By Alexis Ailex C. Villamor, Jr.
IS THE Salinggawi Dance Troupe (SDT) losing its touch?
For the second time in three years, the SDT, winners of a record eight UAAP cheerleading titles, crashed out of the Top 3 and settled for fourth place in the 2011 Samsung UAAP Cheerdance Competition at the jam-packed Smart-Araneta Coliseum last Sept. 17.
The University of the Philippines Pep Squad topped the competition with its Madonna-inspired routine, and inched closer to match SDT’s UAAP record.
A surprise winner was the De La Salle University whose warrior-themed performance merited second place, their best finish thus far. Far Eastern University’s Arabian theme was good for third place in the competition that drew a mammoth crowd of 20,842.
UST’s Salinggawi, which ruled the competition especially in the ‘90s, opted to go without a specific theme and instead showed off a slow-paced but flawless routine.
Asked about what went wrong with the Salinggawi this year, chief choreographer Ryan Silva cited the team’s apparent weakness in tumbling and gymnastics.
“I must admit, each individual in the team lacks mastery in terms of tumbling compared to the other schools. This is because they weren’t really gymnasts when they joined [the dance troupe],” he said. “But technically, every individual aspect of our piece got high scores.”
Silva, who was praying the rosary back in the dugout throughout the competition, said he would review each team’s performance this year to assess what was probably “lacking” with Salinggawi. UST had not won the crown since five years ago.
Outgoing team captain Adams Bernabe said each Salinggawi member entered the team with only “raw” talents.
“Everything we can do now is the product of our training here in [Salinggawi]. It is here where we get to discover our skills,” he said. “With a little more practice, I guess [the troupe] will be able to improve.”
Despite the disappointing finish, Silva said the SDT was overwhelmed by the support of the Thomasian community.
Ballerina-themed Adamson University Pep Squad placed fifth, followed by matador-themed National University Pep Squad at sixth.
The Ateneo de Manila University Blue Babble Batallion and the University of the East Pep Squad placed seventh and eighth, respectively.
This year’s judges were Ballet Philippines artistic director Paul Alexander Morale, international judges Damien Ng and Michelle Tang from International Cheer Union Singapore, Javier Beren from the International Federation of Cheerleading (IFC) Philippines, and Ai Hasegawa from IFC Japan, who served as the competition’s head judge.
The criteria for judging were: dance (10 points), jumps (five points), tumblings (five points), tosses (five points), synchronization (10 points), audibility of live cheer (10 points), stunts and lifts (10 points), pyramids (10 points), degree of difficulty (10 points), formations (10 points), choreography (10 points), and audience impact (five points).
A deduction of 0.5 points was to be applied for every 15-second overtime from the six-minute routine length requirement, while one point and five points were to be deducted for every minor and major errors, respectively.
Readers' comments posted in this site do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of the Varsitarian. The Varsitarian does not knowingly publish false information and may not be held liable for the views of readers exercising their right to free expression.