Why do we do it? What’s important? How do you do it properly and make it look good? Read on…

Marching is important when you are learning Physie because it teaches you lots of things: turnout, foot control, body control, good posture, co-ordination, body awareness, spatial awareness and rhythm! Plus it helps you develop your muscle strength, cardio fitness and stamina. To march well for 128 steps takes a lot of physical control and fitness.

From a judge’s perspective, marching is “the preview to the show”. In other words, a judge watches you march and can see everything you’ve got in terms of turnout, foot control, body control, posture, co-ordination, musical understanding, muscle tone and the all-important stamina. Can you march just as well after 90 seconds of marching as you did in the first few steps?

What’s important?

  • Stay on the beat of the music
  • Left foot hits the floor on beats 1 and 3, right foot on beats 2 and 4
  • Straight back, core turned on and no sway back
  • No body movement – the hips, torso and shoulders do not move
  • Chest expanded, head erect, face slightly lifted
  • Legs turn out from the hip but not excessive turnout (don’t march like a duck)
  • Feet are slightly turned out and fully pointed on every step
  • Project forward on every step with the back heel down (this one is really important: your legs should make a perfect triangle on each step)
  • Arms and legs fully extended on each step
  • The angle of the arms match the legs – i.e. 45 degrees
  • For 5-8 years fingers together, for older girls relax the hands slightly
  • Heels together on every corner, hands on the sides of legs and pull up tall
  • Aim for smooth, effortless movement across the floor

What will help me to improve?

  • Stretch your achilles tendon regularly (joins the back of the ankle to the foot)
  • Film yourself and watch it back with a critical eye
  • Ask your teacher what you need to fix
  • Never miss the marching at the start of class
  • Practice doing 3 marches in a row to increase your stamina
  • March to different pieces of music from the BJP marching CDs
  • March behind older girls or someone who you know is a better marcher than you

Common mistakes

  • Lifting the front foot higher than 2 cm off the floor
  • Bouncing up and down
  • Angle of arms and legs not matching
  • Body, hips or shoulders moving

Remember, it doesn’t matter what age you are, if you can march well, you will be in a better position to do the syllabus well and look good doing it!