Diane Sorvillo, baton twirling majorette for over 60 years, continues to teach and inspire local twirlers.
By Eva Sanders
The sport of baton twirling is a combination of athleticism, flexibility, dance and artistry. Dianne Sorvillo can attest to this statement since she has been a majorette for over 60 years.
Sorvillo was inspired to try the sport at the age of 8 when she spotted a neighbor twirling her baton outside. She then joined the same baton twirling group as her neighbor and decided to become a soloist by the age of 10. She entered district competitions in 1961 when she was just 11 years old. She went on to win the ultimate title of Majorette Queen of America in 1971.
“Baton twirling has been basically, most of my life. I enjoyed the competition aspect and then I went into teaching. I really enjoy helping to spread the love of our sport to other kids,” Sorvillo stated.
At the age of 16, Sorvillo decided to become a junior baton coach, to earn money to buy her own car. Her goal was to make some extra cash while sharing her passion with others.
To this day, Sorvillo is still actively teaching the art of baton twirling and is the current President of Drum Majorettes of America (DMA). Sorvillo teaches students ages 3-18 years of age at the Hernando County Recreation Center Brooksville. DMA is an organization that has been hosting competitions since 1947.
Sorvillo stated, “Once baton gets into your blood, it’s there for the rest of your life.”
When this organization was first established, the competitors were predominantly male. Now the sport is female-dominated.
Sorvillo has observed many changes, as the sport has evolved. “The level of difficulty has increased tremendously. The kids are much more athletic these days.”
DMA was the first association to separate their twirlers by skill levels such as beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Since then, newcomer, special beginner, and elite levels have been added to accommodate all of the competing members. DMA is home to some of the largest team competitions, including but not limited to baton twirling, dance twirling, pom lines, and strut.
As for Sorvillo, she plans on continuing to be involved in DMA in years to come and to ensure their continued growth and success. The baton twirling community has changed tremendously, amid the pandemic.
“It has forced not only DMA but other organizations to cancel contests,” Sorvillo stated.
College twirlers will likely be hit the hardest since the Fall sport of football has officially been postponed. Twirl associations like DMA are hosting virtual contests to make up for the lack of in-person events. Despite the sport’s current state, Sorvillo remains hopeful for the future.
“We are trying to remain as optimistic as we can. Once COVID is over, we hope to return to some normalcy in terms of competitions.”
In conclusion, Sorvillo, along with the sport of baton, do not plan on going anywhere in the coming years. Her legacy will remain standing, no matter what the future holds.
Diane Sorvillo teaches baton twirl to all levels on Tuesday evenings for the Hernando Parks and Recreation Center located at Kennedy Park, Brooksville. For more information and to register call (352) 212-6077.