The Portland State Cheerleaders generously invited me into one of their practices last night to discuss Dial-a-Cheer, the PomPom People, their notions of the role of the Cheerleader, stereotypes in the media, positivity, cynicism and art.
One thing that has really changed since my stint as a cheerleader is that they are ATHLETES. or as they put it "Halfletes" - all the athleticism, half the respect. They are gymnasts, dancers and weightlifters. They urge the crowd on. They get frustrated by overwhelming cynicism too. They know stereotypes are just that. They recognize their choreographer as an artist.
Tomorrow I have a rendezvous to begin our collaboration- it may be one day or many, but I am excited to start to break down the barrier between Cheerleading and Art, and see what can happen with the new visual and emotional impact of many (kick ass) PomPom peeps in contrast to my lone voice.