Occupy CG

Chris Dillon

The word “occupy” is not one often used in the color guard activity. In fact, the word itself seems to be a bit of a call to action, and perhaps that is what I hope to inspire in this article.

When we think of top-level color guards, they have been propelled to this status in part by performers who have dared to occupy each and every second of their performance. They are individuals who understand that success is not only found in the mastery of design and technique but also in the myriad of details that only they can bring to the table. Occupation is the investment of each and every performer to go beyond the expected, to examine and perform the infinitesimal while inhabiting every breath, detail, and second of a show. Here are two examples:


Heard in every rehearsal is the phrase, “Get your head up; look at the audience.” While this reminder is important, it’s only the beginning. Are you being authentic? What kind of energy are you communicating? We all understand that communication goes well beyond verbal exchange. In fact, some of the most powerful ways we communicate with one another are non-verbal (flirting, throwing shade, etc.). However, it can’t end there. Think about ways to engage/communicate with your fellow performers during the show. These nuances are what make you believable, relatable, and powerful.


You need to move from point A to point B in 32 counts. It seems a rather simple concept … one foot in front of the other until arrival at point B. However, true occupation would require each step to be a designed and crafted moment, to consider your efforts beyond the big picture of staging or content and to own the fact that the manner in which you choose to get there is equally as important.

Occupation is a conscious action. It requires the individual to inhabit the minute details to deliver the mightiest of performances.

About author

Chris Dillon

Chris Dillon has been involved in marching arts activity since 1981 as a performer, instructor, designer and adjudicator.  Currently, she is an adjudicator for Drum Corps International, WGI Sports of the Arts, Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC), Florida Federation of Colorguards Circuit, Indiana High School Color Guard Association, Texas Color Guard Circuit, and several others. She held the position of education coordinator for the WGASC for the past eight years.