In the works: cheerleading choreography

The Antioch Cheer team shares the process of receiving choreography.


Lauren Deguzman

The Antioch Cheer team practicing their dance in the routine

Last season, the Antioch Community High School cheerleading team placed third at the IHSA State Finals; as the competition season picks up, the team is working hard this year to claim the first-place title.

The team received their choreography a week after competition season tryouts in early November from Jared Erlenbaugh, a National Cheerleading Association Staff member and a long-time friend to head coach Amber Babin and assistant coach Tim Babin.

Choreography is a process that can take multiple days and up to eight hours a day. The team learns stunt sequences, a pyramid, tumbling passes, a dance and most importantly, the cheer. In a routine, small motions will get put in to add more personality and flow that makes a routine more fun to watch. All of these aspects included in a routine must be under three minutes.

“I think the hardest part is remembering smaller counts throughout the routine,” sophomore Jennifer Serifov said. “It is easier to remember bigger stunts than small little motions.”

During choreography, stunts and show-off skills are presented that can be included in the routine. This is a mental and physical process; it involves a lot of patience since there is only one person who plans out the beginning and end of the routine.

“My biggest challenge during choreography is when [the choreographer] moves us around a lot while he’s trying to figure out his thought process,” senior Lexi Dalton said.

In cheerleading, routine cleanliness is preferred over the level of skills. If the skill is not executed cleanly or if the stunt continues to fall during a routine, it will often get pulled or become watered down.

“Watering down a skill is simplifying your stunt [even if] it is not as good as you want it to be,” sophomore Leilani Saldana said.

The team has made exceptional progress this season compared to last year, where spectators will see level four stunts that have been worked on during football season and all team tumbling, but there is always room for improvement.

I [am] really excited [for this season],” Serifov said. “I think we are off to a really good start, and I think our skills will develop very well from where we are right now.”

Watch the ACHS cheer team show off this year’s routine at their first competition at Stevenson on Dec. 11, 2022.