The actual meaning of dance lives in the hearts and minds of dancers both current and former. Dancers are not cheerleaders! Dancers study technique, form, and control, which is separate from the formulas of cheerleading. They are separate sports, and yes I really do believe they are both sports; dance and cheer.
Malina Bohannon began dancing at age 3. A former Red Rock Star, and national dance champion, Malina understands the hard work and dedication needed to perform well at the competition. She’s a team player, part of my dance family, and a friend.
Malina did attempt to go the cheerleading route for a while, and like most dancers, I’ve seen, learned that her dancer’s heart was calling her back to the dance floor.
Malina like myself did the cheerleading route for a time. Both of us took a year or two off of studio dance and went independent in dance, and/or cheer. She doesn’t regret the decision to have left dance for a while, but dance does have a special calling in her heart. She is expected to return to the drill team and dance floor this next season. Molina is excited about the opportunity to once again compete in dance and aspires to enter the solo competition arena as well.
Malina stated “I miss being with the team on the dance floor. We grew up together. Good or bad we were always there for each other. I liked the cheer squad, but what I really want to do is just dance. The cheerleaders do deserve a lot of praise however, they don’t really receive any – for the amount of work they do.”
In the larger metropolitan areas, the dance and cheer teams are expected to work together and both teams MUST attend every game. They all cheer. Most have coaches who work with both teams, and they form what is called a spirit squad. The dance takes a certain breed, as does cheer, but we are one team – one spirit squad.
To understand the differences between cheerleaders and dancers like Malina, we sought out to learn from a cheerleader and alumni of GCHS.
In an interview with a former cheerleader, Samantha Jacobson (Samantha cheered all four years at GCHS). Samantha stated,
“Your alumni is key to the success of your team”.
Samantha also noted that most coaches are only paid maybe $1000 – $1500 total for a whole year. That’s pretty much volunteer status. It is hard for a person who only has a few hours a day, and limited funds, to meet all the expectations that are required to produce a high-level team.
Samantha cheered under a number of excellent instructors but did mention that one coach, in particular, Amy Cox; who really put the word volunteer on the map for her team.
“Amy didn’t take anything negative from the team, she taught us respect. That is the way it should be. Cheer coaches are not paid to deal with the real issues, those issues generally are passed up to the principle level.
The team isn’t allowed to compete, because they don’t consider cheer a sport. However when you have issues on say, the football team, those coaches are generally well compensated – and the issues are wiped away. That is why our cheer team needs our alumni, to help back up our cheer coaches and train our young cheerleaders “.
Malina is a national dance champion. She began at the very tender age of 3, dancing with the Stars’ in the micro minis, and went on to dance for 12 more years. I watched her grow into one of the most talented dancers on the floor. While it saddened me to watch her leave, I am very glad to see her return. I think her background knowledge of the cheerleading world will only help to make her a more heartfelt dancer, with her team first in her mind. She is lucky to have had the opportunity to learn and grow in the cheerleading environment. Cheerleading teaches you to lead and not expect a lot in return.
As a sophomore, Malina already understands how the role of leadership can be a tough one. She also knows what effective leadership can do within a community. Dancers also do fundraisers to help with special events and projects; she is interested in seeing more fundraising done at the high school level.
The Grand County High School Devilettes Drill Team are state-sanctioned, and drill is classified as a sport. They should be actively involved in fundraising.
With her dynamic personality, Malina is sure to be successful in all her endeavors. She plans to begin taking current enrollment classes in the fall of her junior year through USU Moab and has high ambitions of one day becoming a successful businesswoman. I have no doubt she will.
Malina noted “you can’t let those moments in life that seemed bad get you down. You have to take those moments and use them to help yourself grow into a more successful individual. I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I know what my weaknesses are, and I know that I’m not alone. I also know what my strengths are, and what I need to do to be successful. I really want to be able to help others to see that in themselves as well”.
PS: I would like to personally give a big shout out to Malina ‘s dad, Woody. At nationals, he often would step in and help in the daddy-daughter dances. He did back tucks with me one year in front of an audience of 3000 people. As a little kid, “I had a blast!” THANKS, DADDY O!