Cheerleading in Canada has been progressing and developing over the last decade at a rapid pace. Internal growth has been a huge factor in that progression, as teams and programs have pushed each other to get better year after year.
External exposure has also been a large factor, as international choreographers, coaches, and skill technicians have made their way up north to spread their knowledge. This weekend at Feel The Power East, cheer fans will get a rare glimpse into what’s going on in the cheer industry in Canada.
When Jerry Mauldin moved from Texas to Canada 10 years ago, cheerleading had not yet reached the peak level of success on a wide scale. Cheer, as a competitive sport, was still gaining steam and popularity. Throughout the last decade, however, he has seen the explosion of cheerleading popularity and talent, including within his own program.
Mauldin opened Limelight Cheerleading Allstars in 2012, and he has been a part of the movement to make Canadian cheerleading a success. “When I first arrived, this country was way behind,” he noted. “But now, programs are getting as good as the USA”. Limelight, based in the Ontario area, looks to be a big part of showing off some of the country’s best and brightest.
In its 7th season, Limelight is fielding 15 teams across two locations. With any business, there are ups and downs to navigate through, and successful cheerleading gyms are no different. Along with growing the sport, there is always a need to maintain a healthy gym atmosphere and business. Even when he was thrown a tough situation along the way, Mauldin never lost his desire to continue forging ahead. He led his program through it all, coming out on the other side stronger than ever.
“[There was] a concern, but we came together as a family, and the energy is amazing”. Growth can come with growing pains, but in an industry where the cream always rises, Limelight is out to prove that they are the cream of the crop.
Mauldin’s plan for his program is simple: care for the athletes first, and the rest will come. When asked if there was one main thing we should know about his program, he told us,
“My philosophy is I want my athletes to feel they are in the limelight all the time. We want our kids to feel welcome, to feel special, and to feel loved.”
As a transplanted choreographer from the USA, he knows what it takes to get the skills to be where they need to be. That’s why Limelight goes about things in the way that they do. He knows that the athletes need to feel valued in order for them to feel like they can add value to a sport where teamwork is vital.
Looking ahead to the FTP event this weekend, Mauldin told us that the USA audience is in for a treat in getting to see a primarily Canadian competition streamed on Varsity TV.
He proudly noted that his program, as a whole, is finally stepping into its own to become a strong force in the industry. They will be aiming to make a strong statement this weekend, and beyond. With the world watching, the opportunity to live up to their program name has arrived.
Be sure to keep your eye out for the Limelight Cheerleading Allstars, as they are sure to shine bright this weekend at Feel The Power East!
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