October 17, 2018 12:42 AM   Subscribe

Alice Mann has won the 2018 Taylor Wessing photographic portrait prize for her series 'Drummies' featuring South African teams of all-female drum majorettes
posted by fearfulsymmetry (10 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I love this series, thank you - that last photo of the majorette in blue is especially stunning.
posted by ukdanae at 12:46 AM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

So it struck me looking at this that I don't have a sense of how widely marching as a competitive girls' sport exists. Is it everywhere? Is it a commonwealth country thing? It was certainly popular when I grew up in NZ, and I think I've seen it at last occasionally in Australia. The tone of this article suggested they don't necessarily expect readers to be familiar with it though. Is it a thing in North America or do cheerleaders fill that niche instead?
posted by lollusc at 2:52 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

(On the other hand I was not familiar with the term majorette, which made me wonder if that's a translation for Americans)
posted by lollusc at 2:54 AM on October 17, 2018

Based on my US marching band experience, the Drum Majors and Majorettes were only a couple people out of the whole band. And they didn't have flags or anything. They were the ones at the front of the band in parades and conducting/leading from the sideline when on the field. These pictures (except for the uniforms) look more like what would be considered the drill team or flag corps, but it very well could just be a difference in styles between US vs Commonwealth.
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:27 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

From what I've seen, they vary from place to place and over time, too. In the '70s (my high school days), majorettes twirled batons (the drum majorette led the band). You don't see that much anymore. My daughters used flags in the color guard. Others perform with rifles or pompons. "Drill team" might be a good universal term for a visual addition to a marching band, although they often perform (and compete) without the band.
posted by Miss Cellania at 4:28 AM on October 17, 2018

"Drill team" and "flag corps" are now mostly (in the US) referred to as "color guard" and many color guards compete with and without the marching band. Some color guards aren't even affiliated with a band of any sort.
posted by cooker girl at 5:34 AM on October 17, 2018

Yeah I know with professional corps, it's the color guard. For some reason (suspicion: mean-girl logic) in my high school, the drill team and the flag corps were two separate groups, with the Drill Team acting as part of the colorguard for performances with the band but also had fancier costuming (and had prettier, more popular girls) than the flag corps (which had more of the weirdo, unpopular girls). Neither group included the drum majors/majorettes.

Anyways, back to the article, awesome pictures and I love seeing girls doing something they enjoy!
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:23 AM on October 17, 2018

In 1980s Australia where I grew up, this was called ‘Marching Girls’.

I love these photos - thanks for posting.
posted by Salamander at 6:38 AM on October 17, 2018

ukdanae: "I love this series, thank you - that last photo of the majorette in blue is especially stunning."

I love that she's only touched by the sunbeam on her helmet and is standing just behind the light on the floor. It's little touches that really make a portrait work.
posted by octothorpe at 7:08 AM on October 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting this! What an excellent series of portraits. As mentioned above, that last one is particularly beautiful.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 1:27 PM on October 17, 2018

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