Photo Essay: The UH Baton Twirler

A biochemistry major entertains crowds with her aerial artistry for the University of Hawaii band.

By Shafkat Anowar /

Emily Dooms warms up for a night of baton twirling to entertain the crowd at a University of Hawaii volleyball game Oct. 7 at the Stan Sheriff Center. She’s been twirling for 18 years and has competed internationally for the United States Twirling Association.

On the court with UH cheerleaders, Dooms gets in some twirling during a lull in the action at the volleyball game. The biochemistry major says of being the school’s feature twirler: “It’s something that I love. It’s like an alternative side of me.”

A week later, Dooms power-naps aboard a bus on the way to UH’s homecoming football game against San Jose State on Oct. 14 at Aloha Stadium.

But hours before the game comes practice with the marching band. Dooms camps beside the stadium’s north exit to prepare. “My makeup, rhinestones and attire transform me into the twirler.”

Dooms synchronizes her performance with the marching band during the gameday practice. “Everyone wants to see the twirler, not Emily.”

It’s 89 degrees, but Dooms keeps her batons airborne.

After two hours of practicing in the sunshine, Dooms takes her timeout seriously.

Finally it’s game time, and Dooms juggles three batons during a break in the action.

Dooms and band members react to a Rainbow Warrior touchdown. The football team ultimately prevailed, 37-26.

Dooms has been twirling since the age of 2, and when she competed internationally, she sometimes practiced 20 or more hours a week.

Dooms wraps up another long day of work at Aloha Stadium.

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