By: Alicia Sharp
Congratulations to all of our 2023 Independent A class finalists! Review their productions below in order of Finals placement.
Pacificaires (95.545) 1st
Pacificaires presented their 2023 production entitled It’s a Wonderful Life, which was full of grace and a masterful performance across all captions. Set to music by Benjamin Clementine, the group gave a breathtaking performance that was technically advanced and celebrated their skill. No one will forget the skill they displayed on rifle, which was one of the most notable talents from this team. From an impressive sabre trio at the beginning of the show to a beautiful purple flag feature that punctuated the end, Pacificaires gave a flawless performance that was truly one of the best in the class, receiving a standing ovation from the entire arena.
The Magnolia Project (95.095) 2nd
The Magnolia Project’s show entitled Remember When is an exquisite production that utilizes various tarps opened throughout the show, each revealing pink and white florals that gradually lighten, bringing the audience on a reflective journey. The performers, dressed in green and glittering copper costumes, move beautifully between two white rocking chairs. The rifle line was a highlight of their show, demonstrating strength and discipline throughout with solid and confident catches. The layering in the final flag feature brought out the soundtrack, encouraging the audience to “Remember Me,” bringing one to ask The Magnolia Project: how could we ever forget such a lovely show?
Purdue University (94.270) 3rd
Purdue University’s 2023 production of Tanguera is a masterclass in movement. True to the show title, the guard is costumed in bold red dresses, but what really makes them stand out are the details in the choreography. Every bold statement written into the show was underlined by subtle nuances that enhanced the soundtrack and elevated the performance. The show concluded with a powerful flag statement as the music shifted into “Roxanne” and orange flags exploded onto the floor. Reminding us of the impact of the small details, Purdue brought the audience to their feet and left everyone in awe of their skill.
Collage (92.615) 4th
Aren’t breakups the worst, particularly when it’s by dreaded text? Collage reminded us of the heartache with their production of “Disconnected.” The performers moved gracefully across the floor, demonstrating excellent skill in their control and poise on weapon. It would be a shame to omit mention of the gorgeous costumes the performers wore that featured broken screens and iPhone blue sequins. Their final flag feature was stunning, and Collage succeeded in breaking our hearts with their beautiful 2023 production.
Tampa Independent A (90.975) 5th
Tampa Independent A put on a breathtakingly emotional performance entitled You’re Not Here, a title which was solidified by an empty white rocking chair that sat center on their floor. The performers lamented through elegant movement and a weapon line that was solid as can be. One of the most striking aspects of this show was the understated elegance of the flag line which continually drew attention with well-executed choreography. A striking color change to dark blue flags and the musicality of the final flag hit had audience members cheering them on while remembering their own person who is no longer here. Such a lovely 2023 production.
Les Eclipses (90.695) 6th
Les Eclipses never fails to put on a breathtaking performance, and their production of Breathe in, Breathe Out is just that. The show opened with a dance feature set to breath sounds that created moments of tension and release with each movement. The performers were adorned in navy blue costumes and moved gracefully around their floor as they demonstrated trust and confidence in their teammates. A key moment in their show was during sequentially released rifle tosses that built to one side of the floor before one more big breath pushed into their final flag feature. The performers finished their show laying on the simple geometric lungs on their tarp, reminding the entire audience, one more time, to Breathe In and Breath Out.
Onyx (89.320) 7th
Set on a cream-colored floor with performers adorned in black lace dresses, Onyx presented their tasteful and sincere program entitled Letters from Home. As a soloist performer seated atop a trunk reads his letters, dancers move across the floor with wooden pieces of home. The group’s impeccable skill on flag and rifle created a backdrop to the focal point soloist as he performed with a green flag, captivating the audience with their story. Closing the show with a return home, but not quite the return one might expect, Onyx delivered a masterful performance that shattered our hearts.
Noir Independent (87.235) 8th
With the performers clothed in black and on a black and white tarp that reads “All Humans Are Born Free,” Noir Independent captivated the audience in a moving performance of their production entitled Free and Equal. With a notably powerful weapon line, the members of Noir emotionally explored their own freedom of expression. A shift in music midway through the show also signaled a shift in mood as a full ensemble dance feature to “Free Your Mind” began. Amidst excited cheering from the arena, the performers introduced bright orange flags to the floor and executed a flag feature that was as high energy as it was fun!
National Avenue from Missouri State University (86.995) 9th
An intriguing ensemble movement feature opened National Avenue’s show entitled Heart of Glass. Set to a haunting rendition of the same song by Blondie, the performers showcased impeccable skill on rifle and on flag. A key moment in the show that was met with excited applause was a partnering between the weapons and flags that demonstrated the trust these performers have in each other. The final flag offered a brighter color change of orange and teal that played off the glittering teal costumes the performers wore. Overall, their evocative performance left the audience feeling introspective and impressed. Bravo!
Cascadia Winterguard (84.760) 10th
Gates Chili Independent Winter Guard (84.400) 11th
Who doesn’t love Dolly Parton? Gates Chili brought that love and excitement to the arena with their performance of Dolly and instantly had the audience engaged and clapping along to “9-5.” Bright pink flags stole the show before music faded into Jolene, which featured a powerful weapon line performing their choreography in, and on, pink stools. A large flyover silk of Ms. Dolly herself masked a costume change, and as the sequined performers were revealed they released a sparkling flag that sprinkled glitter into the air. The eye-catching finale had audience members on their feet for the final notes of “I Will Always Love You,” and ensured the audience will always love this show!
Gold Winterguard (83.760) 12th
Gold brought the energy to the arena with their production of Sonic Motion. Performers clothed in white on a colorful floor opened the show with a dance feature that immediately had the audience buzzing with applause. From a dauntless introduction at the back of the floor to a full ensemble rifle hit that featured vocals from the team, the unabashed members of Gold performed with vigor. A soloist wearing white headphones led us through the last movement into a finale flag feature that was as high energy as the rest of the show.
Carolina Visual Productions (83.505) 13th
Carolina Visual Productions' show entitled Heal My Heart featured a beautiful set design, displaying stitched-up hearts on the tarp and costumes. The performers danced with red ribbon fabric as the show opened, and they continued that theme throughout the show, consistently returning to the red ribbon. A section of the soundtrack that featured heavy heartbeats drew the audience into the production, culminating the soundtrack change with a solid rifle catch as glittering red flags were introduced on the floor. A moving flag feature brought the audience to the end of CVP’s emotional performance, and the crowd cheered as the members of the guard spread across the floor, each holding a piece of the red ribbon to stitch our hearts back together.
Visual Theater (82.200) 14th
Visual Theater brought a lightness to the air with their program entitled Song of Sunrise. Their flag performance was the star of the show as the performers showcased impeccable skill on the equipment. Light pink silks were beautiful against the tarp, and a key moment of the show was when the flags rippled into the floor, directing the audience’s attention to a rifle release in the back corner. The performer nailed their catch at the height of the music to a roar from the audience. A tender yellow flag feature brought the sunrise at the conclusion of the show as a voice-over encouraged the audience to “rise like the sun”. Overall, Visual Theater’s show was uplifting and inspiring.
River City Rhythm Winter Guard (81.240) 15th
Greys Anatomy fans swoon over River City Rhythm’s emotional performance set to Chasing Cars, entitled The One. Dressed in sophisticated maroon costumes, an elegant opening dance feature drew the audience into their program. They utilized sheer white curtains that added to the breath and artistry of this performance. The powerful music then built into a silver flag feature that received screaming cheers from the audience as the performers finally found their “one,” ending the show in a loving embrace. Yes, River City Rhythm, we will ‘lie with you and just forget the world,’ but we won’t forget this performance.