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The main difference between cheerleading and dancing is that cheerleading can be classified as a sport whereas dance is an art form. Cheerleading and dance are similar enough and generally are composed of like movements and choreography so that many people believe that they are interchangeable. Since the 1980s, High School Cheer squads and teams began competing off the football field in halls, gymnasiums and on stages for the chance to claim the All-Star Title. As competition has intensified over the years so too has the difficulty of the acrobatic patterns,tumbling, stunts, choreography, chants and numbers of participants in the sport. Cheerleading has become more than just rooting for a team. Cheeleaders can also now become part of a competitive team. College Scholarships are offered to some cheerleaders with competitive teams. There are various after-school programs and specialized coaching academies dedicated to cheerleading Afterschool lessons in cheerleading are now available all over the US as well.
Dance education provides adolescents and young adults, not only with an understanding of dance, but also a deeper understanding of themselves. Dance education has a positive impact on the overall education and growth of adolescents and young adults. The purpose of dance education is “to broadly educate all students in dance as an art form in all its facets—to teach students to know about dance and to use the artistic processes inherent in dance. This purpose distinguishes educational dance from all other types of dance instruction. Teachers of K‐12 dance are to inspire students to inquire into dance as art and acquire artistic skills in creating, performing, and responding” (McCutchen 2006). Educational dance is for all students. “The mantra of educational dance is INSPIRE, INQUIRE and ACQUIRE!”