Cheer we go!

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DANCING IN THE STREETS | Dallas Pride Cheer marches in last year’s Texas Freedom Parade, but will debut a new act at Razzle Dazzle, before moving to a national showcase in San Francisco next month. (Gregory Hayes/Dallas Voice)

Dallas Pride Cheer gets its razzle dazzling — for Dallas and San Francisco

JEF TINGLEY  | Contributing Writer
jeftingley@sbcglobal.net

As anyone who’s ever played a team sport can tell you, even the bleakest of losing streaks has been brightened by the erratic pom-poms and endless effervescence of a cheerleading squad. But the perkiest of cheerleaders still needs their own support system from time to time.

That’s the case with Dallas Pride Cheer, a local, mostly gay group who use their powers of pep not for sports but by performing at parades and other events to raise money for charitable causes, including Make-A-Wish, Bryan’s House and AIDS Arms.

On June 25 and 26, the all-volunteer squad will boost not a team, but our city by taking their talents to San Francisco for Pride Parade weekend. There, they will join other teams from around the world for a series of performances benefiting the Cheer for Life Foundation, a
nonprofit that supports agencies around the globe that provide services to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other ailments.

“We currently have 14 people from our 24-person squad going to represent Dallas,” says team captain Bobby Bridgwater, a former UNT cheerleader who parlayed his love of the sport into the nonprofit organization. “Everyone’s been working very hard to create the perfect routine and to raise money to travel to California.”

To help fund travel expenses, Dallas Pride Cheer is hosting a car wash on Saturday in the Caven parking lot, behind Zini’s Pizza Throckmorton.

In preparation for San Francisco and the many other local events they participate in, the group practices every Sunday at Pride All-Star Gym in Carrollton. Members range in age from 20 to 51, with a variety of backgrounds as current and former cheerleaders, athletes and coaches. And they are always looking for more.

“We are always looking for new talent to add to our group,” says Bridgwater. “Depending on the person’s experience we can plug [someone] into a routine. It’s best if we find someone with knowledge of technique, tumbling and stunting. As a group, we are always pushing new stunts, new basket tosses and so on. It’s a whole year of learning as a group.”

The routine Dallas Cheer Pride performs in San Francisco will be repeated in Dallas in September during the Alan Ross Freedom Parade. But those interested in seeing the squad sooner can check them out during this year’s Razzle Dazzle Dallas, which kicks off June 1.

“Razzle Dazzle is what we have been putting together for the past year,” says Bridgwater. “In addition to our cheer portion is a new, fun dance routine. You won’t see it anywhere else. It’s just something for us to shake it and have fun.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 27, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas