Thursday, February 07, 2008

And Now for Something a Little Different: The Dance Guards 

Posted by James at 4:04 PM ET

Our friend Michael Fischer who did such a great job covering the NFLE Cheerleaders is back with some great photos of "Dance Guards". The best way I can describe it would be if the NFL awarded Colonial Williamsburg a franchise and then they decided to have a stunt team.

I'll let Michael explain:

More news from Germany! We are fully jazzed here in the Metropolis of Rhein, Main and Donau (River countries). All carnival revelers are dressed up and celebrating the fifth season - the carnival session 2008. In previous centuries the Rheinland was occupied by French troops of Napoleon and then by Prussian soldiers. At this time it was not a good idea for a civilian make critical political statements. In order to make a joke, some funny boys with soldier uniforms would march on the streets. Blue/white for French uniforms and red/white for Prussian. And thus, the carnival was born.

Dance Guards

Cheerleaders & Dance Guards will attend the Rosenmontagszug (Shrove Monday Moving = the biggest carnival event) in the strongholds Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Mainz.

We see a kind of dance formations in ancient costumes of 18th Century. They are called Tanzgarden (dance guards, guardists, guard dance). The guards support the carnival corps. They won my interest and I shot pictures of them. I sent the cheerleader and dance guards photos to a photo colleague for his website. He said me dance guards have nothing to do with Cheerleaders. I couldn´t agree, because I found a lot of parallels/analogies between guard dance and cheerleading. I´m learning now the basics of guard dance. The guard dance is structured in the following parts:

March - straight elegant dance with various combinations of footsteps. The main focus is synchronization and precision

Polka - folklore elements of jump and modified footsteps of classical ballet

Modern - Jazz dance. Mix dance of American modern and European ballet. The diversity and interactions of motions are underlined with colors and close-fitting costumes, which sweep the viewers eye.

Showdance - A mix of guard dance and other dance steps, Show dance has themes ever. props, special costumes or stage decorations are usual.

More Photos in the gallery and be sure to check out Michael's new Dance Guard website here.