Cheer and dance club goes to JAMZ national competition March 27-31

The girls in the Silver Spirit youth squad wear boxers, cropped stretch pants, tank tops and T-shirts in any combination of gray, blue and lime green during practice. They skip, clap, kick and mug at the mirrored wall of the studio. A pony tail flips from each of the 20 heads.

"You need to be tighter - no spaces," said coach Halee Young, 20. "You're just doing it. You've got to be into it."

The squad is about three weeks away from their biggest cheer and dance competition of the year. Signs on the wall give encouragement: "Smile," "Be nice," "Teamwork" and "When we all work together, we win together."

About 55 members of the Silver Spirit All-Star Cheer Club will be going to Las Vegas for the JAMZ National Cheer & Dance competition on March 27-31.

The dance and cheer club promotes physical activity, teamwork and good sportsmanship. No try-outs are necessary as there is a position and squad for everyone and boys are welcome.

The three squads are the Minis at 6-8 years, Youth, 9-12 and Seniors at 13 years and older.

During practice March 5, Coach Young reinforces the techniques on how to catch and cradle the living bundles that are being tossed in the air. Smaller girls, called flyers, are sometimes supported by just one leg before they blow a kiss and throw themselves back into the arms of the base crew.

Isabella Gavin, 8, is pulling a scorpion move at the top of formation.

Isabella is one of the fearless flyers who are thrown into the spotlight at the top of pyramids or other formations. The flyers are supported by three or four teammates in the backspot or frontspot positions.

"I'm not scared of anything - not stunting or flying," said Isabella. "I was 7 in the Minis when I first flied. I was so happy, so excited."

The girls will be wearing their Silver Spirit uniforms of white, blue, green and silver during competition and some said doing their hair and make-up helps them perform better.

"It put them in the mindset of performance," said Young. "They've been working on the same routine since August so we work to keep things fresh while making things harder. They learn more once they perfect something and then they move on.

"We teach them a progression of tumbling skills and flips. We have a competition each month then have some time off for more practice time. Then two weeks before the national competition, we start getting it together," she said.

Paige Young, co-owner of Silver Spirit along with Liz Biasotti, said the girls earned a chance to compete in the JAMZ Nationals by qualifying in events throughout the season.

"Last year our Youth squad took third place out of 12-14 teams from all over the U.S. and the Senior squad took fourth," said Young. "Our Minis will place this year in the competition. They've already brought home some first-place trophies."

Silver Spirit All-Star Cheer holds year-round classes in the competitive team sports of cheer, dance and tumbling. Some of the classes are offered through Douglas County Parks & Recreation. Silver Spirit is at 2236 C Park Place, Minden. Information, 782-4337.


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