March 10, 2017
Rendering of the new UAB College of Arts and Sciences building March 13, 2017

A marching band makes the music, but there’s another key element to a great halftime show: The majorettes, color guard and dance teams who bring the flash to the field.

Auxiliary groups add another element of energy and fun to the halftime show, and anyone who has ever twirled or danced alongside a marching band will attest to the discipline required to participate and the lessons learned from the experience.

As a member of the Dorians, Mountain Brook High School’s dance team, Mary Ansley Gilbert remembers the rewards and well as the lessons of those years. “Learning what teamwork looks like at that age, and learning to listen to each other as you try to come together for a common goal – those were extremely valuable takeaways for me,” she says.

“And one of the biggest takeaways was learning to recover from mistakes,” she adds. “I think we can all remember being out there and suddenly blanking on the routine or dropping a prop. When you do, you learn to just pick up and keep going, with a smile. That’s a great life skill for anyone.”

Performing with the marching band made the dance line part of something bigger, she says. And now she’s part of the next big thing happening in Birmingham – the area now known as Midtown, where retail, restaurants and residences are popping up between the UAB campus and the city center around Railroad Park, Rotary Trail and Regions Field. She works in leasing and property management for 20 Midtown, a massive mixed-use development along 20th Street South that includes the new Publix grocery store.

“We would not be here without UAB,” she says. “It’s the driving factor in the growth of this area, and means so much to the entire city. UAB employees, students, grad students and residents have created the demand for what we can offer. It’s an exciting time, and there’s even more to come.”

To support the UAB Marching Blazers New Uniforms for #TheReturn, click here