It was something we hadn’t seen in BR Volleys matches for a long time: at regular intervals in the anniversary match against Friedrichshafen on Saturday night, sparkling golden balls flashed and fans moved to the beat of fan cheers. During the technical break, dancers from the Berlin Dance Team ran to the field and performed until the game continued.
The fact that the cheerleaders stood out right away was because they hadn’t shown up in over a year. For some time, the question has been to what extent the offers are still up to date, Berlin’s professional clubs have found different ways to approach this topic.
With Füchse handball players, for example, fans have been an integral part of the games since spectators were allowed to watch them again. In basketball, on the other hand, appearances during breaks were canceled two years ago. Marco Baldi, Managing Director of Alba Berlin, justified this by the fact that “the appearance of young women as attractive fillers at sporting events is no longer appropriate for our times.”
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Of course, women in sports should not serve only to entertain the public because men only take their breath away. Especially if the troupe is not paid, and the choice of dancers is based on certain ideals of beauty, so that people who do not meet them from the start are excluded.
At the same time, it is questionable to what extent is the correct way to determine the head of the dancers. Especially since the decision in Alba was met with great protest. There have certainly been alternative ways not to promote sexism without ending support altogether.
Especially in the USA – where cheerleading is more associated with acrobatics than cheerleading – it is also a sport that has its own competitions that require full body discipline and often involve intricate choreography. The sport has long been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as such. This should be appreciated; Clappers are not a decorative accessory.
Air balls decided some time ago to reduce the number of dance performances. Although it’s been an integral part of the games for a long time, according to Volleys managing director Kaweh Niroomand, it’s now only planned for special occasions, such as its 10th anniversary. At the same time, a club whose professional team and management team consists almost entirely of men will have to put up with the question of whether they want to give women a space for representation beyond the technical hiatus.
How about having your own women’s volleyball team? At that time, Alba decided to cancel the cheerleading appearances, but to provide more support for women’s basketball. And when it’s time for the BR Volleys to have a women’s team, male fans or mixed teams can dance, too. After all, the first fans in the US were also men.
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