UPDATED: Added number 2 in favorites
I’m still on a high from UP Pep Squad’s win at yesterday’s cheerdance competition. Aaminin ko, kinabahan ako ng major, major sa FEU kasi parang mga monsters na sila sa bagsik ng stunts nila pero deep in my heart (LOL!) I didn’t lose faith in UP.
Here’s why: I was stunned when we were shown our seats—front row and no obstructions in our line of sight. It was my first time to see the cheerdancers so up close—as in I could see how nervous, clammy and scared some of them were. Some would make the sign of the cross immediately before they make their tumbling passes, and once they’ve accomplished the task, you can see the relief on their faces. I also clearly saw how polished/unpolished their stunts were. FEU, while boasting difficult stunts, had wobbles in their partner stunts and mounting. Some members were also tentative in their executions, hence they lacked synchonicity and fluidity in their movements.
On the other hand, UP learned its lesson from its past extremely well. Since its errors in the 2009 routine were the reasons the squad only landed in third place that year, then it made sure there’d be no such errors.
The theme was fiesta, a routine that highlighted the Ati-Atihan, Panagbenga (flower) and Masskara Festivals. Di ko kinaya ang execution ng UP Pep Squad—despite another difficult routine, sobrang pulido nang execution nila—walang wobble, walang hesitations, fluid yung transitions (at ang bilis). The cheerdancers all looked tanned and glowing and they were gliding on the floor oh-so-lightly—nabuhayan ako kasi feeling ko Miss Universe nanaman, haha! And they all looked happy from start to finish—winner ang showmanship.
I posted this query on Pinoy Exchange: I asked why the squad decided on its final pyramid because I found nothing special about it, I said.
A few of them responded and tama nga naman sila—for the bases: ikaw na ang mag-pasan ng weight ng dalawang tao; for the second base: ikaw na ang magbuhat ng tao using only your arms; and for the flyer, ikaw na ang ihagis sa second base at mag-balance ng sarili mo para di mahulog.
So basically, this is a combination of three 1-1-1 (one base, one mid-base, one flyer) partner stunts with pitch throw mounting (basically, hinagis sila pataas para mabuo ang pyramid, walang hawak-hawak) ending in a double hitch pyramid (yung dalawang 1-1-1 sa gilid) with the Oblation partner stunt in the middle (sorry, di ko alam ang tawag dyan; first time yata yang stunt na yan sa history ng cheerdancing ever, lol.)
If you review the video below, you’ll see how UP made such a difficult stunt seems effortless—their faces and body signals show no strains at all. I think that sums up why UP won this year’s championship.
Here’s the 2010 UP Pep Squad routine (amateur video ito kasi walang ka-future future ang cameramen at director ng Studio 23 sa pag-cover ng UAAP Cheerdance) and my other fave moments:
1 Forming the letters ‘U’ and ‘P’ in a different “font,” lol! (Helvetica daw yan na italics, haha!) 0:45 in the video.
2. The ABS-CBN ‘One Summer’ station ID segment at 1:00. (The squad appeared for that particular station ID video). Three partner stunts, mirrored by another three, for a total of six stunts: double hitch pyramid and an assisted heel stretch with a cartwheel dismount; a pair of full twist pitch throw mounting; a pair of deadman lifts, and which is then modified to the Swedish falls—all with the same set of flyers and all within 20 seconds, whew!
3. Yung sunod-sunod na stunts sa 2:03. Nosebleed na ko dyan, sobrang dami ng pinaggagawa nila at di ko na alam yung mga tawag, lalo na dun sa babaeng nag front handspring (2:08), tinoss at nag-flip, sumugod sa pyramid, hinagis sa pyramid, nag-inverted split sa pyramid, at nag-handstand sa ibabaw ng pyramid, lol.
4. Bwahaha, ang tumbling passes segment (2:25). This was where choreography mattered and where quantity trumped over quality. Since FEU has the best tumblers among all eight schools (seven full twisters in its routine), what UP did was perform the longest tumbling segment in UAAP CDC history—36 seconds of it—di tuloy gaano napansin na tatlo lang yung full twisters ng UP. I’m sure asar ang FEU dito, hehe.
5. The Panagbenga-slash-sunflower segment (3:05). I can’t help but chuckle every time I watch this. By the way, sunflowers line up University Avenue, which leads to the Oblation 🙂
6. So akala mo nang-gagago lang sila (gawin bang pompoms ang sunflower, lol), but no, biglang nag-segue sa isang malupit na tumbling pass (3:46), ending in a flip toss—at ang mga bird front toss, ginawang pang-dismount na lang (3:53), haha!
7. At ang THE BEST!!! Ang apat na rewinds (4:02)!!! (Nakakainis, di nakita ‘to sa TV). They ended this with a total of eight scorpions.
8. Gusto ko ulit yung choreography and music ng Masskara segment (4:25). Two squad members perform perfectly executed jacknife tosses (4:39).
Those are my observations so far—usually it takes me a lot of viewing to see UP’s other technical merits, so I’m quite impressed by cheerdancing judges who get it right the first time they see a routine on the floor 🙂