After almost three years of no action, the UAAP Cheerdance Competition (CDC) was finally held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena earlier today, May 22, for the league’s 84th season. On the upper echelon of the CDC realm, the FEU Cheering Squad was crowned the UAAP Season 84 CDC champion with a total of 727.5 points, getting over the hump of their back-to-back silver placements. Meanwhile, the Adamson Pep Squad and defending champions NU Pep Squad took home second and third place, respectively.
Looking to capitalize on the momentum brought by their Men’s Basketball Team’s historic championship and to break their tie with the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe as the winningest team in UAAP CDC history, the UP Pep Squad finished sixth. UST, meanwhile, finished just outside the podium in fourth place.
Eager to bounce back from a last place finish back in Season 82, the DLSU Animo Squad utilized the pandemic layover to revitalize their squad with renewed vigor. Armed with a batch that mostly included rookies, they improved to seventh place, garnering 567.5 points.
Animo Squad team captain Lance Lacsamana expressed his delight with the Green-and-White’s performance right after their set, “Nakakaproud. It feels good after an almost three-year pandemic to go back sa mats ng CDC.”
(It makes me proud. It feels good after an almost three-year pandemic to go back to the CDC mats.)
With much time dedicated to planning the event, some notable rule changes for this season—namely the reduction from six to three minutes for each routine, the absence of live drums, and only a maximum of 15 participants allowed instead of the usual 25, including spotters and propsmen—were levied to promote safety against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Heading into this year’s competition, the head drummers from each university united as one to sign a petition regarding the banning of live drums. Unfortunately for the eight cheering squads, the UAAP board reviewed that this could breach the safety protocols imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Moving forward to next season, the UAAP community hopes to bring back live drums as these elevate the CDC atmosphere.
School spirit reawakened
The ADMU Blue Eagles opened the long-awaited competition with their Mamma Mia-themed performance. Their disco-inspired costumes, coupled with bright red scarves, concealed the troupe’s performance-wide blunders. Following them were defending champions NU Pep Squad, who hit the hardcourt with 90s-inspired music, backed up by an eye-popping boombox prop.
Third to perform was the UP Pep Squad with a Psy-themed discography for their set, highlighted by the 2012 hit song “Gangnam Style”. Season 82 second-placers, FEU Cheering Squad, performed fourth with their Queen-inspired demonstration as they dazzled with the rock band’s electric energy to complement an equally flawless routine.
The Adamson Pep Squad then stepped onto the mats with a Wild West-themed act. It was a strong showing for the San Marcelino-based squad, as their acrobatic stunts were near perfect. All throughout the performance, the Adamsonians spurred the crowd on as they nailed difficult choreographic sets.
The DLSU Animo Squad followed, with majority of the Green-and-White’s performers having no prior experience in the CDC. Despite this, the Animo Squad performed their Lady Gaga-inspired routine passionately. With the desire to embrace their individuality and to empower others in doing so, the young group let their arrows fly in a showcase of acrobatic backflips and steady group stunts.
In the long awaited return, the Green-and-White sought to outlast their competition—and to do so the team knew that they had to beat themselves first. Taking note of past error-laden performances, they exceeded all expectations and left their Lasallian fans going gaga over a newer, better Animo Squad
Following the ecstatic DLSU performance was the UE Pep Squad—throwing it back with a fierce Brittney Spears-themed groove. Embodying their theme and dressed in red, the UE team took center stage with a set of flamboyant aerial stunts while avoiding major errors. The crowd was entranced by the attention-grabbing display that featured a strong finish.
Shining in their satin and sequined costumes was the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, who performed last. Sporting a Latin dancesport-themed performance, UST attempted to bring the back crown to España with a dance-heavy performance that resonated with their theme.
A new era
The return of the UAAP CDC marked the revival of school pride and spirit throughout these challenging times. It was the FEU Pep Squad who triumphed over the competition and secured their 19th championship for the esteemed university.
Commenting on the rule changes in the return to the UAAP CDC, which made it difficult for most of the teams competing in the event, the champion squad said they made the most of the opportunity to compete. “‘Yun na ‘yung rules eh, ginawa namin yung best namin…we chose to fight,” remarked an awestruck coach Randell San Gregorio from FEU.
(The rules were set, so we did our best…We chose to fight.)
Meanwhile, coming in at fourth place was the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe with a total of 618 points. The UE Pep Squad racked up a total of 592.5 points to finish in fifth place. Following in sixth was the UP Pep Squad with 582.5 points. The DLSU Animo Squad was able to score 567.5 total points in seventh place, and at last place were the Ateneo Blue Eagles with 488.5 points.