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The Prospector

The Discreditation of Cheer and Dance at Cupertino

Despite Cupertino’s beloved cheerleading and dance teams serving as the spearheads of school spirit on campus, the discreditation that countless dancers and cheerleaders have experienced throughout their athletic careers remains.

Both being sports that are purposefully made to appear easy, many feel that dance and cheerleading are not often considered on par with more generic sports such as baseball or football. Dance is widely regarded as an art form rather than a sport, despite qualifying as a sport by definition, while cheer is only acknowledged as a sport at a highly competitive level. 

Said Emily Wright, junior and officer of the Golden Spurs dance team, “While dance is technically an art form and there’s nothing wrong with people considering it as one, it’s also extremely athletic and takes a lot of skill and I do often find myself having to over-explain myself and the reasons why dance is also a sport.”  

In addition to the lack of recognition from their peers, the Golden Spurs receive zero funding from administration as opposed to many other sports and groups representing the school. “I’m sure that finances have kept many potential members from auditioning for the team. Each dancer has to pay for their own clothing, camp, and travel, and we have to fundraise to pay for competition entry fees, choreographers, and events,” said Coach Kim Caldwell. 

           While Cupertino’s cheer squad, on the other hand, does receive financial support from the school, the girls still have a long way to go in terms of receiving adequate acknowledgement for their athletic achievements. Stated Varsity Captain Lee Dorman, “People think cheer is just little dances on the sidelines and no one really sees what goes on behind the scenes. We also don’t get the same recognition as other sports during signing days and during rallies. We’ve made it to Nationals and accomplished a lot but no one really knows because it’s not talked about.”

In addition to not being recognized for their wins and successful competition seasons, the Varsity cheer team has yet to receive captain stars or letters. Said Dorman, “At the end of seasons, all the sports get stars and letters [for our letterman jackets] and I’ve been waiting for three years now to get all of mine. And no one is getting them, so that’s kind of frustrating because all the other sports are receiving theirs as their season ends or as their season starts.”

“People think cheer is just little dances on the sidelines and no one really sees what goes on behind the scenes.” – Lee Dorman, Varsity Cheer Captain

From the demanding time commitment and training, to the diligence needed for hours of grueling practice each week, to the incredible strength, stamina and flexibility required of both cheerleaders and dancers, both are sports as deserving of the same respect as any other. However, with both cheerleading and dance being fields that are largely dominated by women, even more so at Cupertino, many have posed the question of whether their dismissal as “real” sports, intentional or not, takes root in subconscious sexism. “I would say that definitely has something to do with it. I know that often in the media and other areas, dancers are almost always depicted by women, which could play into why people don’t take dance as seriously and view it as more of a recreational activity than a sport,” said senior and Golden Spurs officer Susan Chen.

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Amrita Brar
Amrita Brar, Writer
Amrita Brar joined the Prospector because of her passion for creative writing, in particular, realistic fiction. “The work I’m most proud of was a short story assignment in [freshman] literature,” said Brar. “It was about horse riding, which I liked to do since I was a kid.” The childhood ranch in Saratoga is where Brar still goes to ride horses in her free time. Brar said, “There’s really not much to say about it, it’s a hobby, I really like it.” In joining journalism, Brar likes to improve her interviews and writing, as well as other journalist skills. “Learning how to take pictures would be pretty cool too.” Said Brar. In the future, she hopes to become Postscript editor and, with some work, EiC. Brar’s friends and family are very important to her, but also, being able to do things that she enjoys. “I don't want to join any extracurricular activities that I don't want to do, just for the sake of it.” Said Brar. Main street-wise, Brar said, “I like to hang out at [Cafe] LaTTea and do my homework. I go there every day.”

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