Majorettes often perform with marching bands during half times and in parades. Baton twirling is also a competitive sport where both individuals and teams compete against one another. Majorettes use a combination of postures, foot positions, basic moves, gymnastic maneuvers and dance steps to choreograph an intricate performance.
A majorette uses three basic postures: Salute, Attention and Strut. In the Salute posture, the baton is held in the right hand, looped behind the back, brought over the left shoulder and held for at least two counts. At Attention, the ball of the baton is held in the right hand with the center resting on the right arm. The majorette stands feet together, closed fists on hips. In a strut, the ball of the baton is held in the right hand. The baton can either be pointed down, or held flush against the right arm. The strut begins with the left foot and right arm. Toes are pointed during the strut, and turns are executed using the outside foot.
There are five basic foot positions used by majorettes. The type of music will indicate whether ballet or jazz positioning should be used. Both types of positions use the same foot placement; however, ballet focuses on clean, fluid lines, where jazz position is more boxy and flashy. In First position, the heels are pressed together, with the toes pointing out 100 degrees. The legs are turned out beginning at the hips. Second position is similar to first, but with a one foot gap between the heels in ballet and a shoulder width gap in jazz. To achieve Third position, the majorette will begin in Second position, then slide one foot in front of the other. The heel of the front foot will be pressed into the arch of the back foot in ballet, and slightly out in jazz. In Fourth position, the majorette enters Third position, then slides the front foot out. There is a one foot gap between the front and back foot for both ballet and jazz positions. In Fifth position, one foot is placed in front of the other, with the heel of the front foot touching the toe of the back foot. For ballet position, the feet are turned outward. In jazz position, the toes are pointing straight ahead.
Basic majorette moves include the Figure 8, Flat Twirl and Flat Toss. The Figure 8 is achieved by looping the baton on both sides of the body. The baton arm is held straight in front of the body, the feet are together, and the free hand is close fisted on the hip. In the Flat Twirl, the feet are together, the baton is spun flat counterclockwise, and the free hand is close fisted on the hip. The Flat Toss is achieved using a flat spin. In a left handed Flat Toss, the baton spins flat in the left. On the up turn, the baton is released with the palm up and the arm bent, then caught in the right hand.
In the Elbow Roll, the baton is held in the right hand. The left arm is bent in the middle of the chest. The baton is swung under the left arm, onto the left elbow, then caught with the right hand. In the Wrist Roll, the baton is held in the right hand. The left arm is straight out in front of the body. The baton is swung under the left hand and onto the wrist, then caught with the right hand. The Double Leg Roll is an advanced combination. The baton is held in the right hand and the left leg is lifted in a marching stance with the thigh parallel to the ground. The knee is bent and the toe is pointed toward the ground. The back of the right hand is placed under the left leg at mid thigh, then the baton is rolled over the leg. Once the baton approaches the top of the left leg, nearing the vertical position, the left leg is dropped and the right leg is brought up. The baton rolls seamlessly over the right leg. The left hand is brought under the right thigh to catch the baton and the process repeats itself.