top of page

What is Baton Twirling?

Baton twirling is a sport that combines dance and gymnastics while manipulating one, two, or three batons at the same time.  Baton twirling first got its start in Europe and Asia. It originally derived from the military where rifles and maces were twirled. After World War II interest in twirling increased and twirling transitioned from a military exercise into sport and entertainment. Baton twirling became popular in parades.​You can get involved recreationally through local groups, twirl for a school or college, or compete on a competitive level.

The sport of baton twirling came to North America with Major Reuben Webster Millsaps. He is responsible for creating baton twirling when he established Millsaps College in the state of Mississippi after the Civil War.

Many countries have their own national twirling organizations but there are 3 governing bodies that are recognized.  These are the World Baton Twirling Federation (WBTF), the World Twirling Association (WTA), and the Global Alliance of National Baton Twirling and Majorette Associations (NBTA).  The United States is a member of the WBTF. 

The Unites States Twirling Association was founded in 1958.  The USTA is the only association to elect its members through membership

Today twirling combines dance, coordination, agility, and flexibility in amazing routines viewed around the world.  There are now majorettes that twirl in bands and twirlers who march in parades.


There are even several organizations where you can competitively twirl on a local, regional, national, or international level. Click on the organization links below to learn more about competitions in your area. 

Twirling Organizations


Collegiate Twirling

Beyond the friendships you'll forge with other twirlers and members of the band, you may get to travel to other parts of the country, performing for spectators in support of your school. Some schools also provide financial support and scholarships for collegiate twirlers.

bottom of page