Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dancing in September: UP Pep Squad's 2013 Party theme *updated*

Warning: updated with over 20MB of GIFs (taken from YouTube user Koneg).

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Photo: Marlon Nombrado and Luis Adrian Hidalgo for TinigngPlaridel

Despite the UP Pep Squad's major mistakes (I counted four, with one minor error in the dismount), they still clinched 2nd place ahead the cleaner performance of DLSU. After all, despite the failed attempts by some members, the rest of the squad were able to execute the demanding stunts which you'd normally see in world cheerleading championships. I have to give it to UP for being the first to have done some of them locally.

Even before the event, UP announced that this was going to be a fun routine, hugely different from their 2012 Freedom piece, which was serious and almost prophetical. Nevertheless, and as always, UP mixed up gender stereotypes by highlighting the girls' strength (last seen in 2009 through Anna Cruz's partner stunt), while the boys took the front row in the dance segments. In this routine, UP also proves that they are undoubtedly the best in terms of choreography and dance. (This year, influenced by Latin and hiphop.) I don't think I've seen the squad execute their dance this synchronized and clean in recent years: their lines and formations were near perfection.

Photo: Marlon Nombrado and Luis Adrian Hidalgo for TinigngPlaridel

Also, for the sixth straight year, I loved the styling of the group. Their hairstyle this time was inspired by Rihanna's curly mohawk, with the girls wearing a mesh top. Disco balls served as pompoms.

Now on to the routine. Here were my favorite parts:

The cartwheel mounted partner stunt to scorpion and arabesque with full dismount:

The exquisite, half-twist mounted 1-1-1 chair stunt, they may as well have been Eames, lol:

Schools normally show off their female cheerleaders by having them contort in bone-defying poses (hello, NU girl), but UP, as always, sets itself apart. In this 1-1-2, Team Captain Lian Melegrito, as mid-base, balances two top fliers in the length of 7 seconds, which is about the same time I can carry a baby before passing it back to its mother.

Unfortunately, only one of the toe-touch to 2-2-1 partner stunts made it.

Photo: Marlon Nombrado and Luis Adrian Hidalgo for TinigngPlaridel

The pop half twist to heel stretch, reloaded to bow and arrow:

The Gloria Estefan dance segment with the domino series of handstands to split:

Four handstand-mounted heel stretch, and two backhand spring to rewinds to heel stretch:

The "Never Say Die" stunt: after a unique 2-2-1 mounting and finish, the middle group attempts another difficult 2-2-1 stunt with a full-twist mounting. She fails the first time but succeeds in the second—and in a snap, holds her head up high. The fliers on the sides do a pop half twist while mounted on top of their respective pyramids and dismount with a cartwheel.

My personal favorite: the toss-mounted 1-1-1s—AND THEN, the pop full twist from the top fliers. Ang hirap na nga nung mounting, tapos pag land ng top flier, papahirapan pa ulit?! Lol.

In yet another variation of the 1-1-1, the top fliers are mounted in a side split position. A pair of female cheerleaders serves as mid-bases in this stunt. Again, this is another difficult stunt because um, it's hard to carry someone who's practically the same size as you over your head. The group in the far right commits an error but it's more of a mounting/prep miscalculation.

They end the routine with a modified wolf pyramid, highlighted by an assisted one-man liberty at the center.

Photo: Marlon Nombrado and Luis Adrian Hidalgo for TinigngPlaridel

As for the tosses, highlights were the graceful double fulls.

I love this video because this whatever they were saying were exactly what was running through my mind while watching the routine, lol.

Here's another one of my favorite amateur videos if only for her shrieking and imploration for the stunts to stop, lol.

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As for the other squads:

FEU - I knew they were out of the Top 3 the moment they finished their performance. It was lackluster and their routine had nothing to say, which was surprising given how its coach has been making not-so-subtle digs at UP in various interviews. Its courtside reporter even had the gall to call themselves "tunay na number one at walang hulog!"

Wala din hulog ang UP; walang hulog sa Top 3.

FEU also copied (as it always does) UP's 2012 signature of having opened their routine with their last pose from the precceeding year. (In UP's case, it was part of a narrative. With FEU's, ewan.)

UE - My friends and I laugh about how we were, in fact, amused by their poi props!

DLSU - While I loved DLSU and I did place them third in my own ranking, I had misgivings about their military theme. Sorry. I'm sensitive these days and I find that spraying the audience with 'gunfire' a tad... insensitive, to put it lightly.

NU - I was impressed when I saw their routine live, but now that I've watched an amateur video, I'm less complimentary of their routine. Ironic as it may sound, iba pa din yung linis ng mounting, technique, and stability—and yung grace—ng UP Pep. But nevertheless, it was a deserved win, in my opinion.

UST - Jesus, I feel so sorry for UST. What could have been a strong routine was mired by the messiest of errors :-( I have to say though that I appreciate their attempt at finally elevating their skills. I think they need to join other local competitions for practice and exposure. Also, I was turned off by their first costume, but loved the surprise glittering robe because well, I'm a Beyonce fan, haha!

Ateneo - As in recent years, I think they have a styling problem :-I The skills are there (though a far cry from the top teams), but somehow, their routines fail to make a positive mark.

5 * :

Perfect Run said...

What's the point of doing difficult stunts if you wouldn't be able to execute them well? Sorry, but this isn't really impressive.

Jason D. said...

Addressed this in the intro. Also, impressive enough for the judges to rank this higher than the other teams' relatively cleaner performances.

Vince Cruz said...

"Team Captain Lian Melegrito, as mid-base, balances two top fliers in the
length of 7 seconds, which is about the same time I can carry a baby
before passing it back to its mother."

*chuckles* the more you resist..... :P

Jakobi said...

If you get the crowd pumped and put in awe, regardless of affiliation, that's cheering. You are missing the point of cheerdance, buddy.

Patrick Lee 李小龍 said...

Of course that's the intention of the routine. Anu ba? As if naman they planned to have all those mistakes. Nangyayari talaga yon. Geez.

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