Several years ago, the Wendy’s restaurant chain had a commercial with some older women asking, “Where’s the beef?” suggesting that Wendy’s competitor’s beef* patties were comparatively small. (*You would be surprised at the contents of fast food burgers.)
While I do not advocate fast food at all, I do advocate asking questions and learning. Hence the title of this article, “Where’s the Power?” But what is this, “power”?
Knowledge is power and, if you’ve read my website for any length of time, you will know that my books and articles are geared toward educating anyone with an interest in military drill.
The military services do not teach past the ‘marching a unit from point A to point B’ paradigm. This is exactly what they need so why teach beyond that? Sure, there are a few specialized units that require a higher level of knowledge of drill and ceremonies, here, though, we speak of the general everyday Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Airman or Coast Guardsman: they all graduate their service’s Basic Training with a certain level of knowledge of marching. When it comes to competitive drill, the paradigm shifts to a much higher level of required knowledge.
In another article, The Seven Parts of an Exhibition Drill Routine, I wrote about dividing the time a soloist or team spends on the drill area. It is helpful to understand the time spent in these different sections. It is also helpful to understand the geography of a drill area and the gravity each area contains.
Powerful vs. Weaker Movement
Movement that is inward, forward and sometimes outward (think of a team in a circle at the center) can be powerful. Movement that take the team or soloist away from the audience is seen as ‘weak’.
The Weak Areas
These areas are not meant to be avoided! One must us as much of the area as possible, but when creating a routine powerful movement on the sides might be lost by the audience. The arrows also show that moving backwards or away from the audience is also considered ‘weak’. Drill and equipment movements here can help build tension and have that tension flow through to:
The Strong “Push” Area
Here we can see that moving toward the audience communicates strength so it is beneficial to create a strong sequence here that moves the team/soloist forward. A word of caution: moving forward too soon or too often can create tension too early or too many times in the program, leaving the audience tired from watching or even flat at the end of the performance. Which leads the team or soloist right into:
The Power Area
In this area, we see that this is where strong, powerful move and sequence communication is best: the team/soloist is closest to the audience and movement articulation is clearest. The area does not extend to the front edge because one can be ‘too close’ to one’s audience, it depends.
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