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What is Cheerleading?

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By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

Cheerleading is a sports and acrobatics activity that includes chanting, dancing, stunting, and tumbling. 

There are a few different types of Cheerleading. School or community-based Cheerleading, Recreational Cheer, Preparation Cheerleading (Prep Cheer), and All-Star Competitive Cheerleading. 

School-based Cheerleaders are organized with support from the school community. They typically learn fun chants and pom routines as well as some stunting and tumbling to perform at sporting events throughout the school year to boost school spirit. Most High School cheerleaders have an opportunity to attend competitions throughout the year as well.

Recreational or prep cheerleaders are usually affiliated with a private cheer organization or cheer center. These cheerleaders typically have a lower commitment level to their sport and perform at fewer events or competitions than their higher-level counterparts the All-Star competitive cheerleaders. Prep cheerleaders have an opportunity to compete and explore the cheer sport before deciding to be fully competitive without the extra cost and time commitment required for All-Star Cheerleaders. 

All-Star competitive cheerleaders train many hours and have advanced tumbling and stunt tricks that they perform at competitions. Competitive Cheerleaders travel regionally and nationally to compete. 

Like high school cheerleaders, the competitive cheerleader will learn a 2 ½ minute choreographed routine to take to competitions. The main difference between the two is high school cheerleaders train around school sports schedules and performance-based Competitive Cheerleaders train year-round.

This page is just one of hundreds of definitions of the many styles and genres of dance. This library is being continually added to by the writers and contributors of Dance Parent 101!