Tycoons leap with joy
Sunday 4th January 2015 @ 12:15 by Mark Phillip
Sports Stalybridge

Cheerleading may be synonymous with American culture, but thanks to the tireless work of a dancing diva, the sport is breaking through into our very own borough.

Jane (left) with Panther from TV hit series, Gladiators.

Jane (left) with Panther from TV hit series, Gladiators.

The mastermind behind the sport’s growing popularity is Stalybridge based Jane Wood, who founded the TCA Tycoons Dance Academy in 2007.

Despite being new to the sport at the time of its inception, the former Dukinfield High School pupil has seen her creation blossom into a successful entity in the short space of seven years.

The first competition the Academy entered is fondly remembered by Jane, who warmly reminisces about the excitement it brought.

She told reporter sport “I kind of fell upon cheerleading in 2007 and the love for the sport just grew and grew until I eventually left my job to concentrate on the cheerleading and the academy.

“We positioned second place in our first competition at winter gardens and we weren’t expecting that at all so we did extremely well. We were up against 14 other teams so it was a really good win!”

The credible finish ignited a passion in Jane that has been bolstered with several more accolades, including the Regional senior Pom Championship, the national Championship in Level 2 coed group stunt and the National Championship in Hip Hop.

The Academy also boasts a second place finish at the internationals for Senior Hip Hop.

Despite the impressive list of honours, Jane maintained the belief that the development of dance in the borough can be attributed to various groups and volunteers.

She said “We have quite a big programme in Tameside, including a dance development team, and we all meet and try to work within the schools.

“I think we do a really good job at the minute but there is scope to improve and we do have a cheerleading festival which is run just for schools at the moment.”

Jane alludes to Pom dance rather than cheerleading, although she is hopeful that her passion will be implemented into the annual competition in the near future.

“The Dance development team would like to see cheerleading introduced into the yearly annual competition” she exclaimed.

The support of local businesses last year played a pivotal part in the Academy’s success, and is an aspect of the sport lauded by Jane. “Local businesses rallied together and raised enough for us to travel to Bournemouth for internationals with our Hip Hop team who came second and missed the world bid by a few points.”

The Internationals in the South West certainly set the benchmark, but according to Jane, if you want to succeed in the sport then you have to live, eat and breathe it; although that doesn’t detract from her main point of focus which is developing those with limited ability.

She told us “My favourite aspect of cheerleading would be when a child comes into the club and can’t do a skill but then manages to achieve it.

“Their face and pride when accomplishing that is what it’s all about for me – the silverware is secondary.”

Trophies may well be a shaded priority, but the coach is hopeful for a glittering new year when the Academy head to Nationals in March.

Speaking about the future, Jane disclosed her ambitious desires. She added “I would love to get a grand champs this year and would love a detona bid.

“Whether it’s this season or not, we’ll wait and see.”