Bay State All Star Cheer and Dance
Region – From cartwheels to back tucks and layouts, students at Bay State All Star Cheer and Dance bring a new meaning to the sport of cheering and dance. Located minutes from Interstate-290 at 11 McKeon Rd. in Worcester, the gym, which boasts countless state and national awards, off ers a complete range of programs for students ages 5 to 18+ in cheerleading, tumbling and dance instructions.
Founded by business partners Matthew Holdridge and Karen Anastasi, Bay State's goal is to not only develop the athleticism of their students, but also to teach the students the value of developing a positive individual and team character.
"As important as it is to be a good athlete, we believe that it is equally valuable to be a good sportsman," Anastasi said. "The kids learn to work as a team to cheer on other teams, and win or lose, we do it graciously."
Responding to misconceptions and traditional stereotypes about cheerleading, Anastasi said that these girls and boys are the entertainment and the athletes that the crowds come to watch.
"Cheering is very athletic. These kids are athletes," she said. "… Yes, this is a performance sport, but these girls and boys are fit. You have to be very dedicated to be part of the cheering or dance teams."
Armed with a bachelor's degree in dance performance and years of competitive professional dance and cheering experience, Holdridge is not only co-owner but also a coach. While he works with the students, he emphasizes the importance of both hard work and fun.
"Many of the kids would describe a great day as learning a new stunt or meeting a challenge, but they are kids and they need to have fun," Holdridge said. "I try to mix it up a bit and teach them that conditioning can be a lot of fun."
With trophies lining every extra space at the gym, both Anastasi and Holdridge discuss the success of the team modestly. Competing throughout the year in both state and national competitions, Bay State's teams have received countless first-place national titles. Recently the team not only received first place at the U.S. Spirit National Competition in Orlando, Fla., but they also received the highest distinction of "Grande Champions."
Reflecting over the past year, Anastasi said some of her most rewarding moments have been watching the evolution of the kids both as athletes and individuals.
"We have kids come in who are painfully shy; they do not even make eye contact," she said. "Within a couple of months, it is amazing to see their confidence grow. These are kids who now perform regularly in front of tens of thousands of people."
With tryouts starting May 30 and 31 and a new session starting in June, Bay State, which is not affiliate d wit h any school sports, is a great place for kids looking to join a fun competitive sport. With a team of AACCA-certified (American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administration) professionals, the United States All Star Federation gym offers classes for all levels, from beginners learning basic tumbling such as back and front walkovers to level 4/5 students working on layouts and fulls.
For more information, visit online at www.baystateallstars.com or call 508-754-0632.
Editor's Note: the preceding is not an endorsement and is presented for informational purposes only.
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