Dancing through life: a look into the visual artists of Marching Mizzou

Marching Mizzou’s Golden Girls, twirlers and Color Guard provide a dynamic aspect to MU football halftime performances, growing as artists with every show.

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Marching alongside the instrumentalists, the dancers, twirlers and flag-bearers of the ensemble emphasize the performative aspect of Marching Mizzou. They provide a colorful and active visual component to halftime shows, often drawing the eye of the audience.

The Golden Girls perform choreographed routines in synchronization with each other and the musical accompaniment of the band. They also rehearse alongside the band, practicing their dances complete with ponytails and enthusiasm, hard work shining behind their wide smiles.

Clad in golden dresses, the Golden Girls occasionally change their costumes to suit the theme of the performance. The girls turned pink for the band’s Grease-themed performance at the Sept. 22 home game, paying homage to the movie’s Pink Ladies.

The twirlers, of which there are only three, create their own routines for the shows, often acting on their own accord. Senior Lindsey McCormick, one of the twirlers, has been twirling since the age of five. Many of her past competitive routines serve as inspiration for the routines she develops for MU games. By far, McCormick’s favorite part of twirling for Marching Mizzou is the feeling of delight that game day brings.

“Of course, I love to practice and to be with the members of such a large, diverse organization on campus, but game days are amazing, especially just walking out on the field for pregame and the band starting to play the fanfare,” McCormick explained. “I just still get an adrenaline rush, like the same exact feeling I had freshman year.”

The Color Guard, led by captain Jasmyne Tyler, are the flag-bearers on the field. They move in time to the music and, fittingly, add a flash of color to the performance. The flag spinning, throwing and catching requires acute hand-eye coordination, fine-tuned over hours and hours of practice with bright yellow flags.

Tyler, who has been spinning for seven years, choreographs routines and works with technique, making sure the members all look the same when performing. Her dedication to the work is amplified by the relationship with she has with the other color guard members. From her role as a leader, she encourages them the way a parent would encourage their child, ensuring their well-being and happiness but also pushing them to realize their full potential.

“When I was in color guard, I always wanted to be better than I was,” Tyler said. “I always leaned on people that were strong spinners and that were a bit more critical of me because I felt that they knew what I was capable of more than I did. [...] So now that I'm in this leadership role with all these other girls, I've tried to make sure that I am not only hard on them so that they know they are capable [of performing], but also encouraging and just [being] a mentor for them so that they continue to love the sport.”

Regardless of the absence of sheet music and instruments to play, these dancers, twirlers and spinners provide a unique visual aspect to halftime performances, keeping audiences engaged and engrossed in the music. Despite the several little branches within the organization, they are able to connect with everyone involved and grow together as artists.

Edited by Alexandra Sharp | asharp@themaneater.com

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