There was a time not too long ago when cheerleaders stayed on the sidelines and dance teams were only for halftime shows. Those days are happily in the past now that cheer and dance have been widely accepted as sanctioned sports, and they have exploded in popularity in recent years thanks to national TV exposure and competitions.
The two sports have spread like a human wave across the country and beyond, making them among the top five activities for young girls. With more than 3 million cheerleaders in the United States and about half as many dancers participating in group events, possible to hold major events with teams from all over North America at major destinations, Myrtle Beach has become a boomtown for huge competitions. Thanks to its outstanding facilities, beautiful beaches, abundance of entertainment, dining and shopping, and excellent oceanfront accommodations like the Breakers Resort. School cheer teams and dance clubs travel across the country to compete on the shores of America's No. 1 Family Beach Vacation Destination.
Some of the top organizations, such as the Eastern Cheer and Dance Association, Cheer Ltd, and more in the world are not only moving their championship events to Myrtle Beach, but they are also returning year after year. That's how you can tell that a city knows how to host a major event. There's no shortage of fun activities to do off the court and dance floor, and plenty of great competition on them. The result is a Grand Strand area that is packed with thousands of dancing and cheerleading teens and tweens year-round.
Another major draw for the city is the facilities, which were designed and built with cheer and dance competitions in mind. The brand new Myrtle Beach Sports Center features 100,000 square feet dedicated to indoor sports. Opened in the spring of 2015, the state of the art complex includes eight regulation sized basketball courts and 16 volleyball courts that are easily converted for dance and cheer competition.
The Myrtle Beach Sports Center is located next door to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, which offers 250,000 square feet of flexible space. Facilities include the 100,800-square-foot Exhibit Hall and 17,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, where dance and cheer competitions are held. There are 20 additional meeting rooms for prep-performance warm-ups, and a 30,000-square-foot Events Plaza offers unique opportunities for outside events.
The Myrtle Beach Convention Center has an adjoining hotel, but many dance and cheer groups are opting to stay at The Breakers Resort, which is only two blocks away from the competition headquarters and offers oceanfront accommodations and more. Breakers guests can walk to the Convention Center for their performances, then stroll back to the resort to enjoy comfortable accommodations, a balcony view of the beach, indoor and outdoor pools and water facilities, plus on-site dining at Papa's, the Rusty Reel, Starbucks Coffee and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. The Breakers is also conveniently located close to all of Myrtle Beach’s top attractions, such as Broadway at the Beach, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Market Common, as well as the best restaurants and shops on the Grand Strand.
Upcoming national events for 2016 include the Championship Cup Nationals Cheer & Dance Competition on March 12, the American SuperStarz Cheerleading Championships on April 1-4 and April 15-18, and the Maximum Cheer and Dance Competitions on May 14. There are also several local, regional and national dance and cheerleading camps and competitions in the works for the summer of 2016 so check the calendar for updates at www.VisitMyrtleBeach.com.