Danielle Seamon / Lantern reporter
For twirlers who have led parades and twirled in baton teams in their hometowns, a group of Ohio State students created Buckeye Twirl as a means to pursue their passion for twirling throughout their college careers. After a short hiatus, the club has recently reestablished itself as an official student organization.
“I’ve twirled since I was 10,” said Elizabeth Egert, a third-year in psychology and member of Buckeye Twirl. “I loved doing it in high school, and then I kind of gave up twirling in college because Ohio State doesn’t have any twirlers. I wanted to continue doing this (twirling), so I would randomly go outside my dorm and twirl. I thought it would be fun to get a group of girls together to do it.”
Egert initiated OSU’s first baton club during the 2010-2011 school year by printing and handing out fliers to interested participants. Although there was much interest and excitement from other twirlers around campus, the club never became official due to unstructured meetings, Egert said.
However when Anna Lendl, a first-year in communication and Buckeye Twirl member, came to OSU last fall, she collaborated with Egert to re-establish the organization.
“I saw Liz (Egert) carrying a baton bag on the Oval,” Lendl said. “I was coming back from my German class, and I was like, ‘Wait, wait. Hi, I’m Anna, I see you have batons, and I’d really like to start a baton club.’ And she was like, ‘Oh, yeah, well I’m twirling with these girls at 12:30 today right after my class.’ We didn’t even twirl that day, we just sat and brainstormed about what we wanted the club to be like.”
Egert and Lendl began to recruit more members through mutual friends and the club’s Facebook page, Buckeye Twirlers. To make the club an official student organization, Lendl asked Tim Valentine, an Arts Scholars Program Manager, to advise the club due to his past experience as a twirling coach and an assistant color guard coordinator for several high schools.
“I said I would advise (the club) because I know there is a lot of people that came into college from their high school band that have twirled, and they are looking for a way to connect with other people that do that,” Valentine said. “What student organizations do is connect people … so in a way, what interested me was helping people connect.”
Buckeye Twirl meets from 7 to 8 p.m. every Wednesday and Sunday night in the RPAC. During meetings, the members stretch, practice, share tricks and work on routines. Many of the girls are trained to throw up to three batons at the same time as well as fire batons and even knives, and they hope to incorporate such tricks into future performances. They are currently constructing a routine for Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger.”
“(The routine) we are doing right now is called a dance twirl,” said Meg Kelly, a second-year in animal sciences and Buckeye Twirl member. “It’s meant to be on stage and in front of groups of people rather than marching down a row in a parade.”
The club hopes to perform at different venues around campus, and members are currently reaching out to events such as Buckeyethon and half-time at basketball games to seek out performance opportunities. Members are also planning to do a flash-mob-like presentation during Spring Quarter.
“I think one of their goals is to do some outdoor performing for people so people can say, ‘Oh, who is this?'” Valentine said. “I was calling it a flash performance where people are wandering across the Oval and you see maybe 15 people twirling batons, which I just think would be hilarious and fun. How random would that be if there was a parade of batons across campus, and I’m in the background with a boom box?”
Although the club is still in the early stages of development, the plan is to make the organization not only a place for experienced twirlers to gather, but also a learning opportunity for those who want to pick up twirling themselves. The members are in talks of one day making a “novice” team for beginners, which would include lessons and level-appropriate routines to implement new skills.
“We want to open it up to people who want to come every couple meetings, play around and learn how to twirl more, and if they like it, they can come back and actually learn how to do it,” Egert said.
Current club members are proud of their new organization, and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with constructing new routines and sharing their love for the sport. Buckeye Twirl welcomes new members, and points people to its Facebook page for more information about involvement and future meetings.
“It’s just really fun,” Lendl said. “Everyone I’ve met who is a twirler is just really nice. I’ve never had a catty experience with a twirler, where in a lot of performance sports, it can be really catty because there is so few of us. Everyone wants each other to succeed.”