Ravens soar into action for Kestrels and Redhawks

By Joshua Stewart

SOLENT University’s cheerleading team, Ravens, soar into action on Sunday is readiness for their competitive season.

The Ravens will be cheering on the Solent Redhawks in their first American Fooball home game of the season, in addition to their regular gig at Solent Kestrel basketball matches.

It’s all part of their start to the cheer season with choreography, strength and conditioning and stunt training.

The Solent Ravens are in their second year as an official team of the university, and gameday team coach Abby Ingham is helping oversee the growth of the different squads.

“Ingham said; We now have a competitive cheer team which is stunting and dancing, stunting which is purely stunts, our gameday team which provides support at all the games and does performances as well and then our jazz and lyrical cheer teams.”

Not leaving the roots of choreographed dancing and pompoms behind, the Solent Ravens have moved with the modernisation of cheerleading by adding a much more physical component of lifts tricks and flips into their performance repertoire as well.

There has been a movement away from the stereotypical portrayal of cheerleading in recent years, inspired by the CHEER documentary commissioned by Netflix.

Stunt coach Alice Coburn feels that the growth in respect for cheerleading has changed peoples and her own perspective on the sport.

“It’s like a dichotomy. It is hyper feminine and it is sexualised in our culture but at the same time it is super athletic and competitive.

Everyone has their personal take on this sport but I personally go back and forth on whether this is feminist or am I feeding into these misogynistic ideas when I put on this uniform and bows and cheer at the basketball games.”

With their next performance taking place on Sunday at the Solent Redhawks American Football fixture at Test Park, the empowered Raves will be showcasing their moves in preparation for their upcoming competitive season.