These thoughts are in no particular order, are not leaning on only one university and are solely for the sake of writing down my experience watching the UAAP Cheerdance Competition this year.
1. The crowd. Where’s the intensity?
I’ve seen a number of Cheerdance competitions all at the Araneta Coliseum and I could say that this year’s crowd was “the most hushed compared to the crowd of the past years”. I’m not saying that students didn’t cheer for their universities. I just miss the bite of the drumbeats, the ever-loudening cheers, the repetitive raising of whatever object these students have to represent their universities as they chant altogether. I miss the crazy, hyper crowd I’ve seen before. I miss those times when everybody had to stand on their toes to see all the action. I miss seeing almost all seats being taken. This year, the crowd wasn’t all out. The crowd was smaller. Certain university sides had vacant seats. Isn’t this supposed to be a competition where both the participants and the crowd intensify the whole atmosphere of the event?
2. A new winner will always be delightful to see.
I’m sure people have their own bet, their own favorite squad, their own perspective and opinion. Well, I’m one of those who is definitely happy to see that this year, we have a new winner: the National University Pep Squad. Everybody knows that the podium has always been “exclusive” to UP, UST and FEU. To me, seeing a new victor only intensified possibilities of the coming years. I do agree that this year, the performances were far from how thrilling, excellent, and significant the performances were in the past few years but I see this year’s cheerdance competition as “the beginning of a rather exciting and new cheerdance era”. UP was gunning for 4-peat but was dethroned by NU. Now isn’t that exciting? What will UP do next year? Isn’t it scarier to know that after not getting their fourth crown, what “epicness” will they do next? FEU has always been on the podium but when will they really reign? UST has always been on top as well but when will they growl again? DLSU also surprised everybody as they took the second place. Will they also surprisingly become champions next year? NU rised from being the ignored team to champions. Will they take the crown again in the next years? What if another squad wows us all without caution? Now I do have to see what happens in the next years!
3. DLSU’s theme is kickass.
Hehe! I really like their theme. And I love how their props turned out to be double duty.
4. UP. Party party!
Watching their performance made me want to party, really! Haha! I enjoyed listening to their background music. The choreography also paralleled well to their theme. I have to give them kudos for their timing and precision. You would really see that they still have it: the skills, the attitude, the passion, the swag. This could have been an awesome performance if not for the falls. Yes, they could have been champions if not for the mistakes which I’m sure, they didn’t see coming. UP has always been such a strong contender and they never failed to impress. Another thing I loved about this team is seeing them continue to perform passionately despite the falls. They were still kickass with a strike of demure; no sign of regret can be seen on their faces as they continue dancing. They still grooved till they can. They know that they are champions despite the unforeseen outcome. Even without the crown, UP has something to party about. I think that’s the most important thing.
5. NU’s wish has now come true.
NU used to be that team which when performing, gives you the opportunity to grab a popcorn or go to the restroom. LOL! Now, they’re champions. I actually hate seeing people say that they won because “this certain university had many falls”, “this year’s cheerdance wasn’t as challenging as those before”, “all other squads had a fall”, “they merely have the cleanest routine” and “Henry Sy paid the judges”. WTH! Just like all other teams, these kids worked hard for this. Can’t you give them the prize of their hard work and dedication? Watching the replay, I’ve seen that they have truly developed. They already have the skills, the attitude and the confidence. Most of their pyramids were stable. The flyers were confident; you can hardly see them getting out-of-balance. There’s difficulty in their routine. Nobody fell. They were able to pull off their theme. They won and it’s not because of some magic. They won because they deserved it THAT VERY MOMENT.
6. I miss all those gigantic props and gimmicks.
I heard that the criteria has been changed. Well, I understand that this is a cheerdance competition. It’s not a festival. It’s not some kind of a talent show. However, I miss cheerdance mixed with UNIVERSITY angst. I miss that SCHOOL SPIRIT I’ve seen in the past years. Any “creative idea” made to represent a university, whether it be a giant Blue eagle, an enormous box with cheerdancers dressed like tigers coming out of it, or random objects that turn out to be a model of a school building, gives an additional wow factor to the overall experience. I. MISS. IT. I believe that’s what makes UAAP different from other cheerleading competitions.
7. It’s always best to watch the competition with your classmates.
I was able to watch CDC but only with my brother. Why? What else than the usual problem: tickets. It’s not so fun cheering alone or with just one person. It’s always best cheering your team with a big group of hyper, yelling, shouting, jumping people.
8. UST had a wardrobe malfunction?
I think there was this part where they were supposed to have this effect of their costumes transforming from black with little gold details to very sparkly but two of them had a wardrobe malfunction so the effect didn’t really serve well. Too bad! That could have been cool.
9. UP crowd is very dedicated.
First of all, I believe that they were the biggest crowd. Second, I think that they were the loudest crowd. Third, they cheered for their team NO MATTER WHAT. Even when their squad was called and it was known that they unfortunately were not able to get their fourth consecutive crown, they still cheered. They cheered when one of their cheerleaders was chosen as a contender for the “Samsung Stunner of the Year”. They cheered at every possible moment. Now that’s what you call, school spirit! Lastly, their crowd was the last crowd that left the venue.
So that’s it.
I’m looking forward to the next UAAP Cheerdance Competition.
I hope this year kicks them all with more inspiration to do better than their best today.