How to Choreograph a Color Guard Routine

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Color guard is known as the "sport of the arts" because it delicately balances beauty, grace, storytelling and athletics. Precision and creativity are two major factors when you choreograph a color guard routine. Everything from flag moves to music to scenery can affect the story you tell. Read on to learn how to choreograph a color guard routine.

Things You'll Need

  • CD player
  • Costumes
  • Flags, rifles, and sabers
  • Music
  • Evaluate the skills of your team members. It is important to choose moves in line with their skill level so that the routine looks crisp. Beginners should be able to do basics like drop spins, pop tosses and windmills. Helicopters, yo-yo tosses and Peggy spins would work for moderate level athletes. Challenge more advanced teams with unique spins and tosses of your own creation.

  • Choose a theme. Pick a musical, movie or activity on which to base your routine. Pick up more tips about creating a theme and choreographing a routine on the Color Guard Central website. See the Resources section below for a link.

  • Choose music that matches your theme. Winter Guard teams have more flexibility here, since band directors often choose music for programs in color guard. Browse music suggestions on the Color Guard Corner website. See the Resources section below for a link.

  • Choreograph your routine to work with the music so that the routine flows naturally. Flag moves should make up most of the routine, with several flag changes. More experienced teams can incorporate rifle and saber moves to add a whole new level of excitement to a routine.

  • Have less experienced teams balance out flag spins and tosses with dance using props that work with the theme of the routine. Be creative and tell a story with your theme.

  • Choose flags that match your theme and reflect your music. Use bright colors for upbeat routines and dark colors for more edge. Larger flags make the biggest impact.

  • Create a tarp or background that complements your theme.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose music that can be counted in eights.
  • Consider consulting with an independent color guard choreographer to help you to create a drill that is fun to watch and challenging to perform.
  • Practice with practice flags rather than show flags to keep them in top condition.
  • Be creative with colors and shapes of flags related to your theme, but make sure they are functional and visually attractive when spun.

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