On the 29th January Unity Allstars had their 2017 showcase, the U-Debut. Cheer From Head To Toe was invited to come down and give our followers an insight into the Unity Allstars World where there were 400 hundred athletes performing as part of 18 teams.
The showcase was held at the Unity Allstars gym at Harris Academy Morden where athletes debuted their routines on a full size competition floor with an independent judges panel and competition back drop.
This was CFHTT’s second year attending their showcase and we could see how they had taken it to another level this year. They had a proper area for the judges and even flew in judge Jake Streeter from America.
They had theatrical lighting and who can forget the epic backdrop sponsored by their uniform partner Rebel Athletic; it was beautiful.
CFHTT thinks doing a showcase before competition is a fantastic opportunity for athletes to get those first competition nerves out of the way and build their confidence.
Last year many of the athletes looked nervous and didn’t sell the routine in the way that we normally expect from Unity Allstars, so we were excited to see if anything had changed.
As we arrived at the Showcase there was already a massive queue. We went straight in and introduced ourselves. It was lovely to go and meet Programme Director Tori again who welcomed us with open arms.
She explained that a lot more planning had gone into this years’ U-Debut. She informed us that planning started from last October and you could tell everything was more polished than last year; even the little things like having music in the intervals to keep the energy going and the fact that they had two showcases in one day.
Outside in the vendors’ hall there were a variety of companies there including Holly Bows, Rebel Athletic and The Cheer Accessories Store. We had a look around before entering the hall to take our seats.
We were seated right at the front and in the centre; inches from the stage and close enough so we could see everything.
The place was packed with 400 tickets sold. Tori, the founder and Director of Unity Allstars welcomed the audience to the 2017 U-Debut showcase.
Tori explained to the audience that she wanted to make the experience as much like a competition as possible. She told us to cheer as loudly as we could for the teams to let them know that the crowd liked what they were seeing!
Then the performances began.
Pineapple Large Tiny 1, aimed at children aged 4-6
This team were adorable; they were so small and cute. This team really got the crowd going. Everyone was cheering and clapping for them. The best part of this routine was the pyramid and their tumble passes which included cartwheels, and they even had a few walkovers too.
Peach Youth 3 aged 9-12
This was our second favourite routine of the day. CFHTT were so impressed with this team. They started with a bang, going from jumps to a full team back handspring, we loved, loved, loved it!
Strong tumbles and great choreography with very effective transitions gave the routine that spark that Peach are known for. This team looked confident throughout, everyone was giving attitude and emphasising every motion, pointing their toes, great synchronised tumbles and lovely height in their tucks. Our favourite part of this routine was their stunt section, this team performed as one and it was so enjoyable to watch.
Rose Senior 1 aged 15 and above
We loved the choreography of the stunt sequences in this routine and seeing Coach Dave fly was AMAZING and so unexpected. Last year Rose hesitated in their performances and this year they had more confidence. They made a mistake in their pyramid but recovered well and had a lot more sass in their dance this year.
Coconut Small Tiny 1, aimed at children aged 4-6
Coconut has improved so much from last year with everything from tumbles to stunts and overall confidence. Our favourite part was their tumble runs and pyramid which was a brace lib with a lovely heel stretch.
JADE Co-ed 2 aged 15 and up
We loved their half up to cupie down to straddle sit back up to prep lib; the timing was perfection! Also their half up to arabesques was beautiful and they did not forget to point their toes. They only had one tiny error, which was at the end of their pyramid. They have really stepped up their game and are going to have a good season. We especially love the end dance with the fierce male dancer, he’s a star!
Saffron Senior 3, aged 15 and up
Saffron were crowned Grand Champions at FC Nationals so we were always going to expect great things from this team. They came out giving off that diva flare which we love to see. Cheerleading is a performance; you want to dazzle the audience and these ladies understand that. Our favourite part of the routine was their dual basing to prone and their pyramid with the water fall stunt, although they did have some issues they brought it back in the dance.
Skye Mini 1 team aimed at children aged 7-9
Skye put on a great show. Still so impressed with how children at that age remember such difficult sequences. Our favourite part was their switch up to straddle sit ending in prep cradle. It melted our hearts to see the athletes developing so fast. We remember when some of these athletes were on Coconut and they couldn’t really tumble but look at them now!
Lemon senior 2 – NCA team
Unity Lemon is going to NCA shortly and are debuting a new uniform from Rebel Athletics. Overall this routine was great and the synchronized tumbling was on point. We are going to be more critical of them because they are going to NCA. This routine was good but they need to push. There were little things that pull your focus like the flyer catching her heel stretch late and the flyers not keeping their motions sharp throughout. These are tiny things we are picking apart but they are going to the world’s biggest competition which is going to be fierce, so they need to remember there is no break in this routine until they walk off the mat.
Smoke Senior Co-ed Level 4.2 for athletes aged 15 and up
Smoke came out on the floor looking confident and ready to perform. They started strong with lovely kick baskets and switch up to prone cradle. We really enjoyed their jump sequence and the entries and exit out of stunt. This team was more of a unit and moved as one at the beginning which was so good to see because last year they had nerves throughout. They did have falls which we felt knocked their confidence a bit and they didn’t end as strong as they started. They also had an athlete who had to stop due to feeling faint which threw off the other athletes because they weren’t really sure if they should continue or stop. Thus we can’t really judge their performance because it wasn’t full out.
Pearl Junior Level 3 for athletes aged 10 to 14
Our favourite routine of the day was PEARL, they gave us LIFE!!!! This was a level 3 routine that looked like it could easily be a level 4 with tiny changes. The timing was insane and everyone was in sync. Every section we loved but most of all it was the precision and sharpness throughout. Everyone gave their all, so much sass and sparkle and fierceness. We loved the tumble section, the aerial, punch front and the high tucks and all we can say is we loved it and wanted more.
Peppermint Junior Level 1 team aimed at children aged 10-14
They have good gut lib with beautiful scales. We also loved the transition into the extended straddle sit. Peppermint is a very neat team, the tick tocks looked effortless and they were a pleasure to watch. Although they didn’t sell it to us like last year, they just needed to up the energy level.
Indigo Senior Co-ed 4 for athletes aged 15 and up.
Indigo had a powerful opening with solid standing tucks that went straight into partner stunts which were followed by more jumps into graceful kick twist baskets going into a creative and top level 4 stunt section. Overall this team were great and had that sass they were missing last year. Our favourite things about this routine were the pyramid, the constant flipping and let’s not forget all the transition into their pyramid, beautiful. Oh and we have to mention the male point dancer on this team, he was full of sass.
Mango Youth 1 aimed at children aged 9-11
They came on the mat and gave their routine everything they had. We saw some nice tumbles from this team, great lib sequences. We loved this dance sequence especially the point dancer who was so cute he melted our heart.
Black Senior Co-ed 5 aged 15 and up
Black are back! For CFHTT we felt like Black weren’t the same last year, they didn’t have that twinkle and didn’t seem like one team. This year it’s pretty much a new team and these athletes are hungry and know what it means to be on Unity Black. Their pyramid was very fast paced; every count had a movement. This routine had elite transitions, rewinds in and out of the pyramid with limited spotters. We also loved the ball up to extension. We loved their 1 13/4 to scale and the high to high tick tocks and beautiful double downs. The creative transition was on point and really added to the routine. They did have some errors in their pyramid but we can forgive that because Black are back. You guys are going to be so happy when you see this routine.
Ruby senior 5 aged 15 and up
Ruby put on a hell of a show and really got the crowd going. We loved the 1 1/2 around to stretch and they had beautiful double downs. Our favourite part of this routine was the handstand straight up to arabesque to scorp (two member of the team had spikes) with a high released cradle ending in a walkover, it was visual and very eye catching. They have a lot of new members on this team. Well done to all the new athletes for giving all that sass but you can tell the newer athletes from the more experienced ones, so keep pushing that performance. Overall these ladies were divas on the mat and we loved it; they feed off the crowd. One thing we liked in the routine was the full use of the floor. Really good choreography using all the space, it was visually very effective.
Teal is Junior 2 aged 10 to 14.
There was great choreography in this routine. Our favourite part was the opening stunt sequence, especially the transition where the flyers were in prep lib and the backs did a forward roll to a new stunt group – so fun to watch; it was nice to see creative choreography. Also the point dancer was amazing so much sass that we couldn’t take our eyes off her.
Lime Large Youth 1.
They came on the mat with beaming smiles, the music started and they sold their routine. They had a jam-packed routine from ground up straddle sit extension to gut lib to stretch and ticks tocks. Every moment something was happening. There were some great transitions in the pyramid, great job Lime.
International Open Co-ed Level 6, aged 17 and up
Level 6 is where it all began for Unity, back in the day when they just had one team and still everyone loves them. It was great to see them bring this team back – it was like bringing back an old friend who went travelling. We tried not to set our expectations too high but you can’t help it, it’s like Natasha the team mum next to me said, they are legendary. We have positive memories of this team because they also inspired us when we were younger.
They started with a lovely X out basket which had so much height and a solid one handed cupie at the back which followed on to great synchronised tumbling.
We were really impressed with their rewinds although they didn’t all hit. We LOVED watching Unity’s famed 2-1-1 thigh stand tower pyramid. They had lots of flipping and twisting rotating sequences throughout the routine. This routine is very buildable and we are excited to watch them build their difficulty throughout the season as the team progress. Welcome back guys you shouldn’t have ever left.
We had as much fun at this event, it was a pleasure speaking to coach Dave , Tori and the loveliest women Natasha Mellon, the Ruby Team Mum, who looked after us so well at this event, getting us anything we needed. Overall all the performances had a lot more energy this showcase. They made you watch them, they demanded it.
We have to give a shout out to Stevie- Jo from Peach, Peppermint and Lemon who we have picked as our best performer of the day.
She was on fire; every performance was fierce and her motions were really sharp. She is a great all-around athlete she flies, tumbles and bases, we salute you Stevie- Jo!
We would like to thank Unity for welcoming us to the show .
Until next year guys!
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photography by Angela ,Ellie Parkhurst, Charlie Hooper, Bryony Gill