We’ve got spirit, yes we do. So much spirit one squad can’t handle it all.
UNLV’s spirit squads are split up among different teams — some competitive like UNLV Cheer, the Rebel Girls and their affiliated male troupe the Rebel Company; some not like UNLV Pom and the Scarlet Dance Line. They're all, though regular fixtures at games, events, and in the community. Oh, and on national television, when the Rebels are being broadcast.
But what separates one troupe from another? More than just the amount they have emotionally invested in Bring It On.
The Coke Classic of cheerleading squads, UNLV Cheer is everything you think of when you think of cheerleaders — all the tumbling, sideline exhorting, pom-shaking action you could want.
“If your [background is as] a gymnast, you're more so going to lean toward the cheer side of it, but if you're a dancer then you're going to more so pick the Rebel Girls,” cheer coach Savanna Sibley said.
The cheer team can be found at basketball and football games, and also competes at the annual College Cheerleading and Dance Team National Championship. They are the 2019 national champs in the Game Day category.
Rebel Girls & Company
Where the cheer team is oriented toward traditional cheer activities like tumbling and stunts, the Rebel Girls & Company make their bones in hip-hop dance at every men’s basketball home game and select football games.
“People have joined our program because in recent years we've been nationally recognized,” associate head coach Brandi-Lynn Slade said. “We had a big fan base at games. People stayed in their seats to watch us perform instead of getting up during timeouts. Rebel Girls are a big name in the college dance team industry.”
The Rebel Girls work with choreographers (and UNLV alumni) Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo, who have designed dance routines for everyone from Cirque du Soleil to Jennifer Lopez to So You Think You Can Dance. In 2018, they added an all-male b-boy crew, the UNLV Rebel Company.
Like the cheer team, the Rebel Girls compete at nationals in January and have been perennial favorites in the hip hop division with national titles in 2008, 2010, 2013, 2016. This year they brought home two titles in the national hip hop and game day competitions.
The Rebel Company, founded in 2017, is UNLV's first official all-male dance team. They perform with the Rebel Girls at football and basketball games, compete on their own at World of Dance and other local competitions, and compete with the Rebel Girls as Rebel Girls & Company, where they won the Hip Hop and Game Day categories at the 2019 College Dance Team National Championships in Orlando.
The Pom Squad
The Pom Squad doesn't compete but offers an outlet for members to share their Rebel spirit, elevate fan engagement, and serve as ambassadors for the university. The group is part of UNLV Athletics and performs cheer and dance routines during games but eschews risky tumbling and stunts. The group also puts in appearances around the community with NASCAR, Las Vegas Lights Soccer, Police Athletic League youth program events, and more.
Scarlet Dance Line
While the cheer team and Rebel Girls fall under the auspices of UNLV Athletics, the Scarlet Dance Line functions as part of the Star of Nevada Marching Band. A relative newcomer, being formed in 2009, the dance line isn’t a competitive unit, which gives students an outlet for scratching the dance itch without the full-time commitment required by the other squads.
The dance line performs with the marching band before and at halftime of all football games, as well as at women’s basketball games in the spring.
“The level of performance has grown a lot,” second-year coach Milena McLaren said. “When I was part of the team, our coaches were always Rebel Girls. They didn’t have a lot of time to focus on what our team needed and to grow our team. Now that I’ve stepped in as coach, I can take a lot more time to work with the girls and expand the team. I think that’s really helped our performance quality.”
The Scarlet Dance Line also performs at all the homecoming parades, and travels with the marching band for one road trip game every year, including to Pasadena, California, San Diego and Dallas.