Winter guard through the eyes of an indoor percussion performer

Winter guard through the eyes of an indoor percussion performer

When people hear of bioluminescence, they tend to think of small flying insects or of scary deep-ocean fish. Most people don’t think of 17 girls dancing and flag-twirling across a mat, but this would be much closer to home than any glowing animal.

Bioluminescence is the name of this year’s Varsity Color Guard show for Dartmouth, and it is a spectacle.

Let’s set the scene. We start off with the aforementioned girls standing at the center of props meant to represent a forest. From here, the string orchestra in the background kicks up, and the fun begins.

The start of the show is not, like you’d expect, flags and sabers, but it is clean. The group dances across the floor, all in time with one another, and all in black. There is what can only be called a human chain, plenty of other choreography I can’t even begin to describe, and a whole lot of unity. Suddenly, when nearly the whole group is in a rectangle (the first geometric one of the whole show), a black cloth sweeps over them like a wave.

This wave must signal some awakening, because from here, the first flags make their appearance. These flags, like the group’s uniforms, are mostly black. The things our group does with these flags are very impressive and very clean (an industry term for in-time and good looking). There is a strong central theme throughout the entire show of facing the central prop, a glowing rod surrounding by a circle of two metal bands that is largely left with its meaning up to interpretation.

Personally, I see it as the light that everyone has within themselves, but I also have no idea what I’m talking about. Another favorite in the show is the recurring visual of reaching, either to the light in the middle, as if to bring it to themselves, or to the audience, as if reaching out for help, or to one another.

At the risk of boring you, I won’t go into detail about how the rest of the show is, surprise, clean and fun to watch. However, a big thematic change does take place to mark the climax of the show.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any darker, the light starts to come back. The flags are suddenly dominated by a (very pretty) gradient from blue to white, with a stop at green somewhere in the middle. When the whole group has been infused with this light, the biggest moment in the show happens. The performers are in circles around this central light, flags pointed in, when suddenly lights in the shape of an ‘X’ appear across their torsos.

They found the light within themselves, and put on an amazing show along the way.