Callyn Marvell was diagnosed with Spina Bifida (birth defect affecting the spinal cord) and had to go through surgeries when she was 3 months old to 4 years old. She admitted that her left leg is numb and incapable of any reflexes due to the surgeries, but her love for twirling has kept her persistent toward her goal.
“My flexibility was affected by the surgeries and my ligaments in my ankles are very stretched out. I had to overcome certain flexibility constrictions, but my coach helped me through this very easily,” Marvell said.
In order to twirl, she played the flute throughout high school. Playing the flute helped Marvell sync her twirling with a marching band routine.
Marvell, a freshman at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, is the new baton twirler for this football season.
Marvell was seven when she started baton twirling. It started through receiving a flyer for pom-pom and baton twirling in her elementary school. As of now, Marvell wishes to make a lot of friends and focus on her grades to get into the nursing school.
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While asking for advice to the future twirlers Callyn Marvell mentions “never give up on your dreams, keep pushing yourself to do your best and at the end of the day you will be achieving so much than the previous day."
Callyn Marvell mentions her back constantly hurt due to the surgery, but she does not do anything special to help her back before a performance. She added if her back hurts, she puts biofreeze.
“I went through a very long audition process, I sent my audition video and my twirling resume and waiting a couple of months before I received an answer," Callyn Marvell said. She received advice from former baton twirlers Emilly Dooms and Kelly Simeck.
Callyn Marvell warms up with her 3 batons before she starts the main part of the practice with the Marching Band at the T.C. Ching Field.
Callyn Marvell mentioned that her biggest achievement is her top 10 placements at nationals and her many top five placements.
Callyn Marvell on her stand position before she starts practicing with the UH Marching Band.
Callyn Marvell mentioned that she likes to do calligraphy in her free time when she is not twirling or doing homework.
Callyn Marvell practices twice a week before football games on Saturday.
There is a lot of dance incorporated in twirling and Callyn Marvell claims she needs to be pretty flexible to do the dancing parts well. “My coach has helped me to look my best and has taught me all of the dance I need to know," Marvell said.
“I have no reflexes in my left foot, my whole left side is super tight due to the surgeons fixing my spine with my muscles," Callyn Marvell, UH Baton Twirler, said.