Looking for some cheerleading dance moves to add to your squad's routines? These moves range from basic to complex. Combine a few of them together and you'll have the perfect foundation for your dance sequences, sideline cheers, and chants.
Start With Basic Arm Positions
Any cheer dance lesson must begin with the basic arm motions. These set the stage for everything else.
- Low V: Arms extended straight down and out to the sides at a 45-degree angle
- High V: Arms extended up and out to the sides at a 45-degree angle
- Broken T: Elbows stretched out to the sides at shoulder level, with hands at the edge of your chest
- T: Arms stretched out to the sides at shoulder level
- Tabletop: Elbows tucked tightly into your ribcage with your hands facing one another at shoulder level
- Touchdown: Arms extended straight up, hands shoulder width apart
- Clasp: A clap where you connect palms and wrap your fingers around the outside of your hands
- Clean: Arms drawn straight down and pulled tightly to the sides of your body.
Note that each move can be performed using one arm instead of two. You can also combine two moves by performing one with your left arm and another with your right (e.g.., left arm touchdown, right arm broken T). Practice moving from one position to another quickly. Each movement should be sharp and clean. Train your core muscles to stay firm and tight to avoid wobbly movements in your torso and hips.
Cheerleading jumps will add variety and pop to your dance.
- Pencil Jump: Jumping with your feet together under your body, so that you resemble the shape of a pencil
- Tuck Jump: Drawing your knees up toward your chest during your jump
- Spread Eagle: Hopping up and spreading your feet apart as far as possible
- Side Hurdler: One knee bent, foot out to the side with the other leg stretched out in front.
- Herkie Jump: One foot kicks back with the knee bent while the other leg extends straight up and out in front
Move Your Legs
Combine the basic cheer arm motions with simple leg movements to make it a dance.
- Squat: Bend your knees and press your hips back like you're about to sit on a chair.
- Lunge: Step one foot forward and bend that knee.
- In-Twist: Drop one knee in to the center, then straighten your leg and drop the other, alternating sides.
- High Kick: Kick your foot up as high as possible to the front or side.
- Pivot Turns: Step your right foot forward and rotate half a turn to your left, stepping forward with the left. This can be performed on either side.
These are simple steps often used in cheer dance routines. Combined with the arm movements and jumps, these alone will set you up for a solid sideline routine. For competition and halftime, you should also pull from a variety of dance styles, including but not limited to hip hop, ballet steps, jazz moves, and Latin dances like salsa and samba.
Put It All Together
Once you've practiced the pieces, it's time to put it all together to create your dance routine! Here are a few examples from cheerleading squads of various levels.
Simple 8th Grade Routine
This is a basic routine with steps that are easy to learn and perform at a moderate pace. Note any steps and combinations you enjoyed so you can incorporate them into your dance later.
Central High Pep Rally
This high school crew mixes a variety of dance styles to entertain the crowd at Central High.
Cheer Extreme Competition Dance
Try learning along with choreographer Brandon Hale as he teaches this competition-style dance routine. Watch the video all the way through first, so you can mark the moves and see the dance performed. Then, restart the video and practice with the group.
One Step at a Time
When it comes to creating your cheer dance, the process is simpler than you may think. Just start with the basic moves, then piece them together slowly until you have a workable routine. Once you have your dance, you can pepper in some easy stunts and tumbling to complete make your performance.