‘Real’ cheerleaders more than dancers
The Hurricanes rugby team ‘‘cheerleaders’’ do not deserve that description, say Wellington’s real cheerleaders.
The Hurricanes’ cheerleaders and similar groups gave people the wrong idea about cheerleading, according to Tawa-based Jemma Hutchinson, 19, and EmmaJane Kortegast, 18.
‘‘They’re not really cheerleaders, they’re dancers,’’ says Hutchinson.
Hutchinson and Kortegast are trained cheerleaders who perform routines – including mid-air spins and tucks – and compete.
Cheerleading was a sport that required a lot of training and precision, Hutchinson says.
‘‘ People are saying that cheerleading’s not a sport, but it’s because they see those [Hurricanes] dancers as cheerleaders.
‘‘That’s kind of where the stereotype comes from.
‘‘ But they haven’t seen what it’s actually like. It’s a lot of hard work.’’
A predominantly American sport, cheerleading has made its way to Tawa, and is producing some great talent.
Hutchinson, who studies photography and graphic design at Wellington Institute of Technology, has been cheerleading for four years.
She said she began doing gym from an early age, training 16 hours a week.
When she quit, she wanted to keep those skills going.
‘‘Cheerleading’s a lot more social [than gym]. ‘‘It’s a team sport.’’ Kortegast, who studies architecture at Victoria University, has been cheerleading for five years.
‘‘I’d always done gym. I’m not really good at ball sports,’’ she says. ‘‘There’s a lot of pressure. ‘‘If one person mucks up then it’s just going to fail.’’
Kortegast is a ‘‘flyer’’ and gets thrown in the air to perform twists and flips.
The young women train at Bigair gym in Tawa and are part of the senior team.
They recently won the duo division of the national Cheerfest competition.
They created their own routine, and trained together for just under a month.
Though they say they probably left it a bit late, they were excited about their win.
Hutchinson, a ‘‘lifter’’, said competition was helpful because it gave the cheerleaders something to work towards.
‘‘It’s about achieving things as well. That’s my first cheerleading trophy,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s pretty inspirational. It’s sitting in my room and I always look at it and I’m like, ‘I wanna train really hard and get another one at next comp’.’’