‘We’re more than cheer’s stepsister’

With new coach, the dance team steps out cheer’s shadow and is ready to compete


The Branham High School Dance Team poses for a picture in formation outside the large gym during the day.

Julianne Alvares, Opinion Editor

You see them on the track at football games pumping up the crowd or around school in their uniforms.

 The Branham dance team is coming off of its first season since 2009, but many students assume that they’re just the cheer team. This is mainly due to the fact that they sport similar uniforms and perform together at school functions. The team may just be viewed as cheer’s other branch. Either way, this frustrates the team.

 “We’re more than cheer’s stepsister,” said sophomore and assistant captain Theresa Brown.

  While cheer and dance are similar in look, they are different in their core elements. Dance tends to have more movement, while cheer is very strict. Cheer also tends to have more stunts and jumps.

  “In cheer, you have more pikes and jumps,” said sophomore and head captain Maia Borrison, “[whereas] with dance it is more flowy and has more variety.”

   The term pike refers to a jump where the legs are directly in front of the performer and the toes are pointed. The differences boil down to dance routines allowing more creativity.

  “In dance, you can basically make up whatever you want,” Brown said, “while there are more guidelines for cheer.”

  The team would like the Branham community to know that they are more than just basic moves. They work hard at their craft. Their captain has been dancing for over 13 years.

  “We’re working hard,” Borrison said, “We’re trying to expand and create.”

  The captains share hopes in competing next year. They went to a USA dance camp over the summer, and Brown was one of the top ten Knott’s 2017 All-American All-Star Dancers.

  “We’re trying to build a program,” Brown said. “We wanna compete next year.”

  Last year’s return was built off of cheer, due to the fact that both teams had the same coach.  However, in the middle of last year, Branham brought in Coach Violet Maldonado, allowing dance to start it’s own program. Despite this addition, the team still feels attached to cheer.  

  “It feels like we’re in [cheer’s] shadow,” Brown said.

  Coach Maldonado describes the team as more like an NFL dance team who both cheers and performs routines. The main difference between the dance and cheer teams is that the dance team does not do any stunts. The team works hard both in and out of school. In addition to practicing twice a week after school, the dancers also go home and rehearse.  

  “[They’re] a really talented group who work hard to uphold Branham sport standards.” Maldonado said. “They work well as a team, and they are hardworking and dedicated.”

  Catch the dance team cheering on Bruins at football games, and potentially soon, competing on their own.