The chair step is a type of high step used by marching bands. This step is named because of the resemblance of the leg in action to a leg's position when sitting in a chair. It is primarily used by bands that brand themselves as traditional-style bands. Nearly all bands in the Big Ten Conference use this style. It is also common in Midwestern high school marching bands, most of which are heavily influenced by Big Ten bands.
The chair step is very visual and emphasizes leg movement with a slight pause in each step, during which the thigh of the action leg may raise to as high as parallel to the ground, with the lower part of the leg and foot remaining perpendicular to the ground. As with the ankle knee step, the toe is the last part of the foot to leave the ground and the first to reconnect. One element of chair step highlighted by many bands is a horn flip or swagger that is executed during the march.
Some bands, such as the University of Minnesota Marching Band, will bend the leg at the knee at a 90-degree angle during the game, and a 45-degree angle during parades. Still others, such as the Purdue All-American Marching Band will use a combination of the two.
The University of Wisconsin Marching Band uses a unique version where the leg is brought up extremely quickly and pauses at the height of the step. This more physically demanding style is known as "stop at the top."
University Bands that use the chair step
- Purdue All-American Marching Band (Purdue University)
- Penn State Blue Band (Pennsylvania State University)
- Indiana University Marching Hundred (Indiana University)
- The Pride of Minnesota (University of Minnesota)
- The Ohio State University Marching Band (Ohio State University)
- University of Wisconsin Marching Band (University of Wisconsin)
- Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band (Michigan State University)
- Michigan Marching Band (University of Michigan)
- Northwestern Wildcat Marching Band (Northwestern University)
- Iowa State University Cyclone Football "Varsity" Marching Band (Iowa State University)
- Hawkeye Marching Band (University of Iowa)
- University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band (University of Nebraska)
- Band of the Fighting Irish (The University of Notre Dame)
- Marching Chiefs (Florida State University)
- University of California Marching Band (University of California, Berkeley)
- Spirit of Troy (University of Southern California)
- University of Washington Husky Marching Band (University of Washington)
- Pride of the Southland Band (University of Tennessee)
- California Aggie Marching Band-uh (University of California, Davis)
- Smith, G. (2003) The System: Marching Band Methods. Savoy, IL: Smith.
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