Encyclopedia of Sport: Every sport from around the world

Winter Guard

Winter guard is an indoor sport of the color guard discipline in which teams perform several routines using supporting equipment to recorded background music. The sport, invented in the United States, was derived from various acts performed during military ceremonies.

Flags, rifles, and sabers are the three primary pieces of equipment used in winter guard. Teams demonstrate their technical ability in using this equipment during their routines. Teams also include dance moves into their routines. Depending on the type of music, one of the styles, contemporary, modern, lyrical, jazz, or ballet is chosen.

The number of members on a team varies from a few to about 45. Each team has a captain who leads the performances. Winter guard teams have two major classifications, Scholastic and Independent, both have which have multiple subclasses.

The duration of shows performed depends on the team classifications. In competitions, each team is allotted a fixed amount of time for the initial setup and teardown. Five minutes are allocated for the main routine. Penalties are imposed if teams exceed the allotted time. Teams are judged based on creativity, execution, precision, talent, and orchestration, to decide the winner.

WGI World Championships is the highest level competition conducted for Winter Guard.

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