Rhythmic Gymnastics (RG)
Rhythmic gymnastics involves the performance of routines to music using hand apparatus. The apparatus used include rope, hoop, ball, clubs and ribbon, with the younger gymnasts also performing a freehand routine. Rhythmic Gymnastics has a strong dance base to it and ballet training is a vital component for competitive gymnasts in order to achieve a graceful performance.
The sport requires flexibility and hand-eye coordination, as well as strength and fitness. It is a sport which particularly appeals to girls who like to dance to music. Rhythmic gymnastics is an art in which the gymnast has the power to captivate an audience using her originality, flexibility, strength and coordination.
Competitive rhythmic gymnastics follows two streams, Levels and International. Most gymnasts compete in the Levels stream, beginning at level 1 and progressing through to level 10, based on the achievement of key skills at each level. The International stream is for girls who have the natural talent required to compete at the highest level. At DGA we offer the National Levels progreamme. Most gymnasts compete individually, but there is also an option of competing group. The effect of several gymnasts performing at once can also be quite spectacular to watch.
As gymnasts prepare for competition there is an important focus on learning the key body work skills. These include leaps, balances, and rotations. As well as this they must learn how to handle and manipulate the various pieces of apparatus, and then how to combine both the body elements with the apparatus handling. It takes time, patience and a lot of repetition in order for the gymnast to perform these skills with apparent ease. Generally girls learn the ball and hoop routines first, with rope, clubs and ribbon routines focussed on once the gymnast is a little more experienced. .
In New Zealand the competition season runs from May until September. There are several local and provincial competitions for gymnasts to enter, with the season culminating in the National Championships. Gymnast must qualify and be selected to represent Otago and compete at the Nationals, based on their competition results throughout the year.