Bananas, baskets and barrel rolls were the order of the day as hundreds of cheerleaders strutted their stuff in Sheffield.
More than 130 teams flocked to EIS Sheffield, Attercliffe, for Future Cheer’s Circus Spectacular, the country’s newest cheerleading competition.
Tessa Crow, Future Cheer managing director, said they chose Sheffield for its top-class facilities and central location, allowing more northern teams to compete.
And she said cheerleading is growing in numbers and enthusiasm throughout the UK and does not look to be slowing down any time soon – as shown by spectator tickets for the event selling out five weeks ago.
Tessa said: “No other sport gets teams in this kind of volume.”
Future Cheer started 10 years ago with a small contest in Bournemouth, but has since grown into a well-known name in the cheerleading world, with about 10 competitions over the year.
In its first Sheffield event, teams from across the country battled it out in every division, from the tiny tots aged four and over to the senior squads of girls and boys aged 17 plus.
Judges cast their eye over both pom and stunt cheerleading, which combines dance, gymnastics and a number of gravity-defying stunts.
Sheffield squads Wild Spirit, Cheermania, Intensity and Aviator Hurricanes supported each other, joined by Hallam Cheer and the Sheffield Sabrecats, representing both Sheffield Universities in the senior divisions.
Julie Harrison, Wild Spirit Allstars chairman, said having a competition this close to home had been a huge bonus for the team.
She said: “Usually, the nearest competitions are in Manchester or Nottingham.
“It’s great to have one in Sheffield because we have been able to take our tiny tots and stay all day.
“Not many of our parents have been able to travel to our competitions before. Often they don’t know what to expect and are quite surprised by what cheerleading really is.
“I love it because it’s one of those sports that is totally inclusive.”
Sabrecat Mary Curran, a third year Sheffield University business management student, said the atmosphere at EIS Sheffield was amazing.
The 21-year-old said: “It is great to have such a big event in the local area.”
* Banana – A move during basket tosses and jump sequences where the cheerleader arches their back and reaches upwards;
* Barrel roll – When a flyer in cradle position is tossed upwards and rotates 360 degrees, landing back in cradle position;
* Base – A cheerleader that remains on the floor during a stunt while lifting the flyer;
* Basket toss – A stunt where three or more bases link hands and toss the flyer into the air;
* Cradle – The end of a stunt or basket-toss where the bases catch the flyer under thighs and arms;
* Flyer – The cheerleader lifted into the air during stunts.