71. Dave Pizarcoff

20 Oct


Dave Pizarcoff is friendly, fun and full of energy. It’s not hard to imagine him up on stage doing what he loves best – cheerleading.

Dave, who has Down syndrome, has been cheerleading for around five years now and was the first Special Abilities Cheerleader in Australia. He is known within the cheerleading community as Dynamite Dave.

His father, Peter, has been involved in cheerleading since it commenced in Australia. A friend of Peter’s, who is a cheer coach, helped Dave to become involved. The coach spotted Dave, saw how strong he looked and immediately wanted to give Dave a go at the sport.

Peter proudly tells me, “Straight away, on his first day, he was picking up all the girls over his head!”

Dave started out at Cheer Factor, before moving to Atomic Cheerleading. Then, about two and a half years ago, Dave was invited to go over the United States to compete with the Oklahoma Twisters in the National Cheer Association championships, the biggest cheer competition in the world.

Peter says, “There’s about seventeen to eighteen thousand cheerleaders competing in it – it’s huge! Dave was the only non-US Special Abilities Cheerleader to compete in the NCA.”

According to Dave, the experience was “really good”. He also loved having the chance to perform a cheerleading demonstration in Palm Springs.

Now, Dave is busy competing in competitions around Australia.

“I love Championships and Nationals,” says Dave. “I love going in the State Championships in Knox and MSAC.”

Dave has been focusing on stunting, which is “like a one and a half minute showcase of all the cheerleading skills,” says Peter.

Dave competes with his cheerleading partner, Blazing Brittany, in the Special Abilities division.

Dave loves the physical challenges of the sport too. “I lift some of the girls up over my head and I’m happy to be one of the big, strong boys,” says Dave.

“I’ve got a personal trainer and I go to the gym to do weights every Saturday,” he adds.

Thanks to his cheerleading success, Dave has become quite the Australian legend and has even been interviewed by The Project.

“Now all my fans love to take photos!” Dave says with a mischievous grin.

 Dave has around 3,600 followers on Facebook and has done presentations at schools around the state.

 “A lot of kids write to Dave, saying he has been an inspiration and has got them into sport – not necessarily just cheerleading,” says Peter.

“Dave’s hash tag is ‘Be Your Best’. I get a big buzz when kids write to Dave and say they’re getting involved because of what he’s doing.”

Apart from his passion for cheerleading, Dave is also pursuing his other interests. Dave is particularly interested in music and with the help of the Jets organisation, has become an enthusiastic DJ.

When I ask Dave about this, he is quick to show me his customised t-shirt with his DJ name, ‘DJ Dave’, emblazoned upon it.

“I’ve got another DJ name, which is ‘DJ Funk-D’,” Dave says. “My older brother is also a DJ and used to be called ‘DJ Funk-C’, so I’m called Funk-D.”

Banyule Youth Fest, Banyule Arty-Farty Festival, Watermarc Greensborough and the YMCA are just some of the places where Dave has performed. “I enjoy being a DJ at Watermarc,” he says. “When there’s people swimming in the pools, I think they enjoy the music. I had one of them dancing and singing in the pool. It’s good fun.”

Eventually, Dave hopes to play even bigger gigs. “I’d like to do weddings, parties, things like that. I’d like to play in the United States. You’ve got to start somewhere!”

With Dave’s ambition, I have no doubt he will be a hit wherever he plays.

As for his favourite musicians, for Dave there is no question. Dave loves the Australian band, Sheppard.

“I’m going to see them on Saturday!” Dave says excitedly.

The last time Dave saw the band live with his cousins, he was spotted by the band and pulled up on stage. “They got me a t-shirt, that was all signed, and they drew a Dynamite on it,” says Dave.

The band members are fans of Dave’s too, allowing him to use their hit song ‘Geronimo’ in an edited video showcasing Dave and his cheerleading skills.

Peter pulls out his phone to play the video for me and as Geronimo plays, Dave dances along to the catchy song. It is easy to see why the band loves Dave too – he is a straight up, hard-core fan and is not afraid to show it.

At Jets, Dave is also spending time making comedic parodies of his favourite songs.

Dave says, “I got the idea of making parodies from Fitzy and Wippa on Nova. My parodies are based on theirs.”

“That’s how I got my idea. I’ll listen to them and then come up with my own words.”

“In the past I have done Ariana Grande’s song ‘Break Free’. Then I did ‘You should be So Lucky’. I’ve done heaps!” says Dave

Dave is going to continue working on his parodies at Jets. “We’re going to film it on a green screen and edit it on a video editing software.”

Once he finishes recording them, Dave is keen to create a Facebook page dedicated to his videos. When his videos are finalised, Dave and his father plan to upload them to Facebook. Keep your eyes peeled for Dave’s upcoming parodies.

With so many incredible accomplishments under his belt, it is no wonder Dave has now become a mentor for younger kids at Jets. “I get something out of it too,” he says.

If you would like to see what’s up next for this local favourite and internationally recognised cheerleader, then check out his Facebook page here.

Words: Annabelle Pendlebury

Photo: Luca Johns




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