Tight Transitions

Whether you’re putting those finishing touches on your fall show or starting your winter season, well-performed transitions are an often-overlooked way to add polish to your show.

Keep Performing

When you move to the sidelines to exchange equipment, the audience can still see you unless or until you are behind a prop or backdrop. Use this time to showcase your excellent posture and marching skills. Keep your chin up, shoulders open and posture perfect. Stay in step, use proper marching or jazz run technique, and make sure everyone is carrying their equipment the same way.

Know Your Counts

Your transitions should look as clean and choreographed as your routines. Know the exact counts—including when to arrive at the sideline, squat down, stand back up and step off—so that everyone moves together. Make the actual change of equipment as quickly as possible. And when you put your equipment on the ground, make sure everyone places it down in the same direction if it will be visible to the audience.

Don’t Draw Unnecessary Attention

During transitions you want the audience to focus on the exciting drill and visual effects still happening on the field or floor. Never throw a flag off to the side to “get it out of the way” (unless this is a choreographed effect in your show).

When discarding equipment, try to strip the fabric on flags. Practice this step, so it is goes smoothly each time. Make sure your new equipment is set correctly, so you don’t need to flip it over before your entrance. Also, don’t “fiddle” with the equipment while you are waiting.

Finally, avoid the temptation to turn your head to look at a friend or what is happening on the field. Any extra movement, however small, can distract the audience and detract from the show. Keep focused and think forward to your next spectacular entrance!

About the Author

Catina Anderson has been involved in the color guard activity, first as a performer and then instructor, for the past 20 years. She is currently the color guard director at Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Va. She is also the founder and editor of www.colorguardeducators.com, a website for color guard coaches. She earned a master’s degree in education from Marymount University.