|Its connections time at Blue Devils camp
this week in San Diego. With only three shows during the next two weeks, guard
instructors are putting in the final pieces of a revamp of a 2001 show that
so far is undefeated.
The first part of the show that color guard caption head Scott Chandler
puts in place are a few of what he calls impact pieces like the
boogie woogie section of this years show. Along with that initial design
are the things the guard will be doing during the horn and drum lines
standstill portions. those are the anchors, like markers, I build the
show around, Chandler said.
Next come the transitions; the places where guard members change
props, picking up one flag and grabbing another or putting down a saber for
a dance segment. But by the second week in July, its usually time for
connections; choreographing smooth shifts from one part of the show to the
For instance, at camp this week, the act of guard members picking
up their straw hats at the back of the field will go from being a simple line
of dancers marching in a line to grab a hat to a smoothly choreographed piece
of work which effectively fits in with the personality of the rest of the
Another alteration this week will be the shows closing, says Jay Murphy,
visual designer. The last four moves will be like weve had it
on the drawing board all along, he said. We just havent
had time to put it in yet.
The last half-minute that the audience sees next week will be more dynamic,
more unison work with the whole corps participating in the same idea, he
Both Murphy and Chandler says pacing issues are also on the agenda
during the warm days of camp at San Marcos High School out from San Diego. There
will be more texture; the highs will be higher, the lows lower. It will be
more contoured, Chandler said.
Well be working on audience impact issues, making the show more colorful,
more eventful, more exciting to the people watching, Chandler said. This
is some of the hardest stuff, because its small things, filling in small
things, small logistic, piecemeal things. Its hard because you have to
change muscle memory, and the time frame is more compact; the season is coming
to an end.
So, will what fans see next week be the final version of the 2001
show? Almost, Chandler says. We have two days (with no performance)
in El Paso (where the corps will be in camp next week). Thats where
the final things will be put in. After that, it will be just about set.
|An invisible dancer
may be the most valuable performer in the Blue Devils color guard this summer.
I see Gene Kelly in my head throughout this show, said color guard
designer Scott Chandler. The idea of the show is that of a great musical,
showy, vaudeville, but with the difficulty and precision people have come to
expect from the Blue Devils. And the movement style is all about Gene Kelly,
thats what the costumes are about, thats what we are aiming for.
What does the Kelly style mean to Chandler: Its stylistic perfection,
with a lot of fun.
If he sees Kelly in his head, does he see Kellys modern incarnation
when he watches his guard practice and perform with a critical eye? In
some people, Chandler laughs. Were getting there.