The UAAP Cheerdance competition returns on Sunday, May 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City after a two-year lull due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the situation has somehow eased up, at least in Metro Manila, which enabled the cheerdance contest to push through despite a shortened season.
Usually held mid-season, the cheerdance competition just came after a successful basketball tournament and in between the volleyball tourney, which is currently taking a short break and will resume on Thursday, May 26.
This time though, the cheerdance won’t be having the same usual fireworks or elements compared to the previous seasons.
The entire routine will only last three minutes, only 15 members of respective pep squads will execute the performance, and the loud banging and booming of drums won’t be heard at least for this season.
UAAP Season 84 president Nonong Calanog of host De La Salle explained that most considerations were already laid out and that the board has considered pursuing the contest in the safest possible way.
“Hindi ito ‘yong normal na cheerdance competition,” said Calanog. “It’s shorter with fewer people. But remember, when the board decided to bring back the cheerdance competition, we were technically still in Alert Level 2 or Alert Level 3.
“At that time, we were already looking at the possibilty of technically just having the cheerdance competition without a crowd, ” he added.
Most of the routines were already practiced by the pep squads at least six months before the Covid-19 situation had eased up in Metro Manila.
At least for Calanog, it would be difficult to switch to the normal routine considering that there are still many uncertainties amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Basically, it just so happened that things are a little better now but we have to contend with, again from the very start, the uncertainty. We didn’t know what will happen by this time that we have the CDC but we were ready with whatever decisions we make at that time,” said the UAAP president.
“We are just implementing what the board felt as the safest way to continue with the CDC during this time.”
Apart from that, drummers from the UAAP schools have made an appeal to reconsider their inclusion in the cheerdance competition.
“Drums bring life and excitement to the crowd and encourage every UAAP fan to cheer proudly for their school. This CDC will not only bring the UAAP schools together but also rekindle the lost memories that could have been made during the 2-year absence of the CDC,” the joint statement read.
In recent history, the drummers, who are also responsible for hyping up the crowd, and the pep squad are usually in sync with the entire routine. For this unique season, the three-minute performance might only include a pre-recorded mix of music and drums.
Calanog, for his part, said the board will discuss the situation and look on the appeal but reiterated that most of the considerations were made due to health-related concerns. ###