Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students at Lake Asbury Get a Taste of Rhythmic Gymnastics

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Students at Lake Asbury Get a Taste of Rhythmic Gymnastics

Article excerpt

The elementary school students' eyes got wider and wider as the young rhythmic gymnasts they were watching went through their paces.

"How does she bend herself in half like that?" inquired one stunned child, leaning forward in his seat to get a better view.

"I really like that stick with the toilet paper on it," said another child, after a gymnast performed a routine with a long, flowing ribbon attached to a wand.

"She's doing all that with a bowling ball," exclaimed another child, watching a different gymnast perform with a pink ball that, at first glance, appeared to be a bowling ball.

There were lots of oohs and aahs rippling through the audience, as teenage gymnasts from the World Rhythmics gymnastics studio in Jacksonville performed two shows for the student body of Lake Asbury Elementary School. And after the shows, clusters of students charged to the front of the cafetorium, proclaiming their interest in taking classes themselves.

One of those interested students, fifth-grader Katie Russell, said she was impressed at how confident and graceful the gymnasts appeared as they performed their routines in front of an audience of hundreds of people.

"It was really nice," she said. "They weren't scared. They didn't make any mistakes."

The gymnasts, who range in age from 12 to 14, were invited to give the elementary school students a glimpse of a sport few of them are familiar with, said Glee Glisson, physical education teacher at the school.

"We have never done this in class," she said.

Before one of the performances, Marcy Pellet, the mother of one of the gymnasts, asked how many of the assembled students were familiar with gymnastics. Almost every hand went up. When she asked how many of them were familiar with rhythmic gymnastics, not as many hands were raised.

"This is a different form. They do a lot of floor [exercises], but there is a lot more dance," she said. "It has a lot to do with dance. All these girls have to take dance classes; they love to dance. …

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