by Penny Evans
Penny Evans began this project by meeting with 20 young girls from The Zodiacs, a local cheerleader/majorette troupe situated in Knowle West. The film is edited together from research and development footage taken over several months. It portrays the rehearsal lessons of the girls practicing their baton twirling, in the local community hall.
"I had been thinking about making a film about majorettes for some time. I met three women - the Grandmother and her two daughters who ran the troop, across the road from the media centre. There are a lot of majorettes in Knowle West, and I wanted to find out why they do it, and document it. But of course it turns out they're not majorettes at all. They're baton twirlers.
These women had developed the troupe against a lot of adverse conditions, most of them are single mums. They are strong characters, the group is for the young girls, but they were also doing it for themselves. I was interested in where the creative edge for baton twirling is coming from. The influences are very traditional, I went thinking the inspiration was going to be Britney Spears, but the influence had come very strongly from the Grandmother who is a Tiller girl and, it turned out was a ballet and dance teacher. The daughters had obviously done forms of dance and jive and were very good dancers themselves. I discovered that the really interesting aspects of the group dynamics and activities are the details, the things that happen on sidelines, things that are barely perceptible."
Commissioned by Picture This and Knowle West Media Centre, and supported by the Lottery through the Film Council’s First Light initiative and Aardman.