So what’s all this talk about pacing? At this point in the season, you may have heard the term ‘pacing’ as part of your General Effect feedback. It truly is an important benchmark in the General Effect criteria given that it is listed second in the Repertoire section on the WGI sheets.
But before I move any further, let me define the word ‘pacing’ as it is used in our activity. Pacing speaks to when and where planned effects occur in a show and often determines the flow, or rhythm, of effects that are delivered through the show design. However something that is often overlooked when considering pacing is what happens between the effects. If one understands that everything on the gym floor is constantly being compared and evaluated, then it would seem that the evolution of effects becomes almost as important as the effect itself. Most often we refer to these between moments as transition, either between ideas or equipment.
A few years ago, I had the honor of interviewing Karl Lowe for a WGASC webinar that focused on his creative process over the years with the World Class guard, Fantasia. One of the many things that came out of that is the fact that the pacing of his shows is a total compilation of effects and developmental moments. He referenced transitions as developmental moments! It spoke to creating a whole show that is designed with effects that are appropriately placed based on musical or design influence which are strongly supported by developmental (throw out that word ‘transitional’) moments. If you think of pacing in this way, the chances are that pacing will work to your benefit and not against it.
One more thought on pacing before I close. Often times we get caught up in the word “flow” within the definition of pacing. The word suggests sequencing or an expectation of progression. The development between effects acts as a connective matter that holds the whole of your program together. However, this flow does not always have to occur via an expected design. Development can be created through opposition or conflict that could possibly heighten the effect of which it precedes or follows. I guess what I am trying to say is that there is more than one way to create a successful and strong sense of pacing within your show.
When and if you hear the word pacing as a part of commentary realize that while it does directly speak to the placement and success of effects within your show, you may also need to look at bit closer to determine if you have developed into the effects in a manner that suggests a perspective that everything is constantly being evaluated and compared; not just the ‘big’ moments.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Chris Casteel is an adjudicator with the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). She was an instructor in the activity for approximately 20 years before moving into adjudication. She teaches Language Arts and Writing at a middle school in San Marcos, CA and is also a mentor teacher for the school. She holds a BA degree in Education, a California Teaching Credential and a Masters degree in education. Thanks to Chris Casteel for sharing her ideas and for WGASC for allowing the republication of her articles on this website for instructors outside of the WGASC circuit.