'Gawi notches fourth straight title

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THE VICTORY came four times sweeter for the first ever “four-peat” champions in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition history.

The UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe (Salinggawi) and the UST Yellow Jackets roared for four and finally broke the curse of the elusive fourth-consecutive championship in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition last Sept. 17 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Salinggawi wowed the judges with well executed routines, registering 90.98 per cent to pocket the title and the P130,000 cash prize.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad again settled for a bridesmaid finish with 90.76 per cent, while the Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad was third with 88.72 per cent.

According to choreographer Ryan Silva, Salinggawi never felt that the fourth title was impossible.

“Throughout our practices, we just focused on our routines,” Silva told the Varsitarian. “Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na kailangan mag-perform ng maganda, walang mali, at huwag intindihin ‘yung mga sinasabi ng iba.”

“Four-peat” formula

Salinggawi danced its way to victory with current pop and hip-hop tunes, and its signature towering pyramids and electrifying dance moves. The Salinggawi dancers’ exceptional gymnastics skills, evident in their synchronized back flips and full twists, left the Big Dome crowd in awe.

From the unforgettable “helicopter” stunt last year, the University’s top-caliber dance troupe thrilled the crowd this year with a modified “shuffle”. The “shuffle”involves four groups of lifters in a diamond formation. Four girls are then tossed in mid-air, but here, they are caught by the same group that tossed them.

Silva admitted that he was threatened by the other teams, particularly UP and FEU. UP has always given a strong performance and FEU has vastly improved its routines and stunts. But Silva was firm that the Salinggawi dancers’ versatility set them apart from other teams.

“May mga parts (ng performance) talaga na kitang-kitang lahat sila kayang gawin ‘yung particular skill or stunt. Wala silang specialty sa isang skill, lahat nagagawa nila, and I think that worked to our advantage,” Silva said.

Salinggawi veteran England Alano said the overwhelming support of the Thomasians, donned with banners and yellow balloons at the Big Dome, inspired them to perform their best.

Salinggawi president Geleen Villagante said the group’s goal is beyond winning the top prize. They see the championship as a bonus for their hard work and perseverance. What really matters is to come up with a polished performance.

“We are happy enough to have performed our best,” Villagante told the Varsitarian. “We just prayed to God that He will give us what we deserve.”

With some of the UST teams still struggling for wins in UAAP Season 68 and a number of Thomasians slowly losing the school spirit, SDT’s “four-peat” is a timely inspiration.

Vol. LXXVII, No. 5 • September 30, 2005

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