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Rhythmic Gymnastics

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I bet you don’t know what rhythmic gymnastics is. Most people don’t. When I tell people that I do rhythmic gymnastics, there are two main responses that I get. One is the blank look that seems to be saying, “Don’t know, don’t care...” and the other is the excited, “Oooh can you do a back flip??” Both of these responses annoy me. First of all, rhythmic gymnastics is not about doing flips. When I tell people that we don’t do flips in rhythmic, they immediately become uninterested.

If people would listen, I would tell them that rhythmic gymnastics is much more than flips. I usually describe it as a combination of ballet and gymnastics. If you’ve ever watched the Olympics, maybe you’ve seen it. We do a combination of dance steps, flexibility skills, balances, turns, and leaps in a routine to music, all the while handling an apparatus. There are six different apparatuses that you can use in rhythmic. They are ribbon, clubs, rope, ball, hoop, and floor.

A ribbon is a 6 meter long, 2.5 inch wide ribbon attached to the end of a stick. You hold the stick in your hand and twirl the ribbon in different patterns such as spirals throughout the routine, always keeping the end of the ribbon off of the ground. You can color your ribbon using Sharpies to match your leotard or music.

Clubs are plastic or rubber mallets that are about one foot long each. You hold two of them in your routine and you have to toss and catch one or both, twirl them around each other, tap them together or on the ground, etc. You can put colored tape around your clubs to match your leotard or music.

A rope is jump rope made of actual rope, not plastic. In a rope routine, you jump through the rope, circle it in your hands, toss it, and more.

A hoop is like a hula hoop, but without those beads in it that make noise. In a hoop routine, you toss the hoop, circle it around your hand, body, or head, twirl it, spin it on the ground, and more. You can tape your hoop with colored tape to match your leotard or music.

A rhythmic gymnastics routine is about 1.30 minutes long. Rhythmic gymnasts wear leotards with skirts that are kind of like ice skating costumes. You can wear a different leotard for each routine and gymnasts try to coordinate their music and apparatuses with their leotards. There are 10 levels in rhythmic gymnastics, and the first competitive level is level 3. In each level, you learn four routines with four different apparatuses. Which apparatuses you get to use depends on the year.

In a rhythmic gymnastics routine, you have to do 8-12 skills. Skills are either a flexibility move, a balance in a position, a turn in a position, or a leap/jump. There is a book of skills for each level that you can choose from, and you have to integrate the skills in your routine with dance steps and transitions and make it all fit the music!

I hope I haven’t bored everyone to death, and I hope I’ve taught you something about rhythmic gymnastics. I think it is a challenging but fun sport and maybe you’ll try it sometime! So, the next time someone says something about rhythmic gymnastics (not that anyone would) you’ll be informed!





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athletegkb44 said...
Aug. 3, 2011 at 8:36 pm
Interesting! I'm an artistic gymnast, but when I see all the rhythmic gymnastics pictures, I think, Wow, they are soooooo flexible. I enjoy watching it! I don't know of many rhythmic gymnasts. That's so cool. I get those same blank looks when I talk about my artistic gymnastics, too! Good info!
 
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