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Number #1 Rule of Marching

Always look GREAT!

Commitment usually means: giving up convenience, going the extra mile, inviting personal discomfort, embracing confrontation, sacrificing instant gratification for the mission at hand. There are no miracle solutions. Excellence is achieved through commitment!

To Excel To excel is to continually perform. Not for a moment or moments Not for a day or days But to perform day after day Month after month after month To make the uncommon performance Look commonplace To excel is to take the inner drive Of competition and not only embrace it But master it It is no wonder then, that when one Truly excels, one is known for excellence It cannot be taught, or legislated, or Willed into existence It must come from The very depths of an Individuals desire To be the best

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Table of Contents

Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………… Physical Conditioning ……………………………………………………………………. What you need to know for auditions …………………………………………… Posture- The Hindu Exercise ………………………………………………….………… Standing, Hands and Arms ……………………………………………………………… Standby position ………………………………………………………………………… Mark Time ………………………………………………………………………………… High Mark Time …………………………………………………………………………… Forward Marching …………………………………………………………………………

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Step outs/ First Step …………………………………………………… Backwards Marching ……………………………………………………

……….……… Halting ……………………………………………………………………………….….…… Slides ………………………………………………………………………………………… Horn Angles ………………………………………………………………………………… Crabbing …………………………………………………………………………….……… Direction Changes …………………………………………………………………

……. Figure 8 Block ……………………………………………………………………………… Figure 8 with Backward Slide ……………………………………………………………

Direction Change of 180 degrees, Re-steps, Stop and Go’s……………………….

Dance Elements …………………………………………

………………………………. Dance Terminology ………………………………………………………………………. Circle Drill …………………………………………………………………………………. 2017 Bluecoats Rehearsal Technique …………………………………………………

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Introduction

Welcome to the 2017 Bluecoats Marching Technique Handbook. We are going to have a wonderful journey together through the 2017 DCI season. We, as a staff, are very excited about the opportunity to teach you. We are excited to build upon the excellence here at the Bluecoats

Any marching program is about definitions. We, the staff, define everything from how to hold our equipment, how to step, how to rehearse and so on. You, the member, need to show that you have a complete understanding of those definitions and execute them in time perfectly.

There are two ways to learn, cognitively and tactilely. When we define something within our program you learn it cognitively. We then run exercises so that you may learn the definition tactilely. We learn tactilely much slower than we do cognitively.

When we are being adjudicated the adjudicators sample small groups and compare one performer to the next. They are trained to sample groups of five performers at a time. They look for what is the same and what is different. If the sampling of performers is all-consistent with their definitions it is clear to the adjudicator and they will comment positively. If there are variations in the definitions then the adjudicator will comment negatively.

You are accountable for the definitions that you are given. You are accountable to demonstrate them at all times. You are accountable for your performance. You are accountable for preparing for rehearsals. This not only includes daily rehearsals but the behind the scenes work you must perform in the winter between camps.

Your performance must be the best in the world.

This includes knowing the information regarding your performance intimately i.e. memorizing your co ordinates. We will uphold your accountability. You will at times feel pressure from the staff to maximize your performance. Our goal is for you to maximize your potential as an individual and our potential as a group. To go beyond what you believe you are capable of you need positive, direct coaching.

Performing as a member of the Bluecoats is the highest performance level you will ever achieve in pageantry. You came to the Bluecoats because this drum corps’ performances have made an impression upon you. You came here to be part of the excellence of this group. You are expected to have a commitment and work ethic beyond anyone else in DCI.

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Physical Conditioning

The importance of physical conditioning cannot be understated. Drum corps is neither sport nor art. It is both. You must be physically strong and have great cardiovascular strength to participate at your fullest. You must be fit for your body type.

Someone who is not ready physically when the corps moves in to spring training will not perform to their best. When we do not perform to our best, we are not the best. We are here to be the best in DCI.

When someone arrives at spring training and they are not ready physically they are more likely to get injured. When injured you are unable to participate in rehearsals. When you cannot participate in rehearsals we are not getting better as a drum corps. If you become injured then an alternate will begin to learn you spot. This puts stress on you because you become concerned about losing your position in the drum corps. You will also feel the pressure of your peers to be out on the field participating. This can also be very stressful.

Being fit and strong allows you to participate in rehearsals. When you participate in rehearsals we get better as a drum corps. When we get better as a drum corps we have competitive success. This all leads to you having the experience at the Bluecoats that you want to have.

Get fit, Get Strong.

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What do you need to know for auditions?

The more of an understanding you have of our Visual program when you audition the better. We do understand that this handbook is quite thorough and it can feel over whelming to try and learn so much information. You will not need to know everything in this book when you audition. We do strongly recommend that you understand the following at you audition.

- The Hindu exercise (posture)

- Instrument carriage at a carry and at a playing position

- Mark Time

- High Mark Time

- Rehearsal Technique. For your audition you will learn a short drill excerpt. When learning the excerpt we will exercise the rehearsal technique.

- Forward technique

- Backward technique

- Re-step direction change

- Jazz run both in plié and releve

Dance

- Ballet positions

- Passe

- Over/under curves

- Lunge

- Tendu

- Demi Plie

- Grand Plie

- Chasse

- Forced Arch

- Ground roll

- Scorpion kick

There are videos to support each of these techniques on our Bluecoat Strong Auditioner Facebook Page. If you haven’t joined that page please do so.

Good Luck!

The Bluecoats Visual Staff

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Posture The Hindu Exercise

Posture

1. The relative disposition of the parts of something.

2. The position of the limbs or the carriage of the body as a whole: poor posture; a sitting

posture.

3. A mental or spiritual attitude: His ideas reveal a defensive posture.

Posture (psychology) - In humans, posture can provide a significant amount of important information on nonverbal communication and emotional cues.

We all have different body types and we all stand differently. The Hindu posture exercise is an exercise that creates uniformed posture throughout all body types. The Hindu breaks down one individuals’ posture and re-builds a uniformed look amongst a performing ensemble.

Posture is as fundamentally important to marching as breathing and air usage is on a wind instrument. Before we can look great on the move we must look great standing still

We have 6 points of reference within the Hindu exercise.

These references points are :

1.Ear

2.Shoulders

3.Ribcage

4.Hips

5.Knees

6.Ankle

Your ankle is the base that all other reference points are built upon. The desired posture is having these six points aligned vertically in a straight line. When these six points are aligned your ideal Hindu posture is created.

In the following picture, performer 1 exhibits strong Hindu posture, with the six points in line. Performer 2 exhibits poor posture- his six points are not vertically aligned

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(1)

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(2)

(1) ! ! (2) 
 
 Why is this important? 1 ) Performer 1 looks better.

Why is this important?

1) Performer 1 looks better. He is as tall as possible, creating a much greater “performance quality” or “presence.” It is important for the performer to be as tall as possible since the audience may be far away. (For example, a plume is intended to make the performer appear taller. However, a plume is not a substitute for proper posture.)

2) Performer 1’s posture will make simultaneously moving and playing much easier. His body is much more balanced and stable.

3) The most common error in aligning the five points is having the hips too far forward (like Performer 2)

4)

5) Standing with Performer 1’s posture is an unfamiliar and uncomfortable feeling for most people.

6) The performer must maximize the distance between the head and the ankles. The further away these two points are, the taller they will become

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Exercise breakdown

When we start the Hindu we start from what we will call the "set position". At the "set position" your feet will be slightly outside shoulder width, your middle finger will be on the steam of your pants and you need to find a focal point with your eyes. Your focal point should be in front of your face just above the horizon. Do not look at the ground or up towards the sky/ ceiling. Your eyes are also a very important part of body language. You need to focus solely on your focal point and do not look around. This will communicate focus and determination.

The Hindu is done in 4 count phrases.Counts 1-4 Head to Chest - At the end of these four counts your chin should touch your chest and you should feel a stretch in the back of your neck.

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Counts 5-8 Shoulders back, back and up, forward and up, forward and down. At the end of these four counts you should feel a stretch between your shoulder blades. Your wrists should be crossed cross each other. Your chin should still be to your chest.

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Counts 9-12 Upper back/rib cage - In these four counts you roll your vertebrae forward from your shoulders down to the bottom of your ribcage. At this point you should feel a "good hurt" just below your shoulder blades. Wrists are crossed; chin is to your chest. You are not looking around.

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Counts 13-16 lower back - In these 4 counts you relax your lower back. You should be hanging over your waist. Your chin will lose contact with your chest and your wrists should become uncrossed. Be Relaxed.

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Counts 17-20 Release the hips - At this point you be relaxed hanging. Knees should be slightly bent. Head should be hanging. Arms are hanging. Relax your tongue within your mouth. Breathe deeply. With each breath feel your lower back expand. With each exhalation fall towards the ground and relax more.

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Now we will reverse the breakdown and align body parts on top of each other. We have broken down your posture. Now we will create Hindu posture.

Counts 1-4 Straighten legs. Your knee point should straighten onto your base point and your hips will align onto your knee point.

Counts 5-8 Lower back onto hips on knees on ankle point

Counts 9-12 Rip cage onto lower back on hips on knees on ankle point

Counts 13-16 Roll your shoulders forward and up, back and up, back and down middle finger aligning to the steam of your pants. Your shoulders will become aligned onto your rib cage

Counts 17-20 Bring your head back up. This will align your ear point onto your shoulders. Find you focal point. Stare at it. It is important

Counts 21-24 on your own bring your feet together, heels and toes touching. DO NOT FIDGET!!!

We are creating muscle memory. You must learn the physical feeling of Hindu posture. If you fidget at any point of the exercise you lose muscle memory thus taking away from everything we have done.

Counts 25-28 Rise up onto your platforms and gain maximum height. Ankles together.

Counts 29-32 Reach towards the sky in 8 counts. On count 4 your arms will be half way with your palms facing down. This will lift your rib cage off your lower back/ trunk area. Arms move up in a half circle, fully extending out through your fingertips. Keep the shoulders relaxed and do not them to raise with tension.

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Counts 33-36 Bring your arms down for 8 counts leaving rib cage raised and relaxed. Arms move down in a half circle, fully extending out through your fingertips.

Counts 37-40 Lower yourself down onto heels and seek to maintain the same height you had when you where on your platforms. Seek to stretch your spine towards the ceiling

Counts 41-44 Raise horn to playing position

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When your horn is up to playing position your palms should not touch your horn. Hold the horn with your fingertips. This will create more space in your triangle. Your triangle is the shape your arms take when your horn is up at the playing position. Your right hand should make a backwards C. The weight of the horn is held by your left hand up to your left shoulder. Your bell should be up at a 15-degree angle. We perform to people in football stadiums. We want them to hear you playing. At the Bluecoats we stand with our feet in first position.

Have your weight 60% on your platforms and 40 % on your heels. All steps come for the platforms. By having 60% of the body weight on the platforms it allows us to better push to count one.

Have all your Hindu posture points in alignment.

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Common tenancies and things to look for: -Lack of definitive starts and stops. Use all counts when breaking down/-aligning points. Be smooth in your movements. Use all the space and time you are given.

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Make sure you understand where each point starts and stops.

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Poor positioning of hands on equipment at end of exercise

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Improper embouchure set-ups

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Chins facing the ground

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Tight and raised shoulders and tension

Food for Thought

93% of the way we communicate is non-verbally (body language and tone of voice). An audience will see you and base an opinion on you from the way you look coming onto the field. What is your body language communicating about you?

base an opinion on you from the way you look coming onto the field. What is

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Standing

Given that the performer is standing with the six points of alignment- when the performer stands with his/her ankles on the dot, the other four points in vertical alignment will be directly over the dot. This is most desirable and disregards any discrepancies. People have different foot sizes; so standing on the dot with any other part of the foot will create variations.

Hands/ Arms

For the attention position, without instruments, the marching performers are to hold their

left hand out in front of their nose at a comfortable distance (or about 4 fist lengths). Their left hand will cover their right (so brass players can recreate fingerings while marching). This is a preferred method. The angle of the forearms and elbows should be slightly greater than 45 degrees, to ensure that the performer does not collapse their upper body and elbows into their instrument. Keeping the forearms and elbows open also makes the performer appear larger- as shown in pictures A and B- with the elbows covering a greater horizontal distance and greater surface area of the chest exposed.

(A)

covering a greater horizontal distance and greater surface area of the chest exposed. (A) ( B

( B )

covering a greater horizontal distance and greater surface area of the chest exposed. (A) ( B
covering a greater horizontal distance and greater surface area of the chest exposed. (A) ( B

Alternative angle

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Standby Position

In the “Stand By” position, the performer is to stand with proper six points of alignment. Their hands and arms are to be relaxed down to their sides. Their feet should be in first position.

Mark Time

The purpose of the Mark time is to establish strong timing in the feet. Strong time is the bonding of music and marching. Everyone must have their feet in time and learn how the rhythms relate to their feet. If this happens then we all play and move in time together.

We don’t always have the opportunity to march and play. Marking time gives the marcher the sensation of marching while standing on the spot.

The initiation of the mark time starts on 4& when the tempo is 132bpm or lower. If the tempo goes above 132bpm then the initiation starts on 4.

On the initiation the left heel comes up until only the platform is left on the ground. This will also have the heel meet the height of the opposite anklebone. The left knee should bend at this point.

On count 1 the left heel comes down. The moment the left heel makes contact with the ground the right heel goes up,

On 1& the right heel raises to the platform and the right knee bends.

On count 2 the right heel touches the ground. Once the right heel touches the ground the left heel rises to the platform and the left knee bends.

You should think of your weight as being rested at slower tempos. The weight will be placed on the one foot that has complete contact with the ground and the opposite foots platform. The marcher should not bob side to side when they mark time. The upper body must be fluid.

At a faster tempo you should have your weight towards the front of the feet/platforms. This will keep the your weight less rested. This makes it easier for you to mark time at a faster tempo.

Common tenancies and things to look for:

The knee does not stop when the opposite heel hits the ground. You should always be in motion.

Don’t let motion become rigid.

Make sure the height of foot rises to the platform. After time a marchers feet tend to fall lower and lower.

Don’t have lazy feet!!!

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Moving: General Statements about the marching technique-

1) Tension is a marching performer’s worst enemy. The performers are to use only the muscles required to perform their given task. The performers should not engage muscles that do not help them. 2) When moving and taking the first step, it is crucial that the performers maintain their six points of alignment. A common tendency for performers’ is to skew and bend the six points of alignment. More fundamental errors will arise from this. 3) The technique in this handbook features a long leg marching technique. The long leg creates maximum efficiency in movement, decreases variables from performer to performer, and maximizes the performers’ height.

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High Mark Time

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Purpose:

High mark time is used to develop several skills critical to our movement program. Within this exercise we will explore its execution based on timing, balance, separation of the upper body from the lower body, controlling of body weight, and moving evenly through time and space. These skills are critical for the expected excellent execution of our technique.

Goals for execution:

1. Timing - interpretation equal across all beats, demonstrated via visual checkpoints.

2. Posture - maintaining posture as described via “Hindu” exercise (demonstrating knowledge of which points of alignment are stacked or broken during exercise); balance between active and passive body parts, demonstrating a skilled control through the body parts via separation and malleability.

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The exercise: High mark time begins in closed-first position with instruments at carry or playing

The exercise:

High mark time begins in closed-first position with instruments at carry or playing position. This exercise will be done using a variety of count structures to allow for optimal understanding in its performance and function.

“Fours” This exercise moves in motions of 4’s, where the legs/feet lift up in four counts and lowered the next four. Each leg creates an 8-count phrase. The checkpoints are as follows:

1. Counts 1 + 2: “Up and off” - The foot peels off of the ground, similar to the roll step, to the platform, at which point the platform (and thus entire foot) is lifted above the ground on count 2. The foot will be pointed by count 2.

2. Counts 3-4: The entire leg travels in the upward motion, with the ankle traveling alongside the stable leg. Feet are pointed. Only the knee is broken from alignment.

The upward motion continues exponentially towards count 5.

3. Counts 5-7: The entire leg travels in the downward motion, with the ankle traveling alongside the stable leg. Feet are still pointed, knee still broken from alignment.

4. Counts 8-1: “Touch-Roll” - The platform engages the ground on count 8 (touch), and the foot rolls down to the heal through the “and” count (roll).

5. The exercise is then repeated on the opposite foot on the simultaneous count 1.

“Ones” This exercise is similar in motion to the Fours, but each leg moves in one-count phrases. The checkpoints are as follows:

1. Initiation: On the 8-beat preparatory count-off, the left leg will initiate on count 8, and travel to the upward position to the peak position on the “and” of 8. The ankle moves in alignment with the stable leg, feet are pointed. The middle of the ankle will go up to the performer’s knee of the stable leg.

2. Count 1: The left leg is placed onto the ground, with emphasis on the weight being over the platform (“shoelaces”). The motion is technically a roll, but happens too fast to define into counts.

3. Count 1+: The right leg will be at the peak position - ankle in line with the stable leg and knee, feet pointed, etc.

4. Count 2: The right leg is placed onto the ground, similar to the left.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 until called to a halt. Halts will be called in

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placed onto the ground, similar to the left. 5 . Repeat steps 1-4 until called to

tempo: “Ready (click) Halt (click) (close) - Wherein the performer’s left foot articulates when “ready” and “Halt” are called, as well as the closing of the feet.

the performer’s left foot articulates when “ready” and “Halt” are called, as well as the closing

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the performer’s left foot articulates when “ready” and “Halt” are called, as well as the closing

Forward Marching

When teaching the first step, it is important to notify the performers that they are not “stepping” forward; rather they are “moving” forward. All movement is pushing. All of the performers six points of alignment must move simultaneously. They need to “push” their weight forward. All movement is pushing. Performers will step with the left foot first.

When taking the first step forward, the most common tendency is to do just that- STEP forward, leaving the upper body behind. This causes the six points of alignment to become skewed (the head and shoulders fall behind the hips).

The picture below depicts where the body begins (in yellow) and where the body ends on beat 1 (red). Notice how the hips, shoulders, and head move forward. Notice how the heel of the right foot slightly lifts and moves forward while the right knee is pulled back. If this does not happen, the six points of alignment will not move forward in unison.

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When the left leg moves forward, the entire right leg must be engaged to push the entire body forward. This is especially true for the thigh and quad muscles.

The initiation and push of the weight must begin prior to beat one in order for the left foot to land on beat 1. The initiation of the first step starts on 4& under 132bpm. If the tempo is higher than 132bpm, then the initiation starts on count 4. 23

The following pictures depict two crucial parts of the foot involved in marching. The part in red is the platform and part in yellow is the heel.

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When taking the first step, the platform of the right foot is too be firmly planted into the ground when pushing forward. Since the right leg pushes the body forward and the platform is in contact with the ground the platform is what pushes all of the body weight. When holding the step, as in the picture below, the performers weight is centered between the feet.

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When the left foot moves forward, it is crucial to keep the heel of the left foot as close to the ground as possible to achieve a long leg. If the left heel comes up, the left leg will bend. A bent leg does not achieve a long leg shape. When moving the left foot forward, the performer must maximize the distance between the hips and the ankles- just like in the six points of alignment. Maximizing the space between two points (hips and heels) creates a longer line.

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Your feet should cross during the “and” counts. During this checkpoint your forward leg should move straight below your body. The leg passing through should be slightly bent, 10%, to clear the ground. The marcher should keep their heels as low to the ground as possible. The toes should be flexing to start establishing the roll step.

Maximizing the space between two points (hips and heels) creates a longer line.

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As the left heel moves forward with the foot, the toes are to be “flexed” and lifted so that when the left foot lands, a person standing in front can clearly see the platform.

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Lifting the toes as high as possible and exposing as much of the bottom of the foot as possible makes the performer appear larger. However, performers often sacrifice a long leg shape and the six points of alignment for higher toes.

High toes are not as important as a long leg shape and the six points of alignment since the legs are much larger body parts and the five points of alignment are fundamentally crucial.

Step outs/ First Step

The most important step in any visual phrase is the first step. The first step determines pace size within a drill set. If the first step is too big or too small then the remaining paces will be inconsistent to finish the move. The first step must also be taken in the correct path. If the first step is not taken in the correct path then the remaining steps must compensate to make the correction. Most importantly the first step breaks inertia and starts momentum

in· er · tia

( ! -nûr ! sh !
( ! -nûr ! sh !

( ! -nûr! sh !

)

n.

1. Physics. The tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force.

2. Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change

Learning to break the inertia threshold is a skill. Naturally when we walk we break the inertia threshold by leaning forward until momentum is achieved. When we march we want to fight this tendency of leaning forward. Our goal is to increase pace size using the legs while eliminating leaning.

All movement is pushing

The initiation of the first step starts on 4& under 132bpm. If the tempo is higher than 132bpm, then the initiation starts on count 4.

When we take our first step we want to push ourselves forward with the opposite foot than the step out foot. If we lead with our left foot then our right foot pushes. You should push your weight from your platform.

You should lead with the core of your body or trunk area. Make sure you are pushing your weight with each step. We never mark time into a step out in a performance. Therefore we will never practice a mark time into a step out/first step.

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Tendencies to look out for:

At no time does the knee need to bend.

Do not lock your knees.

Do not bend the pushing legs knee.

Do not confuse straight legs with tension.

When you are relaxed you have less friction; with less friction movement is more fluid.

We do not walk down the center of our foot naturally. During the exercise you should think of pushing your big toe towards the ground. Your natural tendency would be to have your outside platform point closer to the ground then the point under your big toe.

Make sure the weight is transferred from one foot to the other. All movement is pushing!!!

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Backwards Marching

When marching backwards, the same concepts apply from forward marching:

- Maintaining the six points of alignment

- A long leg shape, maximizing the distance between the heels and the hips

- Keeping low heels

- Engaging and pushing from the stationary leg

- Initiating properly

When marching backwards, the most common tendency is to lead with the shoulders, causing poor alignment of the six points.

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It is crucial to think about leading with the back of the left knee when taking the first step backwards. And, just like in forward marching, it is crucial to move and push all the six points of alignment with the right leg. All of the force is directed down into the right platform, and the entire leg is engaged, especially the thighs and quad muscles.

The initiation of the step starts on 4 if the tempo is 132bpm or higher. If the tempo is below 132bpm the initiation is on 4&. As we push towards count we want to rise on a 45-degree angle to our platforms.

The entire left leg through the platform will touch the ground on beat one. On count 1 you should raised up to both platforms with both heels off the ground. Your center of body is between your legs as with the forward march. Find a comfortable medium height while standing on your platforms. If you are too high then you cannot maintain your balance.

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As a checkpoint your ankles should pass on 1&. Your count 1 foot should be straight from your hip checkpoint through the knee checkpoint to the ankle/base checkpoint. This leg is pushing your body over top of it. As the opposite is moving towards count 2, you must relax your foot. This will allow your leg to clean the ground. As you move backwards your legs do not need to bend. Do not lock your knees. On count 2 your right foot makes contact with the ground. Your weight again is centered between your legs.

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Your weight again is centered between your legs. ! ! A common error in backwards marching

A common error in backwards marching is to go too high on the platforms. Maximizing height should not come from lifting the heels as high off the ground as possible. Marching too high on the platforms will likely result in instability causing lack of balance and/or bouncing. Keeping a large surface area of the platform on the ground is crucial in preventing high heels. They heels should stay as low to the ground as possible.

The picture on the right is not ideal for backwards marching

They heels should stay as low to the ground as possible. The picture on the right
They heels should stay as low to the ground as possible. The picture on the right

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Halting

Halting on the Forward March

When marching forward for an 8-count move, the right platform will be placed just in front of the dot to ensure that the ankles will be on the dot. On count 1, after 8, the left ankle will meet the right ankle above the dot. The step on count 8 should be the same size as the previous 7 steps.

Just like in the initiation, all of the weight and force will go into the right platform. From beat 8 to 1, it is crucial that the performer feels the weight go into the right platform and feels the right heel slowly release down to the ground.

When halting forward, it is crucial to keep the six points aligned from count 7 to 8 to 1. A common tendency is to allow the shoulders to fall behind the hips from beat 8 to 1, causing the lower body to reach the dot before the upper body. All five points of alignment need to reach the dot simultaneously. To avoid the shoulders falling behind the hips, it is crucial that the performer lifts UP. Lifting up from the shoulders will maximize the distance between the hips, sternum, and head. This will create a straight line and prevent the six point of alignment from becoming skewed. Another way to approach this action is to focus on elongating the spine- maximizing the space between each vertebra.

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We halt with our platform first because we want to stop our inertia. The performer should think long when they halt. The performer should seek to lengthen the distance from their ankle to their ear points. The performer should think of sending their energy through their head towards the sky when they halt.

Halting on the Backward March

All of the above applies to backwards halting except the common tendency of the six points of alignment. In backwards halting, the most common tendency is for the hips to fall in front of the hips from beats 7 to 8 to 1. It is crucial that the shoulders remain directly over the hips during these counts.

To avoid the shoulders falling in front of the hips during beats 7,8, and 1, the performer must lift up (achieve maximum distance between the head and ankles, creating the longest line possible, NOT FROM THE HEELS!) and feel the weight go into the right platform.

The performer should think long when they halt. The performer should seek to lengthen the distance from their ankle to their ear points. The performer should think of sending their energy through their head towards the sky when they halt.

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Slides

A slide occurs when the upper body is not facing the same direction as the feet. From the heels all the way up to the shoulders, the body goes into a rotation anywhere up to a maximum of 90 degrees. Each point of alignment between the heels and the shoulders will undergo specific tendencies that need to be addressed individually. It is crucial that the six point of alignment remain vertically aligned to create a straight line. The performer should always think of being long and tall.

The purpose of a slide is to get the shoulders around as much as possible is to expose as much of the chest and upper body as possible. This makes the performer appear larger. The hips must go halfway for the shoulders to go the full desired distance. For example, if the performer is marching on a 90 degrees slide then the hips must be at 45 degrees. The shoulders will not get to their desired angle without the hips going halfway.

Sliding to the left:

angle without the hips going halfway. Sliding to the left: 1 ) T h e heels

1)The heels are to stay firmly planted on the ground at all times. The heels are the foundation of the slide- the knees, hips, and shoulders need to remain vertically aligned directly above the heels during the slide.

2)The knees will undergo some rotation during the slide. When sliding to the left, the right knee will come forward slightly and the left knee will go back slightly. This is normal and needs to occur. However, the knees should not bend- both legs should remain straight and solid.

should not bend- both legs should remain straight and solid. 3) When performing a slide to

3) When performing a slide to the left, it is important to think about pulling the left hip back and pushing the right hip forward. The opposite applies to a right slide.

The shoulders are to be at a full 90 angle to the feet. The slight rotation of the knees and larger rotation of the hips will make getting the shoulders to this angle much easier. It is crucial to rotate the hips to achieve full rotation of the shoulders. (The performer can also focus on turning the belly button as far to the left as possible)

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Slides: On the move

The natural and undesired tendencies for marching forward or backwards are amplified when performing a slide on the move, especially regarding the un-alignment of the five points. When practicing the first step with slides, it is important that the performers stand in a “T.” This will easily expose the natural bad tendencies.

In this exercise, it is clearly visible when the five points become un-aligned.

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To maintain flat shoulders when marching the performer should always think to push back the opposite shoulder back then the direction they are traveling. If moving on a forward right slide the performer should think of pushing the left shoulder back. If traveling on a forward left slide then the performer should think of pushing the right should back. If moving on a backward right slide the performer should think of pushing the left shoulder back. If traveling on a backward left slide then the performer should think of pushing the right should back. The tendency for the performer is to under rotate their shoulders. Remember the hips must go halfway for the shoulders to go all the way.

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Horn Angles

The brass players’ horn angles are crucial. Their horns need to be at a 15-degree angle. This allows sounds to travel directly to more audience members. Our stage is a football field and this is a very, very large stage. Performers must overly project themselves to the audience to come across. Performers should always think of projecting their chest to audience. Performers must maintain a large triangle with their instrument carriage. Performers must keep their palms off the instrument to increase the size of their triangle. Always think long and to the sky with you posture. Take up space when you perform.

Success, real success, in any endeavor demands more from an individual than most people are willing to offer - not more than they are capable of offering.”

James Roche

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Crabbing

The crab step is used in a direction other than straight forward or straight backwards. Some

elements of the crab step will remain the same, regardless of the angle or direction your body

is facing. This technique is similar to backwards technique, in that your heels remain off the

ground at all times. The shoulders must stay parallel to your hips at all times. One must learn to control the pelvis in order to maintain the best platform from which the instrument can be played. The steadier your instrument, the better the sound and the easier it will become to articulate a musical phrase.

When a performer carries a drum, they cannot allow the weight of the drum and carrier to affect their drumming. They must have “freedom of hands.” To accomplish this, members of the battery must think of getting the drum off their hips. They should think of filling up the chest

area of the carrier. This will allow the drum to hang instead of having the drum sit on their hips.

A drummer has two main concerns while marching. First is to control their drum, second is to

have “freedom of hands.” Both of these are achieved by getting the drum off the hips as much as possible.

Our goal for the crab step is to produce a uniform visual presentation while maintaining an appropriate facing (angle of body to the front sideline) and playing surface for musical purposes. The visual program will enhance, not interfere, with the musical presentation if done with the appropriate technique. It is crucial that correct posture is never neglected, for both musical and visual reasons.

Crabbing to the left

There are two different steps while crabbing. They are the open step and the crossed step where the open step is able to extend over a larger distance. If the first step of crabbing is to the left, it is an open step (assuming count 1 is on the left foot). The left leg should not step straight across. Instead, it should step back on a 30-degree angle. After the first step the left platform is on the ground and parallel to the right anklebone. This will allow the second step to cross over the left foot. When we walk most of us have a natural turn out to our feet. If the marcher turns their feet out slightly this will give more support to the ankle and reduce the chance of injury. The performer on count 1 should have the body weight centered between the feet up on the platforms. While crossing legs, the performer should think about keeping the thighs close together and keeping the hips parallel to reduce the movement of the hips into the harness. This will keep them on a straight path as well as maximize the extended step. On count 2, the right leg should be crossed in front of the left leg with the body weigh centered between the feet. On count 3, the feet open with the left platform crossing under the right heel. These counts are repeated until the performer arrives at a halt.

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Crabbing to the right

When the performers’ first step is to the right, again assuming a left foot lead step off, we will utilize a prep step to get started. On count 4, the right foot should move back and out the way for the left foot. Initiation of travel should still occur on count 4 or the and of 4 depending on the tempo. By count 1, both feet should be on the platform with the left leg crossed in front. On count 2 the left leg should be crossed in front of the right leg with the body weigh centered between the feet. On count 3 the feet open with the right platform crossing under the left heel. These counts are repeated until the performer arrives at a halt.

Crabbing with direction changes

Right to Left Stop and Go’s:

All weight must be stopped one count prior to the completion of the phrase by your left foot. While keeping your left leg straight, allow your right foot to pass and continue on to the last count into a tendu position. Your left foot should be flat on the ground. All of your weight remains over the left leg. Your right foot touches the ground in the same step size and path as the previous move. There is no movement on count one. Your right foot moves on the and of count 1 and contacts the ground on count 2 after it has crossed in front of your left foot. On count 2, your right foot should be in the correct step size and path for the next visual phrase.

Left to Right Stop and Go’s:

All of your weight is stopped one beat prior to the completion of the phrase on your left foot. Your right foot does not cross over your left, but does touch directly in front of (or behind, depending on the angle of the move) your left foot. Your feet should form a straight line as if walking on a tight wire. Your left foot should be flat on the ground with all of your weight remaining over your left leg. There is no movement on count one of the direction change. Your right foot moves on the and of count 1 and contacts the ground on count 2. On count two, your right foot should be in the correct step size and path for the next visual phrase.

Stop and go's or Touch and go’s are an important part of the visual program because they occur at the end of one phrase and the beginning of the next. Understanding the changes that occur in step size and path from one move to the next becomes crucial in maintaining clarity during any visual phrase. Clarity in the visual phrase will support clarity in the musical phrase.

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Direction Changes

During a performance performers will at times be required to perform direction changes. A direction change is when there is a path change from coordinate to coordinate. Ideally you want to make direction changes as smooth as possible. A hard direction change can lead to

injury. Direction changes are different for wind players then the marching battery. We will break down direction in 2 ways

1. Direction changes of 90 degrees or less

2. Direction changes of 180 degrees

For most direction changes of 90 degrees or less the quick rule is you want the last count to be half way from where you’re coming to where you’re going.

For instance if a performer is going forward for 8 steps and then directly to the left (90 degrees) in a forward march then count 8 would be on a 45 degree angle to the left 45. This allows count 1 of the second move (to the left) to be in the new path. This is also makes the transition from forward to the left a smooth one. If the performer is going into a backwards march then the half way point (45 degree angle) will be to the right. If there is a hip switch during the direction change then the direction change will take 2 counts and this usually pertains to direction changes go 180 degrees.

Direction Change Exercise – Figure 8 block

To define and work on direction changes the exercise we use is the figure 8 blocks. There are two 45-degree angles to define The left 45 (picture) The right 45 (picture)

Set up you students in a block. We will create a figure 8 by going (in 8 count phrases) forward, left, backwards, right, forward, right, backwards, left. Let us start with forward slides.

Start by moving forward for 8 counts. On count 8 have the right foot on a 45-degree angle to the left 45. We will refer to this as a placement. This sets up count 1 to the left. The left (count 1) leg then cuts the corner with the left heel in line with the right ankle on count 1. Make sure the left foot is pointing on a 90-degree angle. The tendency is for the foot to point on less than a 90-degree angle. This will take the performer out of their path and will result in them being pulled out of the shape.

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Now we move on a left slide for 8 counts. On count 8 have the right foot points to the left 45- degree angle. Count 1 will cut the corner behind the performer setting us up for count 1 going backwards. On count 1 the left platform will line up with the right ankle.

Take 8 counts backwards and on count 8 have the have the placement on a right 45-degree angle. On count 1 the leg cuts the corner towards the 90-degree angle to the right. Keep the thighs close together. Here the performer will want to cut the 90-degree angle short, again taking them out of their proper path. Have the toe point on the 90-degree angle on count 1.

We are now moving to the right on a slide. The placement on count 8 should be to the right 45- degree angle. The toes should be parallel to one another. Count 1 cuts the corner and heads forward.

After moving forward for 8 counts the placement should be to the right 45-degree angle. The left leg will move around the right towards our right slide. Keep the thighs as close together as possible. This count 1 is the largest due to the left leg having to go around the right leg. We want the left toe on that 90-degree angle.

We move to right for 8 counts. Our placement here in on the right 45 degree angle. The left leg again cuts the corner and starts to head backwards.

Next we take 8 counts backing up. On count 8 have the placement on the right 45-degree angle.

After moving to the left for 8 counts you can halt or have the placement on the right 45 to repeat the exercise. It is important to note that all the placements should be on the platform. Rolling through the step can slow the performer down. Placing with just the platform is a stronger way to control the body weight.

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Figure 8 block with backward slides

The quick rule of half waypoint for direction changes doesn’t always apply when marching backwards. Most of the direction changes are different due to the hips facing a different direction.

For the backwards figure 8 we will by going backwards, to the left, forward, to the right, backwards, to the right, forward, to the left and backwards to a halt all in 8 count segments.

Move backward for 8 counts. On count 8 the placement will be on the right 45. This is due to the hips facing the opposite direction than the forward slide.

We now move to the left on a backwards slide for 8 counts. On count 8 the placement will be on the right 45. This sets up the ski line for our forwards move.

Next we move forward for 8 counts. Our next placement will be on the left 45. For count 1 make sure to keep the thighs close together and to point the leg heel on the 90-degree angle. It is natural to want to cut this angle short.

After moving to the left for 8 counts, the count 8 placement will be on the right 45. We are now moving straight backwards.

Our next count 8 placement is on the right 45. This placement can also be 90 degrees. This allows count 1 to move straight forward.

After moving forward for 8 counts our next placement is to the right 45 before heading backwards to the left.

After moving backwards to the left our next placement is to the right 45. Now the left leg must swing around the right to set up in the skyline to go straight back. This step requires adenoidal energy, as it is larger than the paces we have been taking thus far.

We now move straight back for 8 counts into a halt.

These figure 8 blocks cover all 45-degree direction changes that a performer will come across. 90 degrees is the extreme to which a performer will usually be faced. Most direction changes will consist of a smaller angle. These figure 8 blocks can be combined into one exercise. This would have the group moving Forward, left, back, right, forward, right, back, left (all forward slides), back, left, forward, right, back, right, forward left and back (all backwards slides)

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Direction changes of 180 degrees

The direction change technique is different when the performer is faced with a 180-degree angle change. There are also various techniques that can be used. They include the re-step and the stop and go.

Re-step

If the performer is moving forward for 8 counts and then directly backwards for 8 counts the re- step is when the performer re-articulates count 1 of the back wards move. On count 8 of the forward the performer will place the platform onto the ground. Placing the platform controls the energy much better than rolling through the step into the placement. On count 1 backwards the count 1 foot re-articulates the step. This step should be taken in the stride size of that new direction.

When re-stepping from a backwards march into a forward march the performer needs to turn the foot and re-articule the step with the heel. As with the forward to backwards, count 1 needs to be in the stride size of the new direction.

Stop and Go’s

The Stop and Go direction change grew out the Garfield Cadets 1987 production Appalachian Spring. Created by Marc Sylvester, the technique sought to incorporate ballet technique into the marching technique program. By adding a tondu into the direction change it pushed the show’s concept of Ballet.

The second last count of a move the performer should roll through the step and keep their feet completely flat and in contact with the ground. If the move were an 8-count move then this would happen on count 7. 90% of the weight of the body will be on this foot. As the performer rolls their foot completely flat they should think of engaging the core of their body to help eliminate the inertia they have created. The performer should also think of sending all the energy up through their head to assist in eliminating the inertia. On the final count of the move the performer should place only their platform of their right foot on the ground. The performer is allowed to place 10% of their body weight on the platform. This is to assist is eliminating the inertia. The performer should not place too much weight on the right platform, as it will cause them to loose balance and thus lead to difficulty transferring the weight into the new direction. On the final count of the move the left foot should be completely flat with 90% of the body weight. 10% of the body weight is placed on the platform of the right foot. The right anklebone should be directly over top of the co-ordinate.

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On count 1 of the new direction nothing happens. The performer holds the tondu for the visual effect of the move.

The performer then shifts their weight onto their left platform and begins pushing their weight into the new direction. By count 1& both anklebones should be parallel from one another. By count 2 the performer should be a proper step at the stride size of the new direction.

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Dance When learning dance, the performer is required to have an understanding of the elements.

Dance

When learning dance, the performer is required to have an understanding of the elements. These elements allow the performer to understand the ways in which their body and movement are used to create dance and apply this to their own performance and interactions. The elements of dance are the foundational concepts and vocabulary for developing movement skills as well as understanding dance as an art form. All these elements are simultaneously present in a performer.

The elements are best remembered by using the acronym DR. BEST

Dance is: Relationship, Body, Energy, Space and Time

RELATIONSHIP This is all the about the connection and interaction. There can be a relationship to self, others and to things or objects. In drill it would be our personal relationship to the field, the people around us, the music that is being played and the emotional connection to the choreography.

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BODY The “who” and “what” All the words that would fit in this category are reflective of the “who” (performer) and the “what” (performance) Parts of the body and body shapes are the “who The choreography is the “what”- locomotor (traveling) or non-locomotor (stationary/axial)

The who does what:

WHO

WHAT

Parts of the body:

Non-locomotor (axial):

Head, eyes, torso, shoulders, fingers, legs, feet … Body shapes:

stretch plier twist turn relever fall swing suspend Locomotor (traveling):

Symmetrical/asymmetrical rounded twisted angular arabesque Inner self:

senses

slide

perceptions

walk

emotions

hop

thoughts

somersault

intention

run

imagination

skip

jump

roll

turns

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ENERGY This is the “how” Everything that would fit with this category are reflective of the “how”

HOW

Attack:

Quality:

sharp/smooth

flowing

sudden/sustained

tight

loose

Weight:

sharp

Strength: push, horizontal, impacted Lightness: resist the down, initiate up Resiliency: rebound, even up and down

swinging

swaying

suspended

collapsed

 

smooth

Flow:

free,

bound

balanced

neutral

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SPACE This is the “where” Anything that would fit in this category are reflective of the “where” Size, levels, pathway

WHERE

Size: large small narrow wide

Orientation: facing

Level: High / medium / low

Pathway: curved/straight zig-zag random

Place: on the spot (personal space) through the space (general space) upstage/downstage

Relationships: in front beside behind over under alone/connected near/far individual & group proximity to object

Direction: forward/backward sideways diagonal right/left

TIME This is the “when” Anything that would fit in this category are reflective of the “when”

WHEN

 

sensed time

Metered:

improvisation

cued

pulse tempo accent rhythmic pattern

Timing relationships:

before

 

after

Free Rhythm:

unison

breath

sooner than

open score

faster than

Movement improvisation is a big skill to be able to show range of creativity as well as willingness to explore with abandon. Movement improvisation is the process to spontaneously create movement. Improvisation is freeing the body from habitual movement patterns and exploring in a free and unstructured way. Movement improvisation allows you to be in the moment. It is not something that is planned in advance. As a performer, you need to relax and let yourself explore freely while being you.

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Dance terminology:

Attitude: performed by balancing on one leg while lifting and bending the other leg either behind or in front of the body. The leg is bent at an angle higher than the foot

Ballet positions:

First position: Heels together, toes facing the diagonal Second position: Feet side by side about shoulder width apart

position: Feet side by side about shoulder width apart Chassé: Step together step, a gliding movement

Chassé: Step together step, a gliding movement

Coupé: Changing of feet in which one foot cuts either in front of or behind the other

Curve: An arch through space- under curve, over curve

Demi-plié: Half-bending of the knees

Flexed foot: Ankle in a flexed position so that the toes are pulled back towards the body

Forced arch: On ball (platform) of the foot with heel off the floor and knee bent

Grand plié: Full bending of the knees (the knees should be bent until the thighs are horizontal)

Isolation: A movement separating one part of the body from other parts, taking a part of the body and placing it out of its natural position

Lunge: A position where one leg is in a plié and the other leg is straight

Pointed foot: Ankle must be extended and the toes follow the line

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Relevé: A lift onto the toes

Scorpion kick:

Relevé: A lift onto the toes Scorpion kick: Swinging : Tension is held, then released to

Swinging: Tension is held, then released to flow with gravity back and forth

Tendue: To extend the leg straight out from supporting leg with foot fully pointed - front, side or back

Triple Step: Generic term for dance step patterns that describes three steps done on two main beats of music. Usually they are two quick steps and one slow

Turn Out: The outward rotation of the legs from the hip sockets. The degree of turn out is defined by skeletal structure of the pelvic girdle and by flexibility of the muscles controlling the rotation of the femur in the socket

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Circle Drill

Using a circle to perform basics exercises is a very powerful tool. It allows us to literally think outside the box and foster our ability to read non-linear forms and find our place in the form. While there are many variations of the circle drill exercise we will cover only the first progression in this book.

4 2 S&G 6 5 3 1
4
2
S&G
6
5
3
1

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The Counts

1 – 8 Counts forward into right foot re-step positioning.

2 - 8 counts backward into right foot placement

on the 45degree angle in preparation for forward

march around outer circle

3- 16 count front slide to left into right foot, stop

and go placement* on 16.

4 – 16 count backward slide into right foot 45degree placement in preparation to go

forward.

5 – 8 counts forward into right foot re-step

position*

6 – 8 counts backwards into a halt.

*Re-step and stop and go definitions can be

found on pg. 41-42 of this text.

Important features of the Circle Exercise
Important features of the Circle Exercise

The Focal point Unlike other basics exercise like the figure 8, circle drill requires us to stay focused on a single point throughout the exercise, namely, the center of the circle. It is imperative that we keep our upper body orientation facing toward the center throughout the exercise. While focusing on the center is a key component of this you may also want to think about keeping your shoulders overtop of the sprayed circle (see figure 1).

Condensing intervals Another unique tenant of the circle drill exercise is maintaining proper intervals throughout the exercise. When moving toward the center of the circle our intervals must condense significantly to accommodate the same amount of performers on a smaller circle. Intervals must then expand as we return to the outer circle. In order to accomplish this transition smoothly we must not only be diligent in our step size and direction but we must focus on staying centered between those on either side of us.

Figure 1

centered between those on either side of us. Figure 1 50 Circle Drill Hacks 1. Keep

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Circle Drill Hacks

1.

Keep our shoulders parallel to the line and perpendicular (90 degrees) to the center.

2.

You will always be slightly behind the line connecting those on either side of you. As well, the person on either side of you will always be behind the line you create with the person two positions down. (See figure 1).

3.

It is much more important to use the people around you than the lines on the field. The exercise is designed to force you to read the form not the field. Attempting to aggressively manipulate the form will cause you to stick

This is just one of many segments to the circle drill exercise. We can intuitively add the next segment by turning the halt into a placement on the 45degree angle and continuing around the circle to the right instead of the left. We are able to change the re-steps to stop-and-go’s if the need arises or add another placement on count 2 of the second count of the second 16 to reorient our bodies in a forward slide position (see if you can figure out the placement – Hint, think across the floor exercise). We can even run the exercises on continuous to improve our endurance. The point is the circle drill exercise is very adaptive making it a great tool for improving all aspects of our marching. Because of its demanding nature it is important to approach the exercise ready to attack and improve. While the circle drill exercise is one of the more demanding exercises we will use in basics, it is definitely one of the most rewarding.

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2017 Bluecoats Rehearsal Etiquette

Step 1:

DM Command: “SET”

This command is given in order to gain the attention of the members. Corps members bring their equipment directly to performance position. The tower gives the instructions for the repetition, and the DM repeats those instructions. There should be no talking by members or staff after the “set.”

Step 2:

DM command: “Minus One”

At this point the membership places their feet into the final count of previous drill movement they are about to practice. This is done to achieve the transition into the excerpt being rehearsed. The corps proper will set their minus one foot into the step size and path of the previous set. Their foot that is in the final count will establish their direction change. For brass the direction change is halfway from where they are coming to where they are going unless otherwise defined. The drums in most cases will establish their final count as parallel to the yard line unless other wise defined. If the set is defined as foot on dot then the corps proper will place they anklebone from their final count on their co ordinate. If the set is defined as center of body then the corps proper should have their sternum over their co ordinate. The colour guard should go to their final count of the previous set. This will always be different for them as their choreography is always different.

Step 3:

DM begins repetition.

The DM points to the person operating the metronome. The repetition begins after two measures of beats (in most cases), the last measure of which are conducted by the DM. If the repetition begins at the start of a movement, the DM begins without the use of the metronome.

Step 4:

Repetition Ends, DM Command: “Check” & “Adjust”

The corps members finish each repetition with holding their last note and with their feet in “plus one” position. The DM cuts off of the last note and then says, “Check.” At this time all members on the field go to minus one and use their eyes to look at the shape they finished the phrase in. The DM says, “adjust” and the members turn their heads to look at the shape and dot dot, if there is one, and adjust the shape if

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needed and return to a performance perspective. Performance perspective is defined, as having your head is the position as it would be at that point of the show. At this point the members take a mental snapshot of the shape they are in so they may learn what it “looks like” to be in the show.

Step 5:

Repetition Ends, DM Command: “STAND-BY”

The DM then says “STAND BY.” At that time all members on the field direct their attention to the tower for instructions. Guard members should not spin or toss from this time until the tower gives the “FIELD” command.

Step 6:

Tower presents information to members.

This means all talking on the field (including both staff and members) must stop, and all focus should go to the instructors on the tower. All field techs should face the tower when information and instructions are given.

Step 7:

Tower Command: “FIELD”

After instruction from staff on tower, tower will then command field staff to make corrections from the field. During this time, members can also fix any mistake they made in the previous repetition, step off their dot, and guard members can spin and toss. If there is no field time at the end of a repetition, move immediately to the next step.

Short Field:

20 seconds with no metronome

Long Field:

3-4 minutes with metronome

Step 8:

Tower gives the members instructions for next repetition.

After information and/or field time has concluded, instructors on tower provide the instructions for the next repetition, referencing only set numbers. Again, all field techs should face the tower when information and instructions are given.

Step 9:

Tower or DM command: “RESET”

If the tower does not designate field time, they can command, “RESET” after completing Step 6. Membership will run to the requested position on the field at the end of each repetition.

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