What is Rhythmic Gymnastics?

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.

The sport requires excellent 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.

Most girls begin rhythmic gymnastics in a recreational class. Following this they can progress to entering competition. 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.

Most gymnasts compete individually, but there is also an option of competing in a pair, trio or group. This is known as multiples and it is a wonderful way to gain skills and confidence within a team situation. 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, flexions and pirouettes. 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.

Girls generally start learning the freehand, hoop and rope routines first, with ball, clubs and ribbon routines once the gymnast is a little more experienced. The key apparatus skills with the hoop and rope include skipping, rolls, throws, swings, circles, figures of eight and rotations.

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 from Level 4 upwards must qualify and be selected to compete at the Nationals, based on their competition results throughout the year.

Learn about our Rhythmic Gymnastics Classes

Gymnasts posing in Aspire practice space

New gymnasts are welcome to trial and start at any time throughout the year.