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by Santwon McCray

After an exciting couple weeks of the biggest and most spirited all-star competitions in the world (Worlds and Summit), gyms worldwide are gearing up for tryouts to start the season anew. It seems that year after year the sport of all-star cheer becomes increasingly intensive and creative in all aspects. More jaw-dropping stunt sequences, harder tumbling passes, bass bumping dances that get you out of your seat and on your feet; and this year was no exception. To help us break it down, we asked a couple of the industry’s top choreographers for their take on growing trends so you’re not left behind; Mr. Santwon McCray of Cali All-Stars and Mr. Sean Porter of Cheer City United. Both have grown up in this industry for decades and are some of the most talented choreographers out there. With numerous accolades in choreography, cheer, and dance, their resumes to speak for themselves.


The history of cheer motions stem from the classic NCA High-V, Low-V, Broken-T, Touchdown, etc. the fundamental cheer motions we prep all of our cheerleaders with. Oh, how the industry has evolved since.. we're seeing exciting acrobatics, flashy dance moves and innovative transitions being added into routines to increase appeal and difficulty. Santwon says: “Some of the biggest trends being incorporated into routines are more creative movements during our building skills. We’re also seeing major trends in skills that are uniquely executed (such as baskets, stunt entries and transitions) versus simply doing the skills after some flashy motions.”

Although in High School and College Cheerleading clean technique wins; creativity is at an all time high for cheerleading at every level. Innovative transitions, floor use, and sequences are being seen across the world.

SYMMETRY OUT THE WINDOW All cheerleaders have symmetry ingrained in their souls from countless practices. “Check your lines!”, “Are you line, panel, or fifth?”, and “are you in line with your opposite?” are all barked at every single practice. “Asymmetry has never been more aesthetically pleasing when it comes to tumbling and dance formations.” Santwon explains.

Sean expands on this idea: “This season’s major shift would have to be the innovative and non-conventional use of the floor. Asymmetry in both formations and the execution of skills helps to create a feeling of unexpectedness and excitement in a routine.” Creatively utilizing all of the floor and allowing those formations to fluidly transition into the next part of the routine is all the rage. Coaches and choreographers are truly pushing the limits of eye-catching drama on the mat; leaving judges, fellow coaches, and fans with their mouths wide open wanting more!

STEPPING AWAY FROM THE NORM Of late all-star cheer continues to be on the cutting edge of creativity and innovation while trying to keep its roots in technicality and difficulty. All while trying to one-up what was done last year. For many it has been exciting to say the least and choreographers embrace it. “It's quite refreshing to see non-traditional & progressive elements being given a shot and being received on so many levels of cheer!” says Santwon. We have seen a tilt shift in how routines are sequenced as well. For years we could automatically tell that running tumbling was next. Here comes the jump sections. In today’s routine, it’s almost like the next section is a mystery. Sean expands on this idea explaining “Routine composition is another area that has seen a lot of change this season. The idea of a “standard flow” to a routine is becoming antiquated as coaches and choreographers strive to step away from the perception of being “cookie cutter”. Routines have also become extremely flashy, in an attempt to keep engagement up during performances. The drawback is that some teams focus more on the flash than clean execution. A program that can master all of these elements will leave little to be desired by the judges.” This upcoming season poses to be even more exciting than the last and if you thought you had seen it all… don’t hold your breath because you won't be disappointed. With choreographers like Sean and Santwon are upping the game each and every day, our sport has a bright future. Put on your seatbelts and prepare to say “OOH... AHHHHH!”

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