CA Cheer & Dance

Dr. Marrissa Dick | July 14th, 2017
CA Cheer & Dance (Photos by Shaw Photography Group)

CA Cheer & Dance (Photos by Shaw Photography Group)

In today’s society cheerleading has come a long way from the traditional side line of young women and men performing simplistic routines while waiving pompoms in the air. Today, cheerleaders are considered athletes because they bring a different dynamics to the playing field by incorporating difficult gymnastic moves while creating symmetrical body pyramids and choreographed dance moves that can surely take your breath away. It’s this up and coming phenomenon that has Carolina Athletix Cheer and Dance Studio teaching the logistics of this All-Star competitive sport. Since 2009 sisters, Anitra Goode and Claudja Goode Dwight, the owners and operators of CA Cheer and Dance Studio, have transformed the traditional basic cheerleading and dance routine into a highly synchronized sport known as an All-Star competitive sport. Anitra and Claudja attribute their initial love of dancing to their instructors from John Phillips Dance Studio of Dance and Harris Mintz Dance Studio in Greensboro N.C., respectively.

Growing up watching the elaborate dance routines during the half time shows at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) football games, the sisters were confident that they could take this concept of dancing to the next level by incorporating strategically choreographed dance routines with their CA Cheer and Dance Majorettes, the Dynamic Dancing Rubies. It is during these performances when you can really get a feel of the competitive dancing of the majorettes. “We teach all of that here at CA the dance, the athleticism, the building of pyramids, the elaborate flips and tumbling just without the batons, pompoms, and flags. We teach our athletes how to take that traditional type of dancing to the next level with highly developed choreographed routines.” In fact, the competitive dancing is the second largest program taught at their studio.

These sisters are no strangers to athletic cheerleading and dance. Claudja shares, “We’re both proud alumnus of the Ben L. Smith High School. We cheered there so it was very exciting for us to go back there and coach.” It was during this time when the sisters realized that they could take their talents to another level and began offering competitive cheerleading camps and clinics to area schools and recreation centers. Claudja recalls having a conversation with Anitra about her desire to see a stronger minority athletic presence on “the mat” at competitive cheerleading events. After witnessing the All-Star competitive side of cheerleading both Anitra and Claudja knew that their talents and skills, coupled with their own competitive natures, would qualify them as formative adversaries within this sporting arena.

Though the sisters have extensive personal experience in cheerleading and dance they began researching the All-Star competitive sport and discovered that, “the All-Star cheerleading sport foundational ground work began in the late 1980s and that’s when the gymnastics part was really added. It’s a different side of cheerleading because it doesn’t involve the pompoms and it doesn’t involve cheering for someone or even a team. You are the sport. You are the target. You are who people are coming to see. And that’s what we really wanted to focus in on,” Claudja shared.

Claudja and Anitra believe in having experienced and certified coaches and teachers working in their establishment which is why they chose to become members of the illustrious United States All-Star Federation. Claudja shares, “I’m certified by the United States All-Star Federation in levels 1 – 3 which teaches the athletes the beginning level of tumbling, advanced tucks, and hand springs. I’ll soon be certified in levels four and five so our students will know how to properly and safely do their backhand springs and round off backhand spring tucks. It’s a great sight to see and it gives the athletes something to progress toward.” Joining this professional accrediting body ensures that CA Cheer and Dance Studio are knowledgeable and proficient in the field of All-Star competitive sport. “My sister and I are responsible and educated owners. We make certain that our instructors are knowledgeable and certified in everything that they do.” Anyone joining this studio can be confident that the coaches and teachers at CA Cheer and Dance are certified and have undergone the necessary screening process and have received clearance to teach from the United States All-Star Federation in both cheer and dance.

The sisters work together as a unit along with their coaches discussing their vision and making certain that their cheerleaders and dancers are maximizing their full level of athleticism and commitment in all of their classes. As educators, the sisters believe in providing progress reports so the parents and students can see where they were when they started and how far they have progressed at the conclusion of a particular class. Claudja stresses the importance of commitment, “Being committed is important because it takes all of that and more sometimes to get through this. We want our students to understand that you’re not just here for you. When you come to CA you have to develop a team mentality which encompasses attending all practices because others are depending on you to uphold your part of the routine. You learn what it means to be on time because everyone’s time is valuable. You learn what it means to work together and the importance of taking pride in who you are. Our students get that. They understand it.”

Anyone interested in joining this elite studio would have to be fully committed because these sisters mean business. Neither has any time to waste. In particular, when they are not competing or working at the studio both Anitra and Claudja are performing a balancing act when it comes to taking care of their families because they are in the final stages of completing their doctoral degrees. Claudja feels honored to be accomplishing this academic achievement with her big sister, Anitra. She shares, “We’re six years apart and she was actually my coach. I’m glad we’re doing school and CA Cheer and Dance together. She’s my big sister. She’s provided a great example for me in many areas of my life. It’s great to be in a business with someone you can trust and with someone who believes in you. My sister is all of that for me.” It is clear that these sisters understand and share in the intricacies of the All-Star competitive sport, but they also embrace, nurture, and value family.

CA Cheer and Dance Studio offer their services throughout the Piedmont Triad Area. Though they wish to have a strong minority presence on the mat their targeted market is for anyone who meets their criteria and who are three to eighteen years of age. They teach classes in Pre-Ballet I and II, Pre Tap I and II, Pre-Jazz I and II, Intermediate Hip-Hop, Pre-Point I, Intermediate Tap II, Intermediate Jazz II, Pre-Majorette, Majorette and Tumbling Clinics. Private lessons and choreographies are available for those individuals who are interested in auditioning for professional dance teams. The sisters know that this is a tough and highly competitive market so they remain on the cutting edge of everything that they do in order to service their clientele by offering more than just cheerleading and dance. For example, both sisters are bilingual; however, Anitra is fluent in Spanish. She has been able to assist many non-English speaking parents who are interested in their children participating in the classes CA Cheer and Dance provides. “We do have students from all cultures here and we are happy to service them all,” Claudja shared.

With every sport comes an expense and cheerleading and dance are no different. “There are just some costs that cannot be avoided when it comes to the competitive side of the business, but our parents are so committed that they’ve formed their own non-profit Booster Club which provides some scholarship monies to assist with the financial aspect of the competitions. The parents take turns working the concession stands during events at the coliseum and they do fund raisers. They are very creative when it comes to making sure that no athlete is left out.” According to Claudja, “We’re in it to win it. We’re here to overcome adversity because our studio is inclusive. I don’t want our studio to be placed in a box. I want to show this industry that we are just as strong if not stronger than any other competitive studio and that our athletes are amazing.” Let’s face it ladies and gentlemen. It’s hard to be humble when you can cheer, dance, and tumble!

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