Cheery business troops along

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Queenstown sisters Emily and Zoe Rutherford are turning their dance moves into pounds.

The pair, along with cousin Estelle Louie, of Dunedin, have set up a cheerleading company, The London Cheerleaders, which performs at events across the United Kingdom.

Emily Rutherford says she and her sister, who have a background in dance, decided to set up the troop after moving to London.

“When I looked at the teams there wasn’t anything of the same standard [as New Zealand]. So we decided we would start one.”

Although only up and running for a year they have already had considerable success including performances at corporate gigs, rugby and cricket matches.

They performed at the FA Cup football match between Manchester United and Cambridge United as well as appearances on popular UK TV shows BBC’s The One Show and Sky Sports’ Soccer AM.

Rutherford used skills from her marketing degree to set up the business.

“The first year we just wanted to put ourselves out there and get some experience. In our second year we can focus on money and endorsements – with our experience we will be able to get better deals. This is the transition bit.”

Rutherford, who is home in Queenstown for an extended holiday, explains more money can be made by getting uniform sponsors. The sponsors pay for the publicity and it builds the company’s reputation.

The beauty knows it’s not all about paperwork – her girls have to look the part.

“Appearance is all part of it, we are playing a role. You are not going to want to watch a cheerleader with a huge gut. All [girls] are fit and healthy and a relatable size – no one is too skinny.”

The troop bases its style on US Football’s Dallas Cowboys cheer squad. It isn’t 100 per cent about looks, she says – her girls have to be good dancers, “girls in great shape along with great personalities”.

Rutherford’s got expansion plans. She’s keen to introduce male dancers to the squad and wants to create a kids programme in the future.

“With kids it is really important to keep them active. I grew up doing ballet and loved it – dancing is a way of keeping healthy.”

louises@scene.co.nz