Retired Redskinette and Ballerina Tap Olympic Spirit to Inspire Girls

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Competetive Cheerleading has a lot in common with Gymnastics such as the need for intense conditioning and tumbling skills. Kids who aren't up for the pressures associated with competitive gymnastics they'll be watching on TV can find the thrill of competetition and great team spirit by joining a cheer club. One such club in Gaithersburg, Maryland pays special attention to the self-esteem of its members.

The Summer Olympic Games inspire and captivate young Americans, especially the gymnastics competition, where team USA excels. However, not every young girl can meet the tough disciplinary and athletic skills demanded by gymnastics, even though she wants very much to get involved in team athletics. That's where competitive cheerleading comes in. Dream Team Cheer accepts children of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels. The coaches nurture as well as train young women in elements of dance and tumbling, while working to bring out the confidence of each member of the club. The schedule is full, but not overwhelming, and special emphasis is on fulfilling educational and familial obligations while enjoying the spirit and sport of cheerleading.

Lisa Burke, co-founder and program director of Dream Team Cheer, has 30 years experience with cheer teams, on the junior high, high school, college and NFL levels. She was a member of the NFL cheerleading squad, the Redskinettes, as well as a squad captain, from 1988 until 1991. Before coming to DC, Lisa was a professional cheerleader with the New England Patriots. Lisa holds a BS in Systems Engineering from Boston University.

Lisa says that cheerleading teams "were a refuge and support system for my life ever since I was a little girl."

Andrea Needle, co-founder and executive director of Dream Team Cheer has over 25 years experience in the performing arts. She has danced with and received training in choreography from the San Francisco Ballet, the Milwaukee Ballet, the Sacramento Ballet and the Banff Center of Performing arts in Ontario, Canada. Andrea is bonded to the Washington area having graduated from the American University (class of '92) with a BA in Psychology, and having taught dance and movement at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland.

Andrea says, "Dream Team Cheer gives me the chance to share the invaluable lessons of self-discipline, dedication, hard work and goal setting with young women. It's a privilege to have a positive impact on young lives."

Tryouts are regularly scheduled at Gymnastics of America, 602-A East Diamond Avenue, Gaithersburg. Directions available at

Additional Topics of Discussion:

What do Cheering and Gymnastics have in common?

Is Cheerleading a "sport"? Does it need to be better regulated?

There are scholastic opportunities available for cheerleaders that many young women don’t know about.

How popular is competitive cheerleading in Washington, DC area?

What's the difference between in-school, and outside-of-school clubs or teams?

Is there too much emphasis on looks and figures, rather than spirit and esteem?

What lessons can girls in organized sports get from watching the summer games on TV?

For interviews or more information, please call Rita Rich at 301/649-5761, mobile 301/404-9609.

Co-Founders of Club, Retired Redskinette and Ballerina, Available for Interviews

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Rita Rich
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