Edited by Azizi Powell
[Revised September 22, 2016]
This is Part III of a three part series that compares three different but closely related African American originated performance movement arts: historically Black fraternities & sororities steppin (stepping); foot stomping [cheers]; and stomp & shake cheerleading.
Part III of this series provides an overview of stomp & shake cheerleading.
Part I provides an overview of historically Black (African American) Greek lettered fraternities & sororities. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-black-greek-letter.html for Part I of this series.
Part II provides an overview of foot stomping cheers. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2013/05/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html and http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/11/an-overview-of-foot-stomping-cheers.html for this information and examples of foot stomping cheers.
The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
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WHAT IS STOMP & SHAKE CHEERLEADING
Stomp & shake is a referent for an African American originated style of cheerleading. The earliest mention that I've found for an African American style of cheerleading is from the early 1970s.
A Not-So-Brief and Extremely Sordid History of Cheerleading —By Julia Lurie
Mon Dec. 15, 2014 6:15 AM EST
..."As schools continue to integrate, one factor adding to tension is the difference in cheerleading styles between black and white schools: As Lou Lillard, a black cheerleader named All-American in 1972, explained, "The type of cheering at black high schools is…more of a stomp-clap, soul-swing...At [white] schools, the traditional cheers are straight-arm motions."
Most of the earliest mentions that I've found of stomp and shake cheerleading are from the mid 1970s in Washington D.C./Virginia and North Carolina.
Since I first published this post I learned that Dr. Paulette Johnson began coaching for Virginia State Woo Woos in 1974, and coached that squad for 35 1/2 years. http://hbcuconnect.com/content/180466/dr-paulette-walker-johnson-retires-as-coach-of-virginia-state-university-woo-woos
I also learned that Debra [Deborah] L. Rivers initiated the stomp & shake style of cheerleading at Winston Salem State University when she began coaching that cheerleading squad in 1976. She was WSSU's cheerleading coach for 17 years. https://winstonsalem.prestosports.com/about/hall_of_fame/Hall_of_Fame_Bios/Debra_Rivers_Johnson_Bio?view=bio.
It's significant that that same decade and part of that geographical area (the mid 1970s and the Washington D.C. area) are also the same time period and locations that I've found for the earliest documentation of the African American originated (mostly girls 5-12 year old) sub-set of cheerleading that I refer to as "foot stomping cheers".
DESCRIPTIONS OF TWO STOMP & SHAKE MOVES: "UPSTOMPS" AND "JIGGAPOPS"
"Upstomps" is a signature movement that is performed by female and male members of some stomp and shake squads where the cheerleaders stomp two times with their left foot and perform a knee lift (raise the right leg bent at the knee). In the videos I've watched of upstomping, the toes are usually pointed to the ground. In some stomp and shake squads the knee is bent at a slight angle toward the right.
It's likely that this stomp and shake movement came from the African American originated high step marching of show style marching bands. High step marching also includes knee lifts.
Another stomp & shake movement that female cheerleaders perform is called "jiggapops". "Jiggapops" are a rhythmical, fast double shake of their hips that is best shown off when the cheerleaders wear pleated cheerleader skirts.
Most stomp and shake squads are females only. When males are also members of those squads, they don't shake as much as the females.
Here's a quote from a 2014 version of a CIAA page that refers to "upstomps", "jiggapops", and some other stomp and shake movements:
"The CIAA cheering squads practice Stomp 'N Shake that incorporates voice, gymnastics, and dance. Over the past few decades, S-N-S has evolved into a more technical style, priding itself on precision, accuracy, and creativity. Included in this style are the techniques of up-stomp, up-step, down-stomp, kick, side-kick, roll, roll-break, power-arms, slpaz-hand, clasp, blade, and the shakes(car-wash shake, single shake, double shake, hit-shake, and jiggle-pop). CIAA Cheerleading is most known for its cheer battles. This is where squads battle each other during games verbally with chants. It provides a heightened level of excitement and competition to the sports they are cheering for. It showcases cheerleading in a different dimension. Only in this style can you excite the crowd, rally them to cheer on the team, cheer on the team and slay your opponent all at the same time."
* retrieved on February 5, 2014 [This paragraph isn’t included in that Wikipedia page as of 9/14/2016.
No descriptions of those movements were given on that page. While I've found one description of "upstomps" online, to date I've not come across any descriptions of these other movements.
Here's information about the CIAA:
"The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) is a collegiate athletic conference, mostly consisting of historically black colleges and universities. CIAA institutions are affiliated at the Division II level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Conference members are primarily located in North Carolina (eight) and Virginia (two). There is also one school from Maryland and another from Pennsylvania"...
Stomp & shake cheer routines may also include some body patting. In some YouTube videos of high school stomp and shake squads, the squad members perform the entire cheer while seated in gym bleachers.
The above mentioned movements are done while the squad is reciting cheers. These cheers are usually introduced by one squad members, who says the name of the cheer and may do a brief cheer motion. Unlike foot stomping cheers, stomp chants are they are unison cheers. Also, many stomp & shake cheers are similar in tone-but not in structure-to the insult/bragging foot stomping cheers. However, stomp & shake cheerleaders may also perform their routines to recorded music.
Since this post was first published in 2013, I've noted that stomp & shake cheers are sometimes referred to (in YouTube video discussion threads) as "stomp chants" or "stomp cheers".
CHEERLEADING AS DRAMATIC PLAY: BATTLE CHEERS
Stomp & shake cheerleading differs from mainstream (traditional) cheerleading in that its cheers/chants often focus on the cheerleading squad itself and not on the athletes, the game being played, or the audience watching the game.
The facial expression and persona of stomp & cheer cheerleaders is often diametrically the opposite of the perky, always smiling mainstream cheerleader, particularly when it comes to battle cheers. "Battle cheers" are chanted to big up (brag about) your athletic team and/or your cheerleading squad. The name "battle cheers" refers to the fact that the cheerleaders use their words and their movement routines in a contest as to which squad can succeed the most in getting their fans "hyped".
It's important to remember that drama (role playing) is an important part of chanting insult/bragging stomp & shake cheers. The cheer performance fails if the cheerleader doesn't act as if she is confident, strong, assertive, and unafraid of the members of the rival cheerleading squad.
PERFORMING OTHER SQUADS' CHEERS
According to online discussion threads about this topic, university stomp & shake squads who perform stomp & shake cheers that are associated with another university squad are looked down upon for lacking originality. Those university level cheerleading squads and high school, middle school etc. squads that perform other cheerleaders' cheers/chants are often accused of "stealing". However, thanks to the internet and YouTube in particular, certain stomp & shake cheers & their routines have become part of the cheer repertoire of high school, middle school, and elementary school cheerleading squads.
Here's a video of a widely replicated "battle cheer":
Howard University Bison Cheerleaders 2
CoachSpence, Uploaded on Oct 19, 2006
Howard University Battle Cheer "Sit Back Down"
SHOWCASE VIDEOS: VSU WOO WOOS AND WSSU'S RED TEAM
Example #1: The World Renown Woo Woos of Virginia State University
GoTrojans·Uploaded on Sep 30, 2010
2009 Freedom Classic
Example #2: WSSU Red Team Cheerleaders NC Stomp & Shake Competition
Kiaerica Krishelle, Published on Feb 23, 2013
WSSU opening up the show at the FIRST annual Stomp n Shake cheerleading competition on Saturday 2/23/2013
The way the cheerleaders held their hands when they eentered the gym reminds me of the way that the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc step teams perform their signature cheer "It's A Serious Matter". That post and other sorority & fraternity posts can be found on pancocojams by clicking the "steppin" or "fraternity and sorority chants" tags.
VIDEO OF A HIGH SCHOOL STOMP & SHAKE CHEERLEADING SQUAD
SASSY (We Shake The Best)
woowooworkit·Uploaded on Feb 17, 2007
JV And Varsity SASSY cheerleaders cheer at the last game against bluestone
The words to each of this cheer and other pre-university cheerleader cheers, including several stomp & shake cheers are found on this page of my cocojams website: http://cocojams.com/content/childrens-cheerleader-cheers.
Click http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2011/07/21/race-and-the-changing-shape-of-cheerleading/ for a post on stomp & shake cheerleading that I wrote which was published on the sociological images blog.
This concludes Part III of this series.
Thanks to the composers of these cheers and the performers of these featured stomp & shake cheer routines. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
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