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Cheer up Perth: it’s championship time

Team Vortex from West Coast Fury

Team Vortex from West Coast Fury

Vanessa Vlajkovic

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It’s a sport that’s not frequently spoken of in the community due to many people actually refusing to classify it as a sport. But cheerleading has been around for much longer than most of you would think. It began in the 18th century, originating in the USA.

So what does it involve?

Well, there are many different types of cheer, and not all are competitive. Recreational cheer exists for those who don’t wish to be a part of the craziness that is competition season – it allows athletes to enjoy their time in the gym and build their skills without worrying about performing in front of thousands and being judged.

Typically, teams will train for the first six months of the year to learn and perfect their routines before displaying them. Routines can last anywhere from one to three minutes and include various forms of tumbling and stunting incorporated with dance movements.

Stunts are tricks done in the air – a stunt group consists of a back spot and two side spots, called bases in cheer terminology. Sometimes there is a front spot to assist depending on the level of the team. And, of course, the center-piece is the flyer. Flyers require immense trust in their bases to ensure they are safe while in the air; it is also a role that has courage written all over it – not everybody would be unafraid of being launched off the ground standing on one leg.

Sierra Hudson is an athlete on West Coast Fury’s Open Level Two team Vortex. She spoke to ECU Daily about her experiences to date as a cheerleader.

“I got into cheerleading after quitting gymnastics when I was 13. I didn’t really know much about it, and I’m not even sure where I heard about it considering it was quite small in Perth at the time.”

Hudson, 20, is in her final year of studies at ECU and has plans to move to Sydney in a couple of years.

When asked how she felt about competing next weekend, she enthusiastically responded: “I’m feeling pretty good! The first competition of the season can be a little shaky, so as this is our second we’re hoping to hit a solid routine that improves on the last.”

Of course, it’s not as effortless as it looks…

“It’s hard work! Most people have the idea that cheer is just dance and shaking pom-poms. I think it works out that for every minute on the comp floor there is 10 hours of training weekly behind it,” Hudson emphasises.

So next time you watch a cheerleading performance, take a second to appreciate it properly because it doesn’t come together overnight.

Lisa Grey, mother of 11-year-old Fury cheerleader Cadence, says that her daughter was injured when she was eight, by falling from a pyramid. Pyramids are quite dangerous but highly used cheer manoeuvres that basically resemble a people-pyramid. Ms Grey admitted: “I always worry, but gotta let them do what they want to do.” Cadence has been cheering since she was six, so her mother is by now familiar with the possibility of falls – she just maintains a good attitude about the whole thing and lets her child live and learn by herself.

The All Things Cheer and Dance Starz Championships will be held on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September at the HBF Arena. They are all-day events with cheerleaders taking the floor on Saturday and dancers on Sunday.

Who will be the winners this time around? Click here to get tickets.

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Cheer up Perth: it’s championship time