Cheerleaders learn well-choreographed jumps and moves

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 15, 2007

CHESAPEAKE — “One-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight,” cheerleaders shouted as they practiced a routine at Jill’s Tumble World in Chesapeake, a tumbling and cheerleading facility that serves the Tri-State area.

“We have instructional tumbling where we teach tumbling for cheerleading purposes and we have competitive cheerleading teams also,” said Jill Stapleton, owner.

She has nine competitive teams this year and about 200 Dreams All-Star cheerleaders. They begin practicing in September and compete from January through May.

Email newsletter signup

The cheerleaders traveled to Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and several cities in Ohio for competition.

In the World’s Best competition in Baltimore, Md., in May, two of the teams placed second. In last year’s competition, the All-Stars won 16 different national titles altogether. They begin their seventh season in September.

Tumble World also has choreography and private cheerleading camps for school teams throughout the Tri-State area.

Ceredo-Kenova Middle School cheerleaders were in a three-day private camp last week at Tumble World.

“We make up their choreography, their dance routines, their cheers, instructional camp and clinic so they can use it for competition and for their ballgames,” she said.

Jill’s Tumble World works with 10 to 20 teams every year working with their choreography.

Stapleton does most of the choreography and has other coaches assisting.

“We have teams like Symmes Valley, Coal Grove, Chesapeake, C-K, Beverly Hills, Benson, Cabell Midland — various teams that come for choreography and clinics,” she said. “But, we have more teams that come and take their tumbling lessons here.”

The teams take one hour a week as a team. Last year Tumble World had more than 17 teams.

“This year, we’ll have about 20 different teams that will come here,” Stapleton said. “They can sign up for individual classes as well.”

Teams from Ashland, Huntington and as far away as West Hamlin and Oak Hill as well as southern Ohio go to Tumble World for training.

Seventy-three all-star cheerleaders performed for the NBA last year at a Cleveland Cavaliers game.

When Stapleton opened Tumble World, she started with 75 students and this year she will exceed 450 students, she said.

She offers a free complimentary class for anyone who would like to try it out to see if they would like to continue with classes.

“It’s to make sure you like it before you purchase anything,” Stapleton said.

On Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 10 p.m., she has an open gym at $3 an hour or $7 for the entire evening.

She also has organized tumbling going on at the same time where students who want to practice can work out on one side of the 8,000 square-foot building, and the students who want to play can use the other side.

Several coaches are Marshall University cheerleaders and one of the tumbling instructors is a Marshall cheerleading coach.

Tumble World has two full-size cheer floors, one a competition spring floor and one a 42-feet by 42-feet foam floor. Also, they have a 40-foot tumble track with a 20-foot by 20-foot pit.

Stapleton’s new project is working on a program for students with special needs — a program that is lacking in the Tri-State area.

“We’d really love to be able to reach out to those kids as well,” she said. “That competition — the kids that have special needs get a total standing ovation. It’s incredible.”