With COVID-19 distancing marching members and putting crowds on the other side of a screen, competitions like the Collegiate FANtastic for twirlers and majorettes have stepped in to fill the void. The contest was founded by an informal group of friends who wanted to give twirlers and majorettes the opportunity to perform during the pandemic. Individuals and groups competed in a seeded style, similar to NCAA’s March Madness. Now the Collegiate FANtastic has announced a High School Edition, with championships to be crowned in mid-March.
Anita Ney, University of Cincinnati feature twirler, won the college individual competition, which ended in November. Ney worked with her coach over FaceTime to revive and update a routine she had retired.
Each competitor filmed a performance video of an outdoor routine as well as a personal statement. As participants advanced through the brackets, they submitted additional recordings and did a live performance through Zoom for the “Final Four.”
Ney says that she is grateful for “very patient friends who were willing to help” when filming as well as for her mom who drove her from Northeast Ohio to Cincinnati several times in order to use the campus field. Her mom’s assistance is “just a testament of how supportive twirling moms can be,” she says.
The University of Florida Gatorettes took home the awards for Best Team Statement, Best Video Production, and 1st Place in Extra-Large Division (more than nine team members) out of a total of 14 teams that competed. According to Gatorettes instructor June Stoeber, the competition made the team work harder to get to where it usually would be at that time. She also hopes that the event inspired schools to push forward and do what they could, even within COVID-19 restrictions. “[It’s] truly an honor to do something like this and to compete,” Stoeber says.
The upcoming Collegiate FANtastic High School Edition allows group to submit indoor or outdoor performances and offers critique for college audition routines as an option. Both the fall and winter contests offered cash scholarships, gifts cards, and other prizes.