Saturday, May 16, 2015

Four Stomp & Shake Videos - Winston Salem State University Cheerleader's Victory Circle (2013)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases four videos of Winston Salem State University cheerleader's "victory circle".
This performance style is called "stomp and shake" cheerleading.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos. Thanks also to all those quoted in this post and thanks to Artistry Photography, the publisher of these videos on YouTube.

Winston Salem State University's [stomp and shake] cheerleaders perform a victory circle when their football team wins a competition. As its name suggests, the dance is mostly performed in a circle formation with two female cheerleaders in the middle of the circle. In the 2013 videos that are showcased in this post, one male cheerleader does a series of backflips down a section of the football field before joining the other cheerleaders forming the circle. The dance ends with the cheerleaders standing in horizontal rows.

The WSSU cheerleaders perform dance moves and stomp and shake movements to the accompaniment of the university's live band. Certain seemingly impromptu affirmative vocalizations are made during that dance. Toward the end of the victory circle dance, the cheerleaders say "Lights out!" and at the end of that victory circle dance, the cheerleaders say "Oooo, you just got your life".

My guess is that both "Lights out" and "You just got your life" are examples of the braggadocio elements that are found in many Black performance arts. In the context of that victory circle dance, saying "Lights out!" means more than the fact that the competition is over - That statement means that the WSSU football team (figuratively) knocked the lights out of their competitors. [Note that university football games are held outdoors during the day when no outdoor lights are needed.]

You just got your life" is a variant form of the saying "___ gives me life". "Giving life" means that it's full of energy/ it is invigorating. The cheerleaders don't need outside confirmation They KNOW they killed it (put on a superlative performance). Here's a comment from this video's discussion thread that refers to the cheerleaders "giving the fans life":
April Johnson, 2013
"Yes omg this did really just give me life, always and forever the greatest, so much energy and inspiration in that circle!!!"
Click for a pancocojams post on the "gives me life" saying.


Example #1: WSSU Cheerleader Victory Circle 10-7-13

Artistry Photography Published on Oct 7, 2013

Winston Salem State University Cheerleaders celebrating a football win on 10-7-13

Example #2: 2013 WSSU Cheerleaders Homecoming Victory Circle

Artistry Photography Published on Oct 14, 2013

Example #3: 2013 WSSU School song and Victory Circle

Artistry Photography Published on Nov 4, 2013
Victory circle dance after winning the WSSU vs Shaw football game. OOOOO You Just got your life!

Example #4: 2013 WSSU Final Victory Circle!

Artistry Photography Published on Dec 21, 2013

Thank you 2013 WSSU Cheerleaders, job well done

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1 comment:

  1. As an African American folklorist who is interested in children's game songs, it occurs to me that the format for much of WSSU's victory circle is a ring (circle) with two people in the middle. This is similar to the "show me your motion" circle games that generations of Black girls have played and still play, but to what appears to me to be a much lesser extent.

    I'm also interested in the fact that a number of the female WSSU cheerleaders in that 2013 squad had short hair styles. I believe that is a change from the long (flip your hair) hair styles that most Black cheerleaders have worn and still wear (I believe) in conformity with White cheerleaders. For example, a female judge at a HBCU (Historically Black College & University) Dance Audition Prep event says to the women "I wanna see some hair movin" in this video: "Stand Routine Practice and impromptu"

    In response to that comment, the dancers make sure they emphasize flipping their hair from side to side while they move. The cultural meaning of that gesture is that the woman knows that she is looking good. While the same braggadocio gesture can be done with short hair, it may not have the same effect.

    The same flipping your hair back and forth gesture is the basis of Willow Smith's song "Whip My Hair ".