Equipment work is easily the most recognized element of color guard, but movement is the foundation that everything builds upon. Movement affects every aspect of performance and therefore influences every part of a unit’s scores.
In order to achieve excellence in movement, you need to fully understand your body—where it is in space, its center of gravity, and how the muscles move (individually and in tandem with others).
As you go through fundamentals in rehearsal, pay attention to the muscles involved in each movement. Can you pinpoint where the movement initiates? What muscles are you using to continue the movement? Are your answers the same as those of the person next to you?
Excellence in movement requires all performers to initiate and follow through on their movements in the same way.
Incorporating equipment adds complexity because equipment extends the body and makes the effects of movement—and variations in performers’ movement—much more visible. Since equipment can take the same path without performers moving the same way, focusing on the movement that controls the equipment rather than the equipment itself can be an effective way to clean choreography.
I have my students perform movement-only runs throughout the season to make sure they fully understand their movement responsibilities. This kind of run can be done in your individual practice as well.
Removing equipment makes you focus on what your body is doing instead of what your flag is doing and prevents the equipment from hiding flaws in movement. Mastering these movement-only runs will also help you recover more easily from mishaps during your show.
As the winter season gets rolling, make sure you’re developing your own awareness of how movement impacts your performance. Doing so will pay off in the long run!