THE WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCE: Heather Dremel of Étude World - Episode #2

THE WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCE: Heather Dremel of Étude World - Episode #2

Follow along with Etude World's 2022 WGI season through monthly member vlogs, titled THE WORLD CLASS EXPERIENCE, created by third-year vet Heather Dremel!

Mar 15, 2022 by Natalie Shelton
THE WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCE: Heather Dremel of Étude World - Episode #2

FloMarching's WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCE vlog series aims to bring Flo readers an inside look at world-class marching ensembles. These monthly installments follow members from Étude World and STRYKE Percussion, and will run through WGI World Championship Finals in Dayton, Ohio.


What happens outside of rehearsal?

Believe it or not, we all still exist outside the confines of our rehearsal spaces. 😉

Monday through Friday, from 8:30am-5:30pm, I am a Digital Marketing Manager for a B2B tech company called 7SIGNAL. We are a small team, but we all work very well together. I love my job and where I am at in my career, and I worked really hard to get here. 

I live in a little house on the north side of Charlotte with my two dogs and fiancé, Xavier. He is the most supportive, kind, loving person I have ever met and I am honored to share a life with him. We are getting married in August of this year (just under 6 months from now) and I cannot wait. 

Beyond my work and personal life, colorguard is still a part of my daily life. I consider it my second job, and at this level, it is important to treat it as such.

To keep my stamina up I try to run at least 10 minutes per day, almost always to my show music. This is to make sure my body is staying active through the week, so that when I’m a sprinting unicorn Friday-Sunday my lungs don’t give out. 

We also spin together a lot during the week. I got kicked out of my local YMCA because spinning in the racquetball courts is not a “racquetball activity,” so I have been spinning at Marvin Ridge High School with several of my castmates. It’s honestly way better to be with my teammates through the week, so we can take things together, give each other feedback, and of course – hype each other up!

What happens if when you hurt yourself?

Our activity is inherently dangerous. Especially as you enter a more advanced level, tosses and choreography can get tricky. Obviously, being technical, analytical, and reflective is all part of preventing injuries, but sometimes you just catch something weird – it’s kind of inevitable. 

After our first show weekend, I realized that I had a wee bit of an injury on my left hand. I caught my flag between my middle and ring finger like a yahoo. Although I was able to keep going through rehearsal, the next day, my hand swelled up big time. 

It’s important to understand your body and how to deal with such things. It is also important to communicate. If you think something is a real problem, tell your staff. Quick healing is important, but you also need to be realistic with yourself to ensure long-term success. So, I took off spinning a couple days so that I could ice it and take plenty of ibuprofen before I tried to spin again. Luckily, when I did spin again a few days later, I was able to get through my choreography book without major issues!

Let’s talk expectations

This was our first official regional. It was also the premiere of our full uniforms and flag silks. It ended up being a very reflective weekend for myself, and for the entire staff and membership of Etude. And, it’s all about expectations. 

What do you expect from yourself?

You need to start with a conversation inward. Ask yourself the important, and often difficult questions. Why are you here? What brought you here? What are your goals for the season? Paint the big picture for yourself. But know that it’s not just the big questions that matter. 

When you are struggling and getting frustrated in rehearsal, ask yourself: 1. Why am I frustrated? 2. What can I do to make this better? 3. How is this affecting the people around me? 

When you can’t figure out the toss, ask yourself: 1. Am I breathing? (seriously) 2. What information have I been given? 3. What is my tendency, and what is causing that? 4. Who can I ask to watch me do this toss and give me helpful feedback?

These are just some examples of conversations I have with myself constantly. The point is that being a world class performer requires a lot of self awareness and oftentimes, humility. You’re not always right. You need to stay extremely flexible and malleable. You need to trust your staff. You need to never give up. 

What does the staff expect from you?

Your staff expects similar things that you should be expecting from yourself. They expect you to be receptive. They expect you to be eager. They expect you to communicate (this is a BIG one). I promise that your staff is not in this “industry” for the money. They are there because they adore this activity, the program, and YOU. 

What do your castmates expect from you?

Yup, your castmates have expectations, too. They auditioned for the program to march beside someone like you. Your castmates are going to expect you to be as much of a team player as they are. It’s about buy-in. It is extremely important that everyone work together and just be willing to do whatever it is that the staff is asking. At the world class level, you’re going to be asked to do some crazy stuff. But, the staff is not doing it because they just felt like it. So, it goes back to being receptive and spreading that energy between your castmates. It’s easier to buy-in when everyone is on board. 

What does the audience expect from you?

I say this in the vlog, but the audience doesn’t care if you’re tired, or hungry, or if you’re performing the show for the 8th time that day. They paid to see you. They came for a world class experience. It is our job to deliver the same exact experience to every audience that sits down and hears the announcer say our name. 

So, what is the common denominator between all these expectations? Excellence. Your staff, castmates, and audiences expect it… and you should demand excellence of yourself. 

Thanks again for reading my story. Next time, we have a local circuit show – our last show before circuit championships! I’ll see you then.