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MAN OF THE HOUSE

Pyramid Scheme
As with her other co-stars, Keena had no high school or college cheerleading experience, something Stewart and Reuther contemplated when casting the five seasoned actresses. "In casting these five, we knew they all had to be in good enough shape to train to become credible cheerleaders,” says Reuther. "When we scouted Austin, we made inquiries as to who in Austin might be able to train the girls. The fact that there was this cheer school there, called Cheer Station, was a huge benefit to us.”

Herek had pondered whether it was better to cast cheerleaders with acting experience or actresses with some physical prowess. "I went back and forth during the casting process. We decided to find good actresses and put them through cheerleading camp. We hired these guys, Brad W. Page and C. Ladd LeBus, who had a gymnasium where the girls spent a couple of hours each day learning the University of Texas cheerleader routines.”

Page and LeBus had previously supervised the cheerleading sequences on the comedy The New Guy. The Baylor graduates (and former cheerleaders themselves) operate a unique company called Cheer Station, which has turned out 161 national cheerleading champions over the years. The duo began their own careers in high school gymnastics and started Cheer Station in 1990 right out of college, according to Page. What began as a private tutor facility at three recreation centers around Austin blossomed into an organization with 600 students who are taught by post-collegiate athletes. LeBus gained distinction as America's first male cheerleader in a national championship competition against 365 other contestants and was the first male to win.

After the duo came on board, they hired some former University of Texas cheerleaders to ensure that the routines were authentic. One of the riskier maneuvers was the university's signature two-and-a-half high pyramid routine. Calling a two-and-a-half pyramid "the legal limit for college cheer stunts,” LeBus describes the formidable routine as "a girl standing on a guy's shoulders with another girl standing on top of her. It looks like it's a three high, but since it's a half body, it's called a two-and-a-half high.”

"We actually did the pyramids!” Garner confirms. "In three or four weeks of cheerleading boot camp, we worked out five hours a day, two with a personal trainer and three hours at cheer camp. It was really hard. We had to go on a diet, which is hard for me because I love food. On the first day we were sitting on the floor and the trainers were showing us everything we would do. I thought they were crazy. But we did it. We got on the pyramids, high in the air and had to cheer balancing on one foot and doing different poses. We also did a basket toss where four guys put their arms together and they throw you up in the air and catch you. I think we all enjoyed that one very much.”

Herek was impressed by the work his actresses put into learning their routines and how effectively they came across. "We literally started with the basics and worked up to acrobatic stunts,” he recalls. "By and large, the girls did 99% of what you see onscreen.”

Milian, who says she's afraid of heights was as skeptical as her fellow actors when they first got underway. "I thought we would have stunt doubles, so I was a bit nervous,” she admits. But I went for it anyway.”

"Christina had done some music videos, so she had pretty good rhythm and was toned,” says Page. "Still, I was amazed that after only four weeks of training she was able to do extended stunts and transitional stunts that only elite athletes do. Her partner was throwing her for a half-twist and holding her with one hand, the kind of maneuver even some current UT athletes can't do.”

"When they first started I was very conservative in my approach,” adds LeBus. "I decided to go slow so they were always comfo

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