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I often read that corps are 'layering' or that the 'layering' is very good in a show. Can someone more current or knowledgeable in the activity please explain and cite examples?

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My take on it:

It's really mostly a buzzword to make yourself feel better that your corps of choice is going to be making additions to a show that makes them more competitive. 

I think it really just refers to the fact that some shows change a lot over the course of a season (Crown and BD 2015) while others change very little (Bluecoats 2016, 2017). A layer is just a weird way of saying that something in a show didn't make much sense and so a certain visual change or addition of narration, guard characters, etc added clarity. Or a certain musical phrase lacked complexity in dynamics or texture or proper resolution and it was added in later on over the course of a season. 

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I think it is used pretty loosely but, a little different from Cappy's take, I have always had the sense that is that it refers to the kind of changes and additions that were part of the plan all along, or at least within the nature of the kind of changes that were expected to be made, more so than "OMG what have we done, we have to come up with something else" kind of changes, which might be more likely to be referred to as "rewrites" or something else. 

My sense could be totally wrong though.  It often is.

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25 minutes ago, mfrontz said:

I often read that corps are 'layering' or that the 'layering' is very good in a show. Can someone more current or knowledgeable in the activity please explain and cite examples?

 Basically it means early on Corps have what might be termed " the bones " of the show out on the field. The later Brass" layering " might involve taking the original brass arrangement and adding nuance to it, changing the dynamics of it, or adding notes to it, and so forth. Early on Shows do not always have the Guards fully integrated into the shows, so Guards begin to add more movement, more dance, more tosses. more flags as a " layering " enhancement to the overall initial  show design,... Props begin to be utilized in more comprehensive fashions with marcher additions on them, or more colors added to the props, and so forth. Sometimes the theme needs more messaging coherence, so measures are taken to add more clarity to the message with additional methods to convey the theme at the end. Corps will change a closer. or even add a closer to the earlier show they had on the field initially.

 All this said, the notion that there will be substantive upward movements in scores. placements as a result of " layering " of the shows is not really supported by history. Sometimes " layering" additions work. Sometimes they don't. Oftentimes however, it really does not move the scores/ placements all that much. We'll read/ hear about a late season change that catapults a Corps to a big score pick up by Championships. But by and large these tend to be outliers. Essentially, the Show a Corps puts out on the field in June is the Main Meal and its mostly that which is going to be assessed for the vast majority of these Corps when it comes to Show Designs.

Edited by BRASSO
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2 minutes ago, BRASSO said:

 Basically it means early on Corps have what might be termed " the bones " of the show out on the field. The later Brass" layering " might involve taking the original brass arrangement and adding nuance to it, changing the dynamics of it, or adding notes to it, and so forth. Early on Shows do not always have the Guards fully integrated into the shows, so Guards begin to add more movement, more dance, more tosses. more flags as a " layering " enhancement to the overall initial  show design,... Props begin to be utilized in more comprehensive fashions with marcher additions on them, or more colors added to the props, and so forth. Sometimes the theme needs more messaging coherence, so measures are taken to add more clarity to the message with additional methods to convey the theme at the end. Corps will change a closer. or even add a closer to the earlier show they had on the field initially.

 All this said, the notion that there will be substantive upward movements in scores. placements as a result of " layering " of the shows is not really supported by history. Sometimes " layering" additions work. Sometimes they don't. Oftentimes however, it really does not move the scores/ placements all that much. We'll read/ hear about a late season change that catapults a Corps to a big score pick up by Indy. But by and large these tend to be outliers. Essentially, the Show a Corps puts out on the field in June is the Main Meal that is going to be assessed for the vast majority of these Corps when it comes to Show Designs.

I think it does impact scores, just not always placements so much because everyone else is doing it, too.  But I do think it can make a different whether a corps is "layering" wisely, efficiently, and effectively, and whether a show design lends itself to being their being able to do so.  

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12 minutes ago, skevinp said:

I think it is used pretty loosely but, a little different from Cappy's take, I have always had the sense that is that it refers to the kind of changes and additions that were part of the plan all along, or at least within the nature of the kind of changes that were expected to be made, more so than "OMG what have we done, we have to come up with something else" kind of changes, which might be more likely to be referred to as "rewrites" or something else. 

My sense could be totally wrong though.  It often is.

You conveyed this a lot better than I did. I didn't mean to make it sound like a corps accidentally put out a barebones show and then had to make corrections. I very much agree that more often than not, the additions that are made to add clarity to a show are purposeful and planned while some are inspired by feedback from judges

Edited by Cappybara

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2 minutes ago, skevinp said:

I think it does impact scores, just not always placements so much because everyone else is doing it, too.  But I do think it can make a different whether a corps is "layering" wisely, efficiently, and effectively, and whether a show design lends itself to being their being able to do so.  

 True. Just about all Corps will be adding stuff throughout the course of the season, and some more efficiently than others, So a Corps neck and neck with another in point spreads can make changes that can make a difference.

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14 minutes ago, Cappybara said:

You conveyed this a lot better than I did. I didn't mean to make it sound like a corps accidentally put out a barebones show and then had to make corrections. I very much agree that more often than not, the additions that are made to add clarity to a show are purposeful and planned while some are inspired by feedback from judges

 " Layering " is adding to " what is "  Its not to be confused with " rewrites ".

 " Rewrites " are far more risky. The longer the " rewrite " in the show, the higher the risk too. They are time consuming, and take time to clean. It means also " opps... we goofed a bit, and quickly need to scrap what we have and do a " rewrite "" . The numbers of times "rewrites " work out as planned over the years is.... well... ask the Cadets... lol. There are examples where " rewrites " work out with higher scores, but more often times than not, it only put the marchers through unnecessary stress and effort, with ultimately little to show for the " rewrite " exercise in the end. Not always.. but usually.

Edited by BRASSO
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Also, layering could perhaps be the word for 2018, as in "man, you are layering the arugula aplenty".

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I'd say layering = Blue Knights 2015 "Because."  It came on the field for weeks without the closer largely because of weather during their spring camp making it hard to get everything together. Even when they got it added on, all the 'parts' were there but the transitions were musically awkward making it a show with potential and performed with talent, but ... somewhat incoherent.  In addition, the guard work was not fully nuanced. The number of flag changes and their integration into the corps wasn't where it ended up.  But come finals, that show was amazing.  It had a musical coherence that tied together its strangeness from start to finish.  The guard was pouring color out from behind those mirrors with so many flag changes it was bewildering.  That show grew so well and developed so much nuance.

Fixing = BAC 2014 "Animal Farm" (although this got layered through the season as well, and perhaps a layer too many for finals.)  Early season they had this drill move early in the show that just wasn't working. It was a mess that wasn't reading well at all.  At the Ft. Wayne show, they debuted a complete fix where they put in that block that does the motion shift over 10 yards.  I remember hearing one of the judges in the box blurt out something like "Yes, that works! You actually made something of that."  

Then there's Cadets 2016....

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