Top 5 DHS Winterguard Shows

DHS’S Winterguard program has been steadily growing over the years; each year, new members join, and become inducted into a world of fast-paced choreography, competition, and performance. Recently, the Dartmouth guard has seen success with its consistently effective shows. Here are the top five most successful shows, ranked. This particular list was ranked according to show difficulty, effectiveness, and audience reception.

5. Stand Up, 2015

The 2015 program Stand Up features challenging weapon choreography, gorgeous flag design, and an important message; the importance of standing up against issues like bullying, homophobia, and discrimination. The set begins with dozens of wooden chairs placed equidistant from one another across the floor mat, which also features a photo of a pile of broken chairs. The show’s soundtrack is instrumental, and features poignant voiceovers from famous figures like Ellen Degeneres and Barack Obama. Each performer starts the show off with a piece of red cloth over his or her mouth. As the show progresses, performers remove their masks one by one, in order to convey the idea of standing up for what you believe in. At the start of the program, the performers are silent, but at the end, they stand in a line and yell “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Although this particular program didn’t make it to WGI Finals, it still stands as a strong performance with a powerful message.

4. #Gossip, 2016

I’m not supposed to tell you this, but… #Gossip is a fun, energy-filled program about the harms of spreading rumors. Performers are dressed in neon tunics with the show’s name emblazoned across the chest. The plain black floor mat is flooded with color, specifically with speech bubble props featuring some of the soundtrack’s voiceovers.  The program features songs from movies such as American Beauty and The Social Network, punctuated with student voiceovers. “Bye Felicia!” says one clip. “#Nofilter? Please. I just can’t even,” says another. As the show progresses, the speech bubble props are flipped over, the colorful tunics are removed, and the color scheme of the program changes. The design shift is also reflected in a change in the soundtrack, and the reveal of the show’s true message: be kind to one another, and stop gossipping.

Coincidentally, this was also the Dartmouth Guard’s first time winning the WGI Fan Favorite Award, beginning a 3 year long winning streak.

3. Lilith of Eden, 2018

Lilith of Eden was Dartmouth’s first time in the Open Class division of WGI. DHS entered the class with a bang, performing a difficult show featuring a majority underclassman weapon line, a strong flag line, and lots and lots of apples. The floor mat featured three slick ramp-like structures, wrapped in scale-patterned tarp to look like a snake was weaving itself in and out of the floor mat. The show’s soundtrack features a theme song from a Portuguese soap opera, as well as an intense orchestral piece by The Piano Guys. This particular program featured most of the cast from Bioluminescence, but was also the first program since 2016 to feature a male performer.

At the end of the season, Lilith became the first of Dartmouth’s guard programs to make Open Class Finals in Dayton, Ohio.

2. On the Other Side, 2014

The members of the Dartmouth High School Winterguard look back fondly on the 2014 program, On the Other Side, as the show that started it all. The show that began Dartmouth’s successful streak, and set the precedent for a dynasty of finalists, medalists, and solid performers.

On the Other Side featured a simple, yet calming set design that consisted of a colorful, grass-patterned floor mat, and a variety of white fences on wheels. Throughout the program, the staging and choreography design plays with the idea of what it means to be on the other side; whether that be on the other side of the fence, on the other side of the floor mat, or on the other side of existence. What makes On the Other Side so successful is the fact that this was the DHS guard’s first time in A Class finals, as well as their first time performing at the UD Arena.

1. Bioluminescence, 2017

Bioluminescence is the top pick for the best DHS guard show for several reasons. The show’s dark, elusive design is a major change in pace from the previous year’s program, #Gossip. Instead of being adorned in brightly colored neon tunics, the performers wear slick bodysuits, highlighted with emerald lines that accentuate the figure. The performers glide smoothly across the floor mat, spinning dark flags with sequins that illuminate the silks. The show’s soundtrack features instrumental pieces that set the stage for a program that is elegant, clean, and impressive.

The 2017 season came to a satisfying conclusion when the Dartmouth High School Winterguard received the Scholastic A Class silver medal and, as a result, was bumped up to the Open Class.