Cheer and dance teams look to have compact team size for future socially distanced performances


CWU Athletics

CWU Cheerleader and Dancer, Amelia Elliot, cheering at a CWU’s homecoming football game in 2019. The team looks forward to cheering again.

The 2020-21 season for the cheer and dance teams has certainly not been one to dance and cheer about.

With live sports and large gatherings prohibited, the teams have yet to come together for practices. The return of sports will see a return in numbers for the teams but in a more condensed format.

Members of the teams are still preparing on their own time with tryouts still in the wings for newcomers. Dance team veteran and co-captain Kearia Duncan said the club finally has a plan of practices and performances.

“With winter quarter coming up we were kind of able to fix practice and we’d be able to perform. But that is with five dancers,” Duncan said.

Roster size usually ranges from 17-22 dancers with a maximum of 25. The five positions would include the team’s captain, co-captain, fundraising and social media managers.

Duncan finds it a struggle to see only a handful of dancers at a time.

“The amount of work and effort we would put into it wouldn’t really rival what we could do as a team,” Duncan said.

Duncan has now taken her same passion and energy she normally puts towards dance into her studies. Duncan continues her senior year as a double major in both Family and Child Life with a Family Science specialization along with an American Sign Language degree.

Junior sociology major Auricia Johnson said cheer was her deciding factor in attending CWU.

With no games to cheer at, Johnson says one of the most important parts of her focus is staying in shape at a constant rate.

“When you’re in cheer or a sport, whatever sport, you can work out and get away with not doing it on another day,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the news that cheer was going to be canceled conflicted with the events she had been witness to around the country and on television.

“It was a total shock because it’s upsetting seeing other states, like more in the south and even with NFL cheer teams, seeing them being able to cheer with masks and six feet apart. They’re making it work,” Johnson said.

The frustration Johnson feels stems from a lack of execution from the department to produce a season more than being shut down.

“It was really difficult to hear we couldn’t at least try, but I do understand the circumstances because it happened so quick and we are a college campus,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, the team received the go-ahead from Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs Tyler Unsicker for the cheerleaders to be present at the basketball games this season with limited numbers.

The GNAC has said it plans to release a full sport schedule in the upcoming weeks for winter and spring. A more accurate timeline for the cheer team’s return will then be laid out.

As for now, the dance team’s online tryouts are scheduled for Nov. 18.