It is not something you see every day: scantily clad girls dancing with pompons and the one-on-one football world champion performing at Erasmus Plaza. Along with former boxing champion Marichella de Jong, professional freerunners, Kangoo Jumps and representatives of field hockey clubs, they make up the Campus Sports Day that is part of the Rotterdam Talent Week. This year’s edition (the second edition) is all about diversity and talent development.
Most students crossing the campus to get to the UL or supermarket on Tuesday afternoon have no idea what is going on at the rather cold Erasmus Plaza, which is overshadowed by the Sanders Building. They look around, looking a little baffled, and gradually see more and more fellow students halt to take a look.
What they see is Jeand Doest, the nutmegging world champion, kicking a football between his brave opponents’ legs. Next to him, freerunners are jumping over gym benches. “I just attended a lecture, and I suddenly saw this woman wearing boxing gloves, and a nutmegging cage. So I thought, well, I’ll simply have to join in. It’s cool to chill out here,” says Fiscal Economics student Nidal Talouka, 20.
Dozens of others are standing next to him to watch the football and freerunning show. Talouka: “If I’d known that this event was on, I would have brought my friends, and we all would have nutmegged him.”
A little down the road, dozens of students (mostly male) are enjoying the sight of a group of cheerleaders representing the Erasmus Dance Society. The dancers visibly have goose pimples. “It’s really cold today, but we’ll just keep on moving,” says EDS board member Julie van Putten, 20, who studies Sociology.
The cheerleaders have only trained for a month and a half, and this is the first time they are performing in front of an audience. You would not know it by looking at them. “We are proud to show what we are capable of and what we have been training for. And we love to be watched by other people,” Van Putten continues.
But cheerleading is not just about looking good. “We are not just beautiful, but also very smart. We have to be, in order to remember all those dance moves!” says Econometrics and Economics student Anastasia Kaptusarova, 20. “We have the beauty and the brains.”
Arts and Culture student Raina Georgieva, 21, one of few female spectators watching the cheerleaders, is a little less enthusiastic. “I’m feeling cold just looking at them. They are practically naked!”
She prefers to take her exercise while wearing boxing gloves or Kangoo Jumps, i.e., shoes with springs in them. “I just sat some exams. Boxing and jumping around in these shoes are the perfect activities to help me relax for a bit. The shoes also make my legs longer and thinner.”
Council official and co-organiser Ton Legerstee is glad to see the students so enthusiastic. However, he feels it could be a lot better.
“Rotterdam has a way to go in terms of promoting its talented people, even though we have quite a few of them. The Campus Sports Day will help us create greater recognition of our talented people.”