Wednesday, June 24, 2015

When Did Stomp & Shake Cheerleading Begin? (Online Comments & Website Statements)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest Revision: October 12, 2018

This post presents several anecdotal comments about the beginning of Stomp & Shake cheerleading. Hopefully, additional comments about this subject will be added in this post's comment section.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the originators of stomp & shake cheerleading and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

PANCOCOJAMS EDITOR'S NOTE [Added October 12, 2018]
I'm an African American woman who is a self-described "community folklorist". I'm especially interested in sussing out and documenting the history, performance descriptions, past and present examples of and opinions about stomp and shake cheerleading, foot stomping cheers, Greek letter fraternity and sorority stepping, and majorette dance teams. All of these are group based movement arts/recreational activities (involving more than two people). Also, with the exception of historically Black Greek letter fraternity stepping, all of these activities have been and still are mostly performed by females.

Furthermore, I believe that all of these above named movement arts and/or recreational activities are African American originated and all of these performance arts/recreational activities are somehow related in performance practices and textual formats (composition) styles.

I'm also very interested in documenting contemporary (1960s on) examples of children's jump rope, hand clap, and circle recreational children's rhymes, with particular attention to (what I believe are) African American originated or African American adapted and performed children's rhymes.

I'm interested in documenting these movement arts/recreational activities and very much welcome comments about and text (word) examples from others.

With regard to stomp and shake cheerleading and majorette dance team performances, my research on stomp and shake cheerleading has been done online, and I've never experienced these performance arts in person, other than at a few games in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I live.

Additions and corrections to this information and examples are very welcome.

Click the tags for these above named performance arts and recreational activities to find pancocojams posts on those subjects.

Pancocojams Editor's Comment:
These comments/statements are given in no particular order.

These comments/statements are numbered in consecutive order throughout this entire post. These numbers refer to the order in which I found these comments. The numbers have and have nothing to do with chronological order or order of preference, but are assigned for referencing purposes only

I will be adding material to this post when and if I find it.

From "Race and the Changing Shape of Cheerleading by Guest Blogger Azizi Powell, Jul 21, 2011, at 10:00 am

1. Bananadrama, 2011
..."I went to high school in the 80s and the cheerleaders were already doing this, but it was a little more clap-and-leap. There was also a pom team, which did more of the dance moves to music and didn't lead vocal cheers. But pop music has changed and there's more rap that's popular, and dance moves from rap videos, instead of Def Leppard. :D

2. Sule > Bananadrama, 2011
"Hey, there. This kind of cheering was coming in when I went to Rabaut Junior High School in DC--graduated in 1972. We also had a girl's drill team. Does this come from then, or Wilson High: "We bad; we know it! We kick your ass and show it!"? "

From "A Not-So-Brief and Extremely Sordid History of Cheerleading" —By Julia Lurie
Mon Dec. 15, 2014 6:15 AM EST
3. ..."1967: Seventeen football players at Madison High School in Illinois are barred from the team for boycotting a practice after only one black cheerleader is picked for the varsity squad. Following the dismissal of the football players, nearly all of the school district's 1,300 black students boycott classes for a week. 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."

From The Winston-Salem State University Cheerleading Team
4. "The Winston-Salem State University Cheerleaders exemplify a distinctive style that has molded its programs tradition since the early 1980’s."

5. Dr. Paulette Johnson began coaching for Virginia State University's Woo Woos cheerleaders in 1974, and coached that squad for 35 1/2 years.

6. From
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.

I believe that it's significant that that the early to mid 1970s/early 1980 are documented as the time periods for the beginning development of or the increased popularization of historically Black university's Greek letter fraternity and sorority stepping. I believe that it's significant that the early to mid 1970s/early 1980s are also the earliest time periods for the earliest sites for the African American originated (mostly girls 5-12 year old) sub-set of cheerleading that I refer to as "foot stomping cheers".

I also believe that it's significant that the Washington D.C. area is documented to be at least one of the geographical centers for historically Black Greek letter stepping (as its the site of Howard University). Early documentation of foot stomping cheers also occurred in Washington, D. C./Virginia area. And North Carolina is relatively close geographically to Washington D. C./Virginia.

*Ironically, the earliest dated "foot stomping cheer" example that I've collected, was from an online communication with an unknown White woman who resided/resides in my former hometown of Atlantic City, New Jersey (early 1970s, from her memory of White, Black, and Latina high school girls).

Added October 10, 2018:
Here are two comments from the discussion thread for Cute Stomp and Shake cheers for sideline!!!! | Upload #2, published by meleah moon on Jun 12, 2018 that mention 1970s for what is now called "stomp and shake cheers":
Belinda Suggs, September 2018
"this is exactly the way I remember cheering in the 70's. deep voice and all. I love it! cheering style started changing in the 80's. they took rhythm out of cheering. now it's back!"

Belinda Suggs, September 2018
"back in the 70's we didn't call it stomp and cheer but it sure feels like the old school style of cheering is coming back. so refreshing!"
Regarding the comment that "cheering style started changing in the 80's. they took rhythm out of cheering", the commenter may have been referring to cheerleading teams that hadn't previously done so beginning to focus on the performance of stunts for cheerleading competitions.

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