Friday, March 29, 2013

The Marching Way

I have lived in New Zealand for close to 9 years and I have never heard of a SPORT called "Marching".  This is probably the most kiwi thing I have ever come across.  Mainly b/c it only exists in New Zealand.  Are you lost?

Let me give you some background info on  Marching.

"Marching first made its appearance on the NZ sporting scene in the dark days of the 1930’s depression when Marching teams were formed as part of a nation-wide move to give priority to team sports as an answer to a major problem for leaders of youth groups and social workers arising from the impact of the country’s economic depression and to keep the nation’s young women fit and healthy. Teams emerged from business houses and factories for inter-house competitions and at wars end were joined by returning members of the armed services who restructured the movement based on a more rigid military style and in 1945 the New Zealand Marching Association (NZMA) was formed to promote, encourage and control participation in the sport of Marching. 

Marching in NZ is an amateur sport that offers participants a strong sense of team spirit and self-discipline. It heightens powers of concentration and physical fitness, encourages good deportment, pride in grooming and personal achievement and offers musical enjoyment, life long friendships and opportunities of travel."

So, why I am I talking about Marching?  Well, my first weekend in Dunedin I went along with Simon's mom to the National Marching Competition.  Turns out that most of the women in Simon's family have a history of Marching (his Mom, his two Aunts, two of his Cousins and his Nanna!).  Two of them are still involved.  His Aunt, Jaqui and Uncle Bob, were judges of the competition. Jaqui has just gotten back into Marching and does it for fun (aka leisure).  His Cousin Rach, started Marching when she was a little girl and pretty much never stopped and she is now a competitive Marcher.   So much so that she is in THE best Marching group, called Lochiel (that you have to be invited into) and goes over to Scotland, Norway, Russia, Brazil, South Africa (to name a few) to perform at Military Tatoos ( the one in Edinburgh being one of the most well known ( Military Tatoos are when you get groups of military groups from around the world together performing.

I remember going to the stadium to watch this 'Marching thing' and had no idea what to expect.  In the end I really enjoyed it!  While it is a bunch of females dressed up in military uniforms marching to military music... it is so much more!  They are judged on everything from how many marches it takes to get a certain marker on the ground, how far apart they are (they are literally measured with a compass thing and the spacing between each others feet have to be a metre and they do this all by eye, so a team has to know how to take steps based on everyones leg lenghs!), how together they are, how clean their uniform is... and much much more! Each team did two marches, a Technical Drill, which is a routine each team does (to military music) and a Display Drill, which is a routine that each team choreographs itself and can be to any type of music (read here for the details on judging (  Every year there are new rules like how to do a left turn, about turn, how to tie up your boot etc.

I grew up dancing and thought I could compare it to Tap dancing at least.. but i can't.  I can tell you that Marching looks like it could be fun and a good workout, so it's on my list of things to do and one day I may be on a (leisure) Marching Team myself!

Si's cousin Rach and her team (Storm - which is also Lochiel) won both best Technical and best Display at the 2013 Competition.  So they are the champ..(whoo go Rach!).  Below are two videos from the competion so you can see what i am talking about.  Try to tune out the chatter.

Technical Drill: Make sure to click on HD to make it clearer"

Display Drill (they choreographed): Make sure to click on HD to make it clearer"

I love the Display, particularly around 3:30 min when they do all the backwards marching and don't run into each other! 

I apologise in advance if i got any facts wrong!

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