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On Cheering

By Alejandra Narvaez

Let us not forget you’ve got a voice powerful enough to shatter glass (with training). This powerful force is an accessory to our performances. Maybe a judge will jokingly look back at you and tell you to calm down, but the atmosphere makes it a better experience for all those involved. We’ve heard “You're not done performing once you’re off the dance floor” a thousand times in regards to behavior and smiling, but let us not forget cheering. Cheering is a valuable show of support, because we’re a team and part of our job is to be there for one another.

Dancing is hard — this is what we learn, yet we keep doing it anyway (passionate idiots lol). We allow ourselves to be openly vulnerable to critique (i.e. video review) and we showcase where we are in our dancing. We reflect the dedication of our team and strength of our coaches. We also have to pretend we’re content with our dancing while performing, which for most of us is the biggest lie of them all. This leaves fun. Fun battles its way up to the surface, and here’s how.

There are no strict rules (other than not to yell directly into a judge’s ear). Here are a few ways to foster team spirit at performances:

We’ve all been there: a heel-lead slip, a poorly executed move, and for a second all hope is lost. Now imagine your teammates rising from the ashes and into the clouds, loudly proclaiming their support of you to the world. Sometimes this sight (or sound) is all you need to revive your performance.

Now imagine the disheartening once-in-a-blue-moon time you look up like Uncle Nels tells you to and everyone seems preoccupied. Mannequins. Lifeless pale mannequins. When you find yourself sitting amongst the audience, think to yourself, am I a mannequin potato or am I the life of the party?

I’m tired, you’re tired, and chances are everyone is, but the trick is to convince yourself you’re invincible. Remind yourself of all the fun you’re having, take inventory of everything going on around you in the present moment. Personally, cheering allows me to forget about the pressures of performance and allows me to pick up a few things from more experienced dancers.

One day at a competition when you’ve got things other than dance on your mind, imagine looking up and you see your comrades turning red from all the blood running through their face to cheer you and partner on… they’ll give you the power to turn your performance from 0-60mph in two seconds. Better than a Ferrari.