Marching to a precise modern beat

SENIORS: Academy Seniors performing their Thematic Drill Routine at the 2017 Australian DrillDance Championships. Photo: Karen Fisher
SENIORS: Academy Seniors performing their Thematic Drill Routine at the 2017 Australian DrillDance Championships. Photo: Karen Fisher

DrillDance is the modern name for a sport at which Goulburn once excelled, marching girls. Goulburn’s PCYC team in their pink and black were stand out performers in the early 1980s.

DrillDance New South Wales will be hosting one of its competitions at the Veolia Arena on the March 18.

DrillDance is a not for profit sport that was previously known as Australian Marching Association.

In the latter half of the 20th century there were numerous parades and competitions where troupes of marching girls and drum majorettes could show off their march routine skills and the various march variations the teams had practised and perfected.

The emphasis was on precision and everyone being in time and step. Arms extended at the same angle, knees raised to the same level and lines straight, forming geometric patterns at a quick march pace of 120 beats per minute. 

When marching in parades this was the pace the bands were expected to set. Now the competitions are mostly held indoors on a 20 metre wide by 15 metre deep non-slip surface parade area.

Lots of things have changed, including the leg tanning cream that came in tubes and was applied with a sponge in an attempt to avoid streaks. DrillDance teams perform exciting and challenging routines in categories such as Drill, Dance, Prop and Thematic. Teams choose their costumes and music to match the theme of each routine. Age groups are under eight, under 12, under 17, senior and masters.

Justeene McKnight from Greenpoint DrillDance Club, who is organising publicity for the Goulburn event on behalf of DrillDance NSW, said they were expecting about 15 teams to compete in Goulburn.

“DrillDance provides opportunities for physical activity, improved posture, coordination and teamwork,” she said.

“We understand that DrillDance NSW has not hosted an event in Goulburn for over 24 years and that there may be some previous Marching Girls, who would like to see the sport and how it has evolved as well as community members who may want to experience the sport.”

PRECISE FUN: Greenpoint Academy Intermediates performing their Thematic Dance Routine at the 2017 Australian DrillDance Championships. Photo: Karen Fisher

PRECISE FUN: Greenpoint Academy Intermediates performing their Thematic Dance Routine at the 2017 Australian DrillDance Championships. Photo: Karen Fisher

“Some of the teams competing at this event are the current Australian Champions.”

“The masters category has enabled some of the participants who used to enjoy the sport when they were young to continue on or get back into it after years away from the marching and precision routines.”

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