Let’s face it, who is not a fan of cheerleaders? The talented young ladies who spend hours upon hours practicing their moves just so that they can encourage and cheer on their favorite team. Cheerleading can be as simple as just chanting the team slogan, or it can be very complicated with the intense choreography and maneuvers involved.
Cheerleading has its origins in the United States and is predominantly an American pastime. Estimations show us that there are at least 1-and-a-half-million people participating in “All-Star-Cheerleading”. In 2000 the movie “Bring It On” exposed the rest of the world to the art of cheerleading and made it popular in several other countries. There are around 100-thousand cheerleaders around other parts of the globe including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK.
ESPN’s International Cheerleading competition held in 1997 is probably responsible for the worldwide interest now being shown to this pastime. Even though cheerleading is not regarded as a sport, you have to be extremely fit to participate at the top level. The modern-day cheerleader has to be part dancer part gymnast to pull off some of the moves that the activity now demands.
The first ever recorded cheer squad in NFL history were the “Baltimore Colts” cheer squad in the 1950’s but it wasn’t until the “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders” debuted in the 1972-73 season that cheerleading came into its own. Their revealing outfits and sophisticated moves soon put them into the American spotlight. Women were exclusively used for cheerleaders as the target audience were predominantly men.
Modern cheerleading is attributed to the 1980’s when the dance sequences became more difficult and embraced more stunts and gymnastics than dance moves. In 1987, the newly formed “American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisers”, (AACCA) brought in universal safety standards to decrease the number of injuries to cheerleaders and prevent certain dangerous stunts like pyramids and tumble passes from being incorporated into the routines. Cheerleading at high school level has kept its ties to leading traditions, and the cheerleaders themselves are regarded as ambassadors for their schools.
In the clip featured below, you will see an amazing young lady named Angel Rice, who gives a solo performance like you have never seen before. The athletic abilities of Angel will leave you breathless as you watch her routine in amazement. Her seamless and effortless moves are so well practiced that she hardly builds up a sweat. She pulls off the near-impossible five double twists maneuver without a hitch.
I must admit, my back hurt just watching her twists and turns, but what an incredible athlete the young woman is.