Throughout high school, I was a member of the drill team. In addition to the extremely stylish boots, flashy hats, leotards with fringe, and sequined overlays, drill team also involved some dancing. We would practice 10 out of 12 months a year, only taking breaks only over the Christmas holiday and in the middle of July. We had practice up to 5 days a week for hours at a time. We marched, we leapt, we spun, we ran, and we kicked. I especially remember the kicking.
We had our try-out kick routine, our boot camp kick routine, our football season kick routine, and one final kick routine that we ended our spring show with. If we were late, we kicked. If we wore the wrong uniform, we kicked. For every demerit, we would do high kicks up and down the length of our gym. Considering my penchant for being fashionably late and my tendency to forget everything, all the time, I got to kick a lot.
Then, I graduated. I kept dancing, but not in an organized, performance sort of way. I switched to social dancing: swing, blues, ballroom, etc. East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop replaced turns and leaps, and the Charleston edged out high kicks. I don't think I've really kicked since April of 2006, right before the three seniors took our final bow and exited the stage for the last time.
One thing I miss about drill team is the sheer muscle training of it. Social dancing can work up a sweat and be a great cardio, but nothing tones your legs quite like hours of kicking. In an effort to reclaim the gams I donned in high school, I decided to pull on my old white boots (not literally) and try my hand at an old routine. Given that it has been nearly 5 years since the last time I'd done this particular routine, I'm actually surprised at how well I remembered it (I have an extremely selective memory; I cant remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but dance routines from 5 years ago? No problem.) What did not surprise me was just how bad I have become at high kicks. I guess a 5 year break will do that. I was panting after only a few 8-counts. I kept at it, though. And do you know what? Four days later, my legs were still punishing me. Perhaps I should have stretched first.
Were you ever on any sort of performance team? Have you ever tried picking up an old hobby after a long break? Did else's older sister break her nose once from some too-high high kicks?
Photograph of a Kilgore Rangerette