Cheerleading represents an activity which promotes athleticism and performance, and is characterized by the use of sharp arm movements and enthusiastic expression. It has different styles and types which allow cheerleaders to participate. Cheerleading can include a number of different formats which can involve one or all of the following: vocal cheers, arm motion technique, dance, floor gymnastics, acrobatic stunts, jumps, synchronized choreography and use of pompoms. Cheerleaders usually start at grassroot levels by joining beginner classes or they transition from other activities such as dance or gymnastics.
They can then diversity by focusing on different types of activities given that cheerleading exists in a number of sub-genres:
Group & Partner Stunt
The origin of cheerleading: cheering during sports games, using the voice to chant and lead the crowds. Performances are short, interactive and ongoing and can include anything from dance, stunts and tumbling. this can also involve performing a half-time performance.Usually this is performed with pompoms, with occasional exceptions for indoor sports such as basketball which may feature jazz or hip hop dancing instead of traditional pom dance.
This term can relate to a team which is part of an educational institution such as a school or university. The team can either be purely set up for sideline activities and support, or can take part in a competitive events. Some colleges may have more than one cheerleading teams on campus but it is the ‘Varsity’ team which officially represents the name of the school. Most US Universities take great pride in their Cheerleading programme and often grant scholarships to athletes just like with other sports.
Taking cheerleading and making it a competitive sport, this activity allows different teams to perform against each other and resulting in a ranking and awarding of trophies. Competitions can be at regional, community, national and international levels and organised by official cheerleading governing bodies as well as by private companies around the world. Competitive cheerleading can take a number of forms, but usually require a set routine within a time limit and is categorized by level, age groups and skill type. Competitive cheerleading can be either ‘Varsity’ (representing an educational institution) ‘Community’ (representing a local community) or ‘All-Star’ (representing a privately-run gym or programme).
The most common type of competitive cheerleading, commonly known as ‘Cheer’. It is a style of cheerleading which excludes the use of pompoms and makes use of set criteria such as jumping, tumbling, stunting, pyramids and dance. There are six levels of difficulty, which teams and athletes move through progressively as they learn more skills.
GROUP & PARTNER STUNT
This describes the activity where 4 or 5 athletes (group) or a male and female cheerleader (partner) perform a purely acrobatic form of cheerleading. This type of cheerleading is usually done in a competitive context, however skills can be used in all types of performance.
Pom dance (or cheerdance) is a fusion of jazz technique with pom, with no stunting or tumbling skills. It can be competitive or for performance, and can range from more technical jazz style to a more traditional, sideline-style type of cheerleading depending on the occasion.
Professional cheerleading bring the teams into a commercial context: teams are usually expected to be well-groomed and can have a less sporty, more glamorous look than competitive or ‘Varsity’ cheerleading. They can perform for any type of event.
Cheering for fun and exercise - usually for any age and level, with no tryouts necessary and is usually done in the form of classes and low-key performances.
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