From the Sideline, All the World's a Stage
It was the largest gymnasium I had ever been in. It was June 2000 and I was about to try-out for my high school's cheerleading squad. Still in the eighth grade, I had no idea what a cheerleading squad was about, nor the dedication that was required to be a part of this team. I was taking a chance, rebelling against what was expected of me. I was never the type to wear a skirt, much less become a cheerleader. I never expected to develop a genuine passion for the art of cheerleading. My uniform became my costume and my booming voice defined my character; cheerleading soon gave birth to my love for performing.
Through cheerleading, I adapted to a rigorous schedule that the team called "practice." I kept to myself, being that I was one of two incoming-freshmen most of the girls on the squad were juniors and seniors.
My voice hardly projected, my moves and angles were neither sharp nor tight. I wasn't very energetic and this frustrated within the captains and most of the upperclassmen. Luckily, there were those few girls that had the patience and belief in me to teach me to the best of their ability. With the help of these girls, not only did I improve in cheerleading but I also became a more charismatic performer. I learned to conquer my "stage fright." These girls became my mentors and helped me take a different perspective; practice turned into what I now view as "rehearsals."
The similarities between a cheerleading practice and a rehearsal for a musical are undeniable. Both require memorization, conditioning, and successful execution. Via a cheer, a song, or routine the goal is always to engage the audience. As my cheerleading career progressed...