Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How Stomp Cheers Differ From Foot Stomping Cheers

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post provides information and examples of children's foot stomping cheers and foot stomps.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

"Foot stomping cheers" is the term that I coined in 2000 for a
relatively new category of children's recreational play that involves chanting and choreographed foot and hand clapping movements. The 1978 vinyl/LP record Old Mother Hippletoe-Rural And Urban Children's Songs (New World Records ‎– NW 291) is the earliest recording or print documentation that I have found of a new style of children's recreational chanting and performance activity that I have termed "foot stomping cheers". "Foot stomping cheers" have a textual structure and "traditional" performance style that is distinct from hand clap rhymes, jump rope rhymes, other cheerleader cheers, and other categories of children's recreational rhymes. That record featured four examples of African American girls from Washington D. C. performing cheers in 1973-1975. Two of those examples are combinations of two different cheers. At least two of the cheer examples that are featured on that record - one entitled "Cheering Is My Game" and one entitled "Hollywood Now Swingin" - fit the textual structure of what I refer to as "foot stomping cheers".

Click for a pancocojams post about the cheer examples that are featured on the "Old Mother Hippletoe" Record.

Foot stomping cheers "traditionally" have a signature group call & consecutive soloist response structure. "Group call" means that the entire group (or the group minus the first soloist) is heard first. "Consecutive soloist"' means that in that cheer is immediately repeated from the beginning so that every member of the squad can an opportunity to be the soloist. Each soloist's performance is the same length. Some foot stomping cheers have several group calls followed by brief responses by the soloist before the soloist has a somewhat longer verbal and/or movement response. Other foot stomping cheers have one or two group calls followed by the soloist's verbal and/or movement response.

Another signature feature of the textual style of foot stomping cheers is that the cheer is supposed to be repeated in its entirety (sometimes with soloist text changes and sometimes not) until every group member has one turn as the soloist.

Traditionally, foot stomping cheers are chanted while the group performs a synchronized, percussive routine in which individual hand claps (chanters clapping their own hands) (and sometimes substitutes hand claps for body pats) and alternates those hand claps with bass sounding foot stomps. Once this foot stomping routine begins, it is supposed to continue throughout the routine. However, toward the end of most examples of foot stomping cheers that I've found, the soloist chants a verse or line. That soloist's portion serves as a "call" and the group has a responsive line or lines during that call. While the rest of the group watches, the soloist usually performs a dance step or steps, and/or pantomime movements, and/or gymnastic movements during this portion of the cheer. In some cheers that I've found, the cheer ends with the entire group-including the soloist- performing the same exact movements that the soloist performed. The cheer then immediately begins from the beginning with the next soloist and that pattern continues until every member of the group has had a turn as the soloist (hence the term "consecutive soloists). Each soloist turn is exactly the same length. In some cheers, the words and movements are exactly the same with each soloist, except for personal information such as the soloist's name or nickname and the soloist's astrological sun sign. In other cheers, the words for the soloist portions can change within a seemingly small memorized, formulaic set of verses that have the same theme and the same rhythmical pattern.

It appears to me that one difference between "old school" foot stomping cheers, and those types of cheers that are performed since at least the 1990s (which I call "neo-foot stomping cheers")is that instead of being informally performed by children or pre-teens pretending to be cheerleaders, these cheers (or modified versions of these cheers) are performed by actual (children's and teenage) cheerleaders either during the warm up to a game, or during "cheer offs" (cheer competitions), or as part of the cheerleading squad's cheer performances during actual athletic competitions. It appears to me that the post 1990s neo forms of foot stomping cheer performances have much less foot stomping or no foot stomping at all- particularly when these cheers are performed by squads that are majority White. Instead of actual syncopated, choreographed foot stomping routines, nowadays performances of modified or actual foot stomping cheers (particularly with squads which are majority White) feature much more pantomiming of actions, such as "turn around" and "touch the ground". Also, it appears to me that these neo foot stomping cheer performances by majority non-Black squads appears to feature little to no dance moves, and more actual standing, jumping up and down, and shaking pompoms. Furthermore, all individual members of the squad may not have a turn as the soloist. Instead, the squad is divided into sub-sets (such as school grade levels, or two or more line formations) that have their own "soloists time". Also, instead of individual soloist, or sub-sets of the squad, the entire squad might recite these neo-foot stomping cheers.

Text examples-words only- and to a much limited extent video examples of old school foot stomping cheers and neo-foot stomping cheers are found throughout this pancocojams blog.

The term "stomp cheers" ("stomps") appears to have been coined in the early 2000s as a referent for certain types of cheers and chants that are performed by children and teenagers (usually females), ages 5-18 years old, who are members of athletic teams' cheer squads. Most stomp cheer videos on YouTube feature White American female teenagers.

I believe that stomp cheers are an adaptation of - if not appropriation of- African American originated foot stomping cheers that are often combined with the African American orginated cheer/chant performance styles of stepping, and, less often, stomp and shake cheerleading. But then again, instead of an appropriation, stomp cheers could be considered a folk processed form of that performance art or performance art forms.

Stomp cheers may focus on introduction. However, unlike foot stomping cheer, the introduction often is of the cheer squad itself and not its individual members.

The words to stomp cheers may also provide an opportunity for the squad to dance as a group or as individuals. Some stomp cheers are confrontational, but usually not as much as foot some foot stomping cheers. And the bragging that occurs in stomp cheers is often bragging about the athletic team, or the school, and not the individual members.

Stomp cheers also focus on the actual game (for instance calling for more offense or defense.) And those cheers also directly address the crowd (for instance, asking the crowd to repeat a line in a chant.) Since foot stomping cheers usually have no audience, they don't include any references to an audience.

Some stomp cheers may repeat themselves with a new soloist after one rendition of that cheer. However, unlike foot stomping cheers, every member of the cheerleading squad may not get a turn as the soloist for that cheer, or they may not get an equal turn (a turn for the same amount of time.)

In my opinion, the "attitude" and "tone" are the main differences between the chanting that's done in stomp cheers and the chanting that's done in foot stomping cheers, historically Black Greek letter fraternity/sorority stepping, and stomp and shake cheerleading. In most of the stomp cheer videos I've seen, when they are chanting confrontational/bragging cheers, the White stomp cheerleaders in those videos don't have the super-confident, don't mess with me, aggressive, come to battle demeanor (play acting or otherwise) that is integal to those cheers. Also, the foot stomping movements often seem to mechanical to me. By "mechanical" I mean that not only are the stomps and other movements in the stomp routine not crisp (tight, sharp, on point), but it often seems as though the cheerleaders are performing the movements machine like, from memory but without any spirit or energy.

Many but not all stomp cheers include the word "stomp" and a brief stomp clap routine. However, the beat pattern of stomp cheers may differ from that of foot stomping cheers. And in some stomp cheers the same beat pattern isn't done in a metronone manner throughout the entire cheer as is the case with foot stomping cheers.

Also, it appears that the stomp cheer performances incorporate, or attempt to successfully incorporate, elements from historically Black (African American) fraternity/sorority stepping, and/or stomp and shake cheerleading.

Apart from whether stepping performances in mainstream cheerleading are done well, I think that stomp cheer squads aren't aware that it is socially incorrect (bad form) to perform, even in a modified manner, the distinctive signature step moves and/or chants/cheers that are associated with a particular historically Black Greek fraternity/sorority or a stomp and cheer cheerleading team. Those moves/chants are only performed by members of those particular organizations, or- with regard to university stomp and shake cheer squads, those cheers and their signature movements may be performed by a high school squad who were taught them by members of that particular university's cheer squad who composed and choreographed those cheers. Of course, given YouTube, it has become increasingly much easier to learn other organizations' and cheer squads' steps and cheers. But performing them instead of creating your own means that the group is considered to be lacking in creativity, and been seen as culturally appropriating cultural products, even though its not illegal to do so.

I'm not sure if cheer squads purposely incorporate the moves, and tunes (if not the actual chants) of fraternity/sorority step teams, or stomp and cheer squads because they weren't aware that there are differences between the way that foot stomping cheers, stepping, and stomp and shake cheerleading is done.

I've also noticed in almost all videos of the foot stomping cheer "Shabooya Roll Call" cheer includes swaying back and forth instead of doing foot stomps (steps). The 2006 Bring It On: All Or Nothing movie which featured that cheer as well as the "Introduce Yourself" cheer that included some "Shabooya Roll Call" lines showed two different ways of performing those cheers. In the cafeteria scene in that movie, two African American girls and one Latina girl do a foot stomp routine that changes to some motions that may have been patterned after exaggerated forms of stomp and shake cheer movements. I think that was probably because stomping was considered to be too difficult for those actresses to credibly perform. Click for a video of the "Introduce Yourself" scene from that Bring It On: All Or Nothing movie.


Example #1:
Cheerleaders: Hey Cherokees!
Crowd: Hey What!
Cheerleaders: Let me see you get down! Let me see you shake it!
Crowd: No way!
Cheerleaders: Jump shake your booty! Jump! Jump! Shake your booty!
Cheerleaders: Hey Cherokees!
Crowd: Hey What!
Cheerleaders: Let me see you get down! Let me see you shake it!
Crowd: Okay!
Cheerleaders: Jump shake your booty! Jump! Jump! Shake your booty!
Cherokees! We wanna see you stomp (stomp) and shake it! (repeat)
Click for an example of "Get Down".

Example #2:
Irish fans in the stands,
let me hear you clap your hands.
(clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap)
Now that you've got the beat, let me hear you stomp your feet
(stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp stomp)
Now that you've got the groove, let me see your body move
Ahuga ahah Ahuga (clap clap)

"Irish" is probably part of the team name or part of the name of the high school.

Example #3:
You may be good at Football
You may be good at Track
But when it comes to Wrestling
You better watch your Back
Cadets Attack!
(Stomp, Clap, Stomp Stomp, Clap, Stomp Stomp, Clap Clap, Stomp Stomp, Clap)
Repeat Once
Repeat Cheer and Stomp and Clap
-no name given,

Example #4:
The one i learned when i was in 5th grade was (out mascot was an eagle so we replaced girls with eagles):

Bang bang choo choo train
Come on Eagles do your thing
Peanut better reese cup
Mess with us, see whats up
To the front to the back to the front back side side
Let me see your butterfly
And shake and shake your funky little hips
Now i want you and you too cheer with me too
-Amanda,, June 21, 2012

These examples are presented in no particular order.

Example #1: Stomp Cheer

kmt122181, Uploaded on Jul 14, 2008

Stomp Cheer
The narrator says "You have to remember that the most difficult thing about this cheer is keeping the beat". The neat pattern these girls are using for this routine as superimposed on the screen is
"stomp x stomp stomp x stomp stomp xx stomp stomp x" ["x" = clap]
There are two standard beat patterns for foot stomping cheers. Those patterns remind consistent throughout almost all cheers. They are either "stomp x stomp stomp x" or "stomp stomp x stomp stomp x">
I think that if these girls had raised their feet higher off the ground, they would have gotten a deeper bass tone. That bass is what steppers doing foot stomping cheers want to achieve.

Example #2: Reno Cheerleading Stomp

Anne Goodman. Published on Mar 25, 2013
2011 RHS
The switching movements that this cheer squad does before they begin their routine reminds me of the switching, preening movements that are a signature feature of the historically Black Greek letter sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha. Click

That type of female preening isn't at all a part of stomp and shake cheerleading. That switching movements also doesn't occur as a prelude to foot stomping cheers - although girls often shake their hips during
their solo portion of those cheers. Also,
for a video of those same movements by those sorors.

Example #3: Sikeston Cheer 2014 Stomp

T&Cs Dad, Published on Apr 11, 2014
Click for another stomp vide of this cheer squad. Both videos really remind me of the signature, distinctive step style of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The chant in the video that is embedded in this post also is a lot like (same tune as) a Que (Omega Psi Phi) chant that is well known to those who are familiar with historically Black Greek letter fraternities.

Example #4: Cheer Squad Stomp During Pep Rally

Shelly Tan,Uploaded on Aug 10, 2010

The 09-10 JV and Freshman Cheerleaders doing a stomp for the Bird Bowl Pep Rally! :)

i had a blast with these girls, some of my bestest friends EVER.
I think that this cheer squad didn't convey the attitude and spirit that I believe is an integral part of foot stomping cheer performances, or that I think should be an integral part of stomp cheer performances. Also, a cheer squads performance would make the audieence be attentive. The cheerleaders don't have to tell the crowd to be quiet. Actually, in the case of stomp and shake cheerleaders, or historically Black fraternity or sorority step teams, the cheer squad wants to raise the enthusiasm of the crowd (pump them up). They don't want the crowd to be quiet.

RELATED LINK The African American Sources Of Bring It On (2000 & 2006) Movies Cheers

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to those who published these videos on YouTube.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and recreational purposes.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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