UAAP Cheerdance

UAAP cheerdance returns with shorter routines, possibly no drummers

JR Isaga
UAAP cheerdance returns with shorter routines, possibly no drummers

CHEERDANCE CONTROVERSY. The UAAP Cheerdance Competition returns with glaring tweaks to time-tested routines

The UAAP Cheerdance Competition returns with a controversial non-inclusion of pep squad drummers and shorter, three-minute routines

MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in three years, the UAAP Cheerdance Competition is making its long-awaited return on Sunday, May 22, 4 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena with full fan attendance, albeit with some controversial tweaks.

For starters, the routines have been cut from five minutes each to just three, and there will be no drummers present in the venue – barring a last minute change by the UAAP.

Per UAAP president Nonong Calanog of host school La Salle, the initial decisions were made for the sake of fans’ safety and continuity of the pep squads’ planned routines.

“This is not the normal CDC. When the (UAAP) Board decided to bring back CDC, we’re still in Alert Level 2 or 3. At that time, we’re already looking at having cheerdance without a crowd,” he said during a press conference at MOA on Thursday, May 19.

“The cheerdance coaches came up with their routines six months before. Things are a little better now, but we had to contend with the uncertainty. We didn’t know what will happen this time, but we were ready with whatever decisions we made at that time. We just went on with the safest way of conducting the CDC.”

This explanation came after all eight UAAP drummer groups released a statement “humbly asking” the league to reconsider their non-inclusion. All routines used to open with drum beats and custom crowd chants before the main dances start.

“The primary consideration is really safety of everyone. Part of that consideration, as compared to games that only have two schools playing and two squads cheering, these are eight schools cheering at the same time. Some [decisions] are really health-related,” Calanog continued.

“There was an appeal but we will discuss it with the board, and decide if we will go back and look at that decision, and see if it’s worth something looking back into. Either [on Friday] or Saturday. We’ll see.”

Regardless of the new rules, all eight member universities are joining the popular spectator event, which will be kicked off by the Ateneo Blue Eagles, formerly the Blue Babble Battalion.

Two-time defending champion NU Pep Squad will immediately be featured second, followed by the UP Pep Squad – one of the two winningest programs in competition history with eight titles to its name.

The FEU Cheering Squad will perform at fourth, then at fifth will be the Adamson Pep Squad, the 2017 champions who broke NU’s dominant four-year run at the top from 2013 to 2016.

Host team DLSU Animo Squad will be up at sixth, followed by the UE Pep Squad at seventh. Finally, the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe will close the show as they try to snap a 16-year championship drought, and break the eight-title tie with UP.

This year’s champions will receive P50,000, while P30,000 will be awarded to the first runners-up, and P20,000 for the second runners-up.

Tickets will go on sale this Friday, May 20, starting at 10 am, both online and in all SM Tickets outlets. –

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