OPTING to go traditional, the Salinggawi Dance Troupe (SDT) remained in championship hiatus, finishing behind reigning titlist University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad for the second straight year in the 2008 UAAP Samsung Cheerdance competition last Sept. 7.
Salinggawi found redemption a tall order, mustering only a second-best 85.03 points, compared to the ethnic-spiced UP routine which wowed the mammoth crowd of 23,443 people at the Big Dome with a title-retaining 93.30 score. The Far Eastern University (FEU) Cheering Squad landed third with an 83.96 rating.
UP, which was also last year’s conquerors, took home a fabulous trophy, the P 195,000 top purse plus Samsung MP3 players for each of the competing members. UST and FEU received P120, 000 and P80,000, respectively.
This season’s explosive showcase consisted of three-layered pyramids, double aerial flips, simultaneous cartwheels, high-flying tosses, synchronized dances, poses and taunts throughout the five-minute display.
Deviating from their patented elaboration of up-tempo dance themes that engineered an unprecedented ‘five-peat,’ Salinggawi this time put more premium on the gymnastics part of the contest in line with the revised criteria.
“The revised criteria made us focus on perfecting stunts rather than conceptualization. We could’ve used the “Evolution of Dance” theme for our routine this year if not for the strict criteria,” Salinggawi president Marvin Wynant told the Varsitarian.
The criteria for this season were loosely based on the American standard of judging with gymnastics as its main focus. A squad that could display the most number of stunts at a higher level of difficulty wins the title.
Five points are given for jumps, tosses, somersaults and dance moves, while ten points go for each stunt, synchronization, choreography, formation and clarity.
While the veteran UP crew floated a unique concept, Salinggawi rode on flawless execution despite parading a 25-member cast with 16 rookies. A total of 13 seniors had graduated from last year’s squad.
“The rookies managed to keep up with the intensity of training, so the routine was not too hard for them.” Wynant said.
Salinggawi brought back to life some of their stunts in 2005 such as the chairlift, backbending and tumbling passes. This year’s act featured a front, side and center jump opening, a slow-motion pyramid trick and a spectacular four-layered pyramid with a flat-triangle pattern on top as finale.
However, the question of whether a concept or theme could have brought the crown back to Salinggawi stirred iffy reactions from Thomasians themselves.
“Had Salinggawi used an attention-grabbing theme as that of UP’s, they could’ve bumped them off the first-place spot. Overall, UST’s performance was cleaner and well-executed compared to UP,” Alyssa Silverio, a Journalism sophomore and Yellow Jackets member said.
Salinggawi, for its part, thanked the Thomasian community.
“We did our best to please the Thomasian community. We are grateful of their support as well. It was truly a blessing that nobody got hurt during the routine. Winning second place is more than enough for us.” Wynant said. M.R.A. Barrios and H.J.D. Brobo