In 1967, seven young women were selected as the first USC Song Girl squad. These talented students walked onto the field of the Los Angeles Coliseum to cheer on the Trojan Football Team to victory, starting one of the most storied traditions in the history of collegiate sports. Some forty-five years later, after numerous National Championships for both the Football Team and the Song Girl squad (also known as the USC Song Leaders), the women look resplendent as ever in their trademark white uniforms trimmed in Cardinal and Gold.
The Song Girls, who perform three dozen new dance routines each year, appear at all football, basketball, volleyball, and other athletic events. In addition, the squad appears at rallies, university and alumni functions, and conducts its own Junior Song Girl camp. Media appearances include both television and radio programs and commercials. The squad also performs internationally. The squad has traveled to Italy, Austria, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Japan, China and Australia. The Song Girls, together with the USC Trojan Marching Band, are the most visible public face of the University, and function as the ambassadors of spirit and good will for the Trojan Family.
What makes these young women so remarkable? The Song Girls hold themselves to a higher standard than that of many other squads. They work constantly to ensure that their choreography is innovative and exciting, with the expectation that every performance is better than the last. The members strive to maintain the image of the squad in their personal lives as well; they are well known and recognized anywhere they go, especially on campus and in the USC community. The Song Girls are highly committed and practice five days a week in addition to performances at sporting and other events. The squad works closely with the Trojan Marching Band. Each week during football season, the Song Girls must learn and perfect new choreography for different half-time routines to the music played by the USC Band.
The road to becoming a USC Song Girl is long and difficult. Each member has had extensive dance training in jazz and ballet. Many have been dancing since childhood, and most were song leaders or cheerleaders in high school. Unlike other college cheer teams, the Song Girls are primarily a dance squad. The emphasis is on personality and presence, while the actual cheering is left to the USC Spirit Leaders.
Being a Song Girl is a wonderful experience. It provides a unique opportunity to become a part of the heritage of the University. The world famous Song Girls are instilled with a sense of pride and confidence and gain valuable knowledge about how to work as a team. The friendships they make are an invaluable part of the college experience. These women will always look back upon their years as Song Girls with a remarkable sense of pride.
By Whitney Nelson
USC Song Girl 2000-2003