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.
The chair step emphasizes leg movement with a sharp pop on each step, during which the thigh of the action leg may raise as high as parallel to the ground, with the lower part of the leg and foot remaining out. As with the ankle knee step, the toe is the last part of the foot to leave the ground and the first to reconnect.
This is the basic step used for most field marching in traditional style bands. Most bands, such as the University of Minnesota Marching Band, will emphasize that the knee be at a 90-degree angle. Other bands, such as the University of Wisconsin Marching Band (seen pictured) will use a 45-degree angle.
One element of chair step highlighted by many bands is a horn flip that is executed during the march.
Chair step is also very common in Midwestern high school marching bands, most of which are heavily influenced by Big Ten bands. This style clearly defines the march, and is easy to learn.
Stop at the Top
While most marching bands execute the chair step in a smooth continuous motion, some marching bands emphasize a pause at the height of the step. This makes for a more physically demanding marching style as well as a more dynamic appearance. The University of Wisconsin Marching Band is the only band in the Big-10 that uses the Stop at the Top. In the Pac-12, however, the University of California Marching Band performs a similar style, as well.
Bands that use Chair Step
- University of California Marching Band
- Purdue All-American Marching Band (Purdue University)
- Indiana University Marching Hundred (Indiana University)
- Marching Illini (University of Illinois)
- Penn State Blue Band (The Pennsylvania State University)
- The Pride of Minnesota (University of Minnesota)
- The Ohio State University Marching Band
- University of Wisconsin Marching Band
- Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band
- Michigan Marching Band (University of Michigan)
- Northwestern Wildcat Marching Band (Northwestern)
- Hawkeye Marching Band (University of Iowa)
- Band of the Fighting Irish (The University of Notre Dame)
- Marching Chiefs (Florida State University)
- Spirit of Troy (University of Southern California)
- University of Washington Husky Marching Band (University of Washington)
- The Ohio University Marching 110 (Ohio University)
- Smith, G. (2003) The System: Marching Band Methods. Savoy, IL: Smith.
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