Baton twirling is an activity involving the manipulation of a metal rod and the human body to a coordinated routine and is similar to rhythmic gymnastics or color guard (flag spinning). Twirling combines dance and gymnastics while manipulating a single baton or multiple batons. It is primarily performed with the accompaniment of music. Fundamental characteristics of the sport include the handling of the baton to create visual images, pictures, and patterns executed with dexterity both close in and around the body and the release of the baton into the air. The discipline requires the simultaneous blending of these fundamental characteristics, utilizing time and space to display both technical merit and artistic expression. Baton twirlers are called majorettes.