What Being a Cheerleader Brings to my Dance Teaching Today
In honor of National Cheerleading Day, I wanted to share with you how Cheer has impacted my dancing as well as what it brings to my classes. I was a Cheerleader for four years, and while I didn't know it at the time, it prepared me in so many ways. Not only did I learn formation changes, arm positions, safety, and how to make last-minute adjustments, I also dipped my toe in the teaching waters. When I was in eighth grade, my squad taught a another cheer squad from a much-bigger neighboring county! I felt completely out of my element, but it was a great confidence booster! And here's a list of what else Cheerleading adds to my current classes and performances:
Discipline, Preparation and Practice: there are a lot of behind-the scenes preparations, similar to a dance class or performance. There can be hours of practice and groundwork that goes into an hour class or a 5-minute performance. Both Cheer and dance helps you to learn to be disciplined and focus on the outcome.
Skills and Hard Work: like anything, to improve your skills, you need to work at it, and keep working at it, in order to reach your full potential. I strive to learn as many dance styles from as many instructors as possible, so I can pass this knowledge onto you.
Sportsmanship and Teamwork: while successes are great, the real learning opportunities lie when things don't "go to plan." That's when you reset and try something else, and you do so with grace. You also learn to adjust someone's crown when you notice that it's crooked. It's not about being in competition or keeping score. It' s about working together to accomplish goals with cooperation and collaboration.
Physical and Mental Strength: just like dance, Cheer offers cardio, resistance, flexibility, and endurance. But they also provide the mental fortitude to "stick with it;" whether on the floor or in everyday life.
Confidence and Self-Esteem: performing onstage or on the football field in front of a full crowd takes a lot of courage! Talk about "stepping out of your comfort zone!" This confidence carries over into other areas of life.
Social Skills: Just like dance, Cheer provides the opportunity to make friends outside your social circle. Not only do you learn how to navigate different personality traits, you also learn to show empathy and respect for others, as well as conflict resolution while maintaining your demeaner. All of which is useful in your everyday life!
Endurance and Dedication: Dance and Cheer are both a year-round activity, which teaches dependability and commitment. Whether you are on a Dance Team of Cheer Squad, you are there for others.
Leadership and community: Both ambassadors, a dance teacher and a cheer-leader are leaders within their immediate groups as well as in the community. These leadership qualities apply to so many aspects of everyday life.