, drum beaters and students take over the Araneta Coliseum floor for the annual cheerdance competition.
On Oct. 1, the Arena in San Juan will also be cleared for the same competition in the NCAA.
It’s great that cheerleading and dancing now have a competition that’s become an institution in both college leagues.
The cheer groups now have an annual showdown to look forward to aside from regular season half-time performances and special routines for the championship round.
Basketball’s delightful sidestep will also show the schools’ other facets as those with strong dance traditions bring their very best while schools still learning how to compete in these events try to improve each time.
Teams pour in a lot of time and effort, as well as money, to be competitive in these yearly battles. Unlike a sports team, a cheerdance crew has only one shot at greatness.
And that’s why you can understand now if you’re a parent of a cheerleader or dancer, why your teenager has been going home late and tired these past few weeks.
And it’s not just performing for the sake of tossing people into the air and catching them or building human pyramids because they are required. There’s a lot of thinking and rehearsing that go into these routines aside from the concern for the safety of all those who participate.
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What should we look for as we pick our own winners?
The basic criteria will focus on dance technique, jumps, tumbling skills, tosses, lifts, pyramids, formations, choreography, degree of difficulty, synchronization, audibility of cheers, uniforms and props and overall effectiveness.
Through the years, judges have been certified cheerleading coaches, PE program heads and choreographers to name a few. There have also been technical judges who make sure that the minimum number of routines and formations are met.
We’ll let them take care of judging the technical soundness of each performance.
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To us who are fans of the schools or who just enjoy a great performance, watch out for the following: the unique interpretation of the given theme, the enthusiasm of the moves and formations and the coordination of props and personnel during the routine.
A stage director once told me that performing and dancing should look enjoyable and not as an arduous task. So if a team’s trying too hard to make a routine work, then they’re probably not enjoying performing for you.
So let’s allow the Final Four of both leagues time to get ready for the battles ahead. There’s one coming up that’s probably bigger to those who will be on the court for the annual cheerdance showdown.
There will be no Final Four. Only one great performance will matter.
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