By Trudy Horsting
Congratulations to all of our 2023 Independent World class finalists! Review their productions below in order of Finals placement.
Paramount’s show “Drawn together” demonstrated the many ways we are each so unique. Uniforms with different patterns of grey, a splattered grey floor, and even rifles which were marked with sketching, accentuated the play on words. Two unique silks (one with a piece cut out, and one which was the cut out itself) added a unique element to the show as performers navigated spinning both in and with these flags. A favorite moment of the production was the use of flags which had the names and faces of each individual performer printed on them, showcasing how this very team was drawn together.
Blessed Sacrament began performing “Just Riff” as soon as they touched the floor. This jazzy show was high energy and felt conversational as performers stood momentarily to watch one another excel on the floor. Blessed Sacrament performed effortlessly, executing choreography with perfect musicality. A final dance feature was a certain highlight as the performers ran to the edge of the floor in the final moment, exuding confidence in their performance.
Pride of Cincinnati
The audience couldn’t get enough of the emotion Pride of Cincinnati exuded in their show “All Your Love.” Utilizing the perfect balance of tension and complete release, the performers interacted with one another with trust and grace. Moments of silence captivated the crowd, as the performers executed tosses with precision. As the show neared the end, gold appeared from all areas of the floor, bringing physical life into the performance. Performers finish in spirals of gold swirling into the ground, the epitome of grace and elegance.
Fusion Winter Guard showed the audience how to move to “The Beat.” The performers used incredibly fun characterization throughout the production. The show begins right away with a high energy dance feature. Green box props added another dimension to this show as performers interacted with them throughout. Another tight dance feature at the front of the floor radiated energy into the crowd, appearing like the end of the show. Fusion had the audience fooled with a fake ending but thrilled the crowd by surprising them with just a bit more.
Fantasia told the story of love and loss in their 2023 production titled “Love and Lament: Together Still.” The show began with a stunning duet including two jaw dropping lifts. You could feel the emotional and loving connection between the performers. However, as the show progressed, the emotion of loss becomes apparent. The performers brought the audience into their hearts and into their story, expressing their mood through every piece of their body. The show concluded with the emergence of a front porch and two lovers physically separate but together at heart.
Onyx brought energy, fierceness, and anticipation to captivate the audience in their show “TARANTELLA.” Onyx presented a series of impressive lifts, many with multiple people, with strength and grace. With all black flags and uniforms, Onyx had the audience’s attention as they utilized unique hand movements, flexed feet, immense flexibility, and hitting of the ground to create dimension on the floor. The performers embodied control within chaos. The eyes of the audience were glued to the performers in every moment, as performers locked eyes with the crowd to draw them into their web.
ORIGINS began their show on a high note, as rifles jumped over tree branches, powerfully beginning the production. The members emulated aspects of nature through every movement using flexed feet, reaching arms, and clever shaping. With one performer in all green and one with black wrapped around them, the juxtaposition of opposing forces was evident. The group cleverly utilized the tree in the center of the floor, circling around the edges, as if they were moving through the circle of life themselves. A fun and active flag feature left both opposing performers on opposite sides of the tree. A change in mood and coloring led the way for the character in green to reach the top of the tree, providing her a second chance.
Mirage perfectly depicted their show “The Only Way Out is Through” by navigating through their props in a million different ways. The performers and their equipment passed in and out of a plethora of square props, manipulating them with ease and expertise. In one moment, they created boxes with some of the squares and exchanged equipment in and out of the boxes countless times. The flag feature was another highlight of this production, as performers utilized the props within the feature along with their flag, catching the final toss with a hand on each side of the square.
Etude fell more than seven times throughout their production but at the end everyone was standing tall, including the audience. Etude utilized emotion and precision in every moment, moving in perfect unison. The performers’ tone perfectly matched the calm but somber music, as they gracefully manipulated seven ramps across the floor. Throughout the show, the performers leaned on one another through their choreography, culminating in a beautiful lift at the front of the floor before they all rose, standing, together.
UCF Pegasus World
UCF Pegasus World recreated the tower of “Babel” in the UD arena. Towering ladders center stage created a playground for performers to utilize throughout the show. Pale blue flags emerged from the tower, building into a beautiful ensemble flag moment with incredible emotional portrayal. Aligned with the babbling of the music, the towers separated throughout the show creating individual ladders that the performers climbed and fell from, tossed equipment from, and engaged with in a myriad of other ways. A rifle and dance feature center stage was a highlight of the show, which was closely followed by a resurgence of the beautiful blue flags.
AMP Winterguard brought Alice’s dreams to life, transporting the audience into a fairytale. The show began almost like a puppet show as rabbits behind a glowing white tarp prefaced the fairytale that was to come. During the show, Alice is transported throughout her dream, perfectly characterizing the story. “The Rabbit, The Hatter, and The Queen” show up throughout her journey as do a plethora of other high energy and magnetizing characters. AMP was the definition of high energy and the emotional portrayal of the performers coupled with their skillful equipment work left the crowd wishing the fairytale never ended.
FIU World awed the audience with their production of “Bodies of Water.” Four poles stood in different areas of the floor, and from the first moments of the show the performers used these props to climb, drape, and spin throughout the production. The performers, dressed all in shimmery blue, moved gracefully as if they were themselves a part of the flowing body of water. FIU projected poise, grace, and elegance through every moment, ending in a stunning pose that amazed the crowd.
Juxtaposition brought so much energy to the floor in their show “Requiem of Decadence.” There was an element of surprise in their production, with new outfits emerging by soloists left and right and the incorporation of a variety of hit songs like “Bennie And The Jets” by Elton John. The show also showcased gold planks which were used to carry a performer across the length of the floor, ensuring she never touched the ground. Juxtaposition had fun in this production with their characterization, accessories and stunning, spinning piano prop. The show concluded with all performers wearing sunglasses and feathers across their shoulders, surrounding the piano.
Tampa Independent graced the audience with two stunning flag features, both incredibly clean, crisp, and graceful. Throughout their show, “Photograph,” the performers slowly revealed brightly colored uniforms underneath their blacks. Each moment was executed with elegance, poise, and breath, as the performers moved effortlessly across the floor. Although the show ended with the performers taking a picture of the audience, undoubtedly the audience also wanted to capture the moment so it would last forever.
Mayflower brought “Ohio” to Ohio. The floor featured many elements which set the stage of an old farmhouse including a tree, a fence, and the house itself. The first rifle entered by tossing on the house and sliding down the roof to catch. An ensemble sabre feature flowed gracefully across the floor which was certainly a highlight of the show. Each performer captured the emotions of the song’s lyrics “backwards Ohio” impeccably, and the show concluded with a performer running through the door and into the house, leaving Ohio behind.