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Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto.

Patrick Sweeney / The Arbiter

You say tomato, I say tomahto. You say potato, I say potahto. You say dancer, I say cheerleader. Let’s call the whole thing off.

For years it has been a common occurrence for people to confuse Boise State Cheerleaders and the Boise State Mane Line dancers as the same group. Is there a difference between the two groups though?

Technically they are two separate groups made up of different members, coaches, practice times and their own styles in their performances. However, the purpose behind their performances and their roles on campus are quite

Mane Line Coach Julie Stevens was the cheer and dance coach at Boise State for 28 years before recently putting her energy and focus into being solely the coach of the Mane Line dancers. Stevens said she loved both teams and found it to be a learning experience as she described both groups as hard working, talented and put just as much heart and soul into their performance as any other athlete would.

“The groups are both close and good friends who work to make Boise State better,” Stevens said. “The cheerleaders tumble, stunt, cheer and provide more energy for the crowd. The dancers do sideline cheers but are more technically trained in dance training and provide more entertainment.”

Mane Line dancers are seen at points during football games where cheerleaders are not typically seen. These dancers help support Bronco Nation by dancing to the fight song with the band during the tailgate parade, at the pre-game tunnel as the football players run out, on the sidelines with the cheerleaders and performing at
half time.

“We normally are not confused with the Mane Line dancers, they are mostly mistaken for cheerleaders,” Cheer Coach Christina Moore said. “I believe it is because we are both on the sidelines at football and basketball games and we are both there to support the teams playing.”

This confusion could be because the dancers will sometimes use pompoms during their dances and are seen on the sidelines. Outside the sidelines, the cheer team may also be found in the community working with nonprofits, businesses, schools and the university as well as preparing for a national competition each year.

Cortney Kirkes, senior early childhood education major, has been dancing for 22 years, four of those years being with the Mane Line dancers. She explained how dance and cheer teams get closer when they leave high school and will work together when they perform at school events. Because of this, people tend to confuse the two groups. Kirkes said she doesn’t get upset by this and said they have different goals in the long run even though they will work together to entertain fans at games.

“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Kirkes said. “And at the same time, as much of an entertainment it is for everyone else out there, it’s like a release for us. It’s a way to show our emotion and we just put it all out there.”