Welcome back to our series, Cheerleading History, where we look at the history of cheerleading and how it has shaped the sport as we know it today.
This week, we will be looking at cheerleading between 1974 and 1982.
Cheerleading continued to grow in popularity across the United States, thanks in large part to the camps created by the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA). “In 1974, the former General Manager and Vice President of NCA, Jeff Webb, founded the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) to teach higher levels of skills to cheerleaders around the United States.” Jeff Webb introduced new “cheerleading specific skills”, such as partner stunts and pyramids, “…thus augmenting cheerleading’s traditional leadership function; a new era of cheerleading begins.” With the introduction of partner stunts and pyramids, cheerleading begins to form into a sport of its own, not just an activity meant to encourage other teams. “These advanced skills are first introduced in the Southern & Central United States, and the new style spreads rapidly across the United States.”
Imagine having to perform a cheerleading routine without music. This was the case until 1975, which can also be refered to as the birth year of the cheerleading routine! “In July 1975, Jeff Webb’s UCA College Spirit Camp Instructors opened their university cheerleader training camp held at Memphis State University (now, University of Memphis) in Tennessee … with a demonstration of cheerleading skills incorporating music.”
With the addition of partner stunts and pyramids, the popularity of cheerleading spread like wildfire across the United States. “As a method to accommodate the thousands of requests for the new style of cheerleading, Jeff Webb places cheerleading on a new sports television network called the “Entertainment Sports Programming Network” or “ESPN”.” With this, cheerleading begins to spread around the globe, inspiring other countries to adopt the new “cheerleading specific skills”. Partner stunts, pyramids, motions, jumps and dance; what we now consider to be the basic elements of all cheerleading routines. “Based on syndicated programming of cheerleading national championships, music videos, and sporting events, cheerleading begins to further develop over the next few years in Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Finland to name a few.”
Want to see what cheerleading looked like between 1974 and 1982? Check out the video below between the beginning at 4:12.
Next week we will look at cheerleading more in-depth between 1987 and 1989.
Check out all of the articles in this series here:
This article contains information from cheerunion.org, The International Cheer Union website. Please visit their website for more historical information or other cheerleading related information.
History of Cheerleading. (n.d.). Retrieved September 8, 2015, from http://cheerunion.org/history/cheerleading/
Retrieve September 28th, 2015 from 40 Years of UCA – Anniversary Highlight Reel. UCA/ Varsity Spirit, 2014. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rocJZGainI