Spirit leaders pump up student body during Homecoming

October 23, 2015 — by Gwynevere Hunger and Tiffany Zheng

With Homecoming week encouraging school spirit for all students, the dance and cheer teams have worked hard to serve as spirit leaders.


With Homecoming week encouraging school spirit for all students, the dance and cheer teams have worked hard to serve as spirit leaders.

At the football game against rival Los Gatos on Oct. 9, the dance team performed a Advanced Jazz routine to the Gecko Remix of “Overdrive” to Nicki Minaj, a dance that senior Chloe Koon and junior Caroline Li learned during the UC Santa Cruz elite dance camp they participated in this summer. The same routine was also performed at the Homecoming Kick-Off Rally on Oct. 12.

“It was the first time that we performed jazz and a really fun routine for all of us to perform,” Koon said. “It was a chance for us to show that we aren't a hip hop dominated team and to show that we are all really well rounded dancers.”

The team returned to a hip hop dance to Beyoncé’s “Yoncé” for the Homecoming football game on Oct. 16. Because this dance was choreographed for the regional and national dance competitions in the spring, the routine was much harder technically and took the team a much longer time to practice and perfect.

“The hip hop dance is a different style then jazz so we were able feature all our different skills. This dance is very fast paced so it can please the crowd,” Koon said.

Koon said the team’s stamina has improved due to extensive conditioning. She also said they’ve succeeded at clean up their routines, making them stronger as they go into competition season.

Koon said the 11 girls on the dance team have bonded together while improving techniques during intense practices.

“A lot of the members on the team this year are new, including myself, so it's been really great to see how we are all growing together and really becoming a family,” Koon said.

The cheer team also performed at the football game against Los Gatos, Homecoming Kick-Off rally and Homecoming football game. It performed a blend of two routines for both halftime’s shows to Beyonce’s “Partition.”

Senior co-captains Cayla Zelanis and Summer Smith taught the routine to the team after incorporating different stunts.

With cheer coach Dominique Davidson pregnant and soon to go on maternity leave, Zelanis and Smith have been left in charge of running the varsity team. Davidson has had to cancel many practices, making their practice time especially necessary

“There is limited time to come up with our halftime routines so we have to push and make sure that everything gets done in just one practice,” Zelanis said.

For example, practice was canceled on Homecoming week, leaving the team to have only one practice to learn and perfect a halftime routine for the football game the next day. The JV team, however, has not dealt with the same problems.

“[Davidson] doesn't miss a lot of JV practices because they are not as used to running things on their own like we are,” Zelanis said. “They are also younger so it is harder for them to know when it is time to get down and work.”

In addition, two members of the varsity team were unable to continue because of scheduling issues.

“[Cheer] is not something that everyone can handle on top of school and everything else going on in their lives,” Zelanis said.

The team agrees that not having a coach for the current time being is the hardest strain on the team as a whole. With only captains acting as “stand-in coaches” by running each practice and creating routines for the entire team, Zelanis acknowledged that she has learned much about teamwork in these past months and has grown as a person.

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