Ottawa's oldest and largest rhythmic gymnastics club, the Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club (KRSG) began its 2011-12 season celebrating as one of its young coaches, Jessie Perry, 24, was recognized by the Ontario Gymnastics Federation as the competitive Coach of the Year.
Under the tutelage of KRSG Head Coach and Founder Dasa Lelli (Ontario Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2011), Perry has developed from a 4 year old recreational gymnast, into a Provincial champion in both individual and group rhythmic gymnastics, earned Level 2 coaching and National level judging qualifications in rhythmic gymnastics, as well graduated from the University of Ottawa.
Together with KRSG coaches in all the recreational, interclub and provincial programs at the KRSG, Lelli and Perry have coached the Ottawa gymnastics club to 14 Ontario Championships in the past 5 years.
Along the way, all KRSG gymnasts learn to love the fun of physical activity, and improve their coordination, concentration, flexibility and fitness through the unique sport of rhythmic gymnastics.
Recreational gymnastics begins at age 4 at the KRSG. A six-badge program provides the base of skill development with the rope, ribbon, ball and hoop, and motivation for continuous improvement.
Two Badge Days a year, in June and December, allow gymnasts a chance to perform their Badge skills for family, friends and judges in a low-key but exciting setting, giving youngsters a taste of the performance aspect of this Olympic sport.
The KRSG Spring Gymnaestrada gives all the gymnasts in the Club a chance to work towards a group performance to music, and to shine on stage for their family and friends. Gymnasts who have earned Badge 2 are able to add a Performance Class to their timetable, and in this class the gymnasts concentrate on developing performance dance and gymnastics skills which will also be shown during the Kanata Showcase competition in May.
Participation in KRSG Club events such as the Gymathon – a whole club event with fun rhythmic activities and performances – as well as attendance at competitions such as the Kanata Cup, give young girls the motivation to enjoy rhythmic gymnastics and all its aspects to the fullest extent.
Demand for the recreational program is high, and for the 2012-13 Season, a new class concentrating on pre-acrobatic skills has been added to the timetable, and is available to gymnasts in the recreational program from the age of 4. Classes are held at various locations throughout Kanata and Stittsville.
Sport develops vast skill-set
Competitive rhythmic gymnasts develop a high level of fitness and flexibility. Concentration is essential in the sport to maintain control of the ribbon, hoop, ball, clubs and rope while performing routines in time to music, and this ability transfers well to school, where the girls often find that their performance improves along with their dedication to the sport.
Goal setting and responsibility are life skills which are taught at the KRSG along with the jumps, turns, dance and acrobatic skills necessary for success in rhythmic gymnastics.
As a non-profit club run by parents, the KRSG provides programs which meet the needs of its members.
Over 95 gymnasts train in the KRSG's Advanced Training Programs, which begin at ages 4- 7 with the pre-competitive group, the Rising Stars. Pre-competitive gymnasts are selected through an audition for their natural flexibility, coordination and desire to learn the sport. No previous experience is necessary, although many girls have had previous experience in the recreational program or in dance or artistic gymnastics.
Once accepted into the program, the girls learn rhythmic gymnastics and have specialty flexibility and dance performance skills embedded within their practices. Fun and internal motivation to do the best they can is the philosophy of all KRSG's programs.
All advanced training gymnasts train for 4 to 18 hours a week, and their parents volunteer their time to help run the Club's many events for the gymnasts throughout the year. Entry is by audition each year in June, or on completion of Badge 6 in the recreational program.
The 2011-12 season was hugely successful for the KRSG with many highlights. Hosting the Kanata Cup Competition with TV coverage by Rogers TV, and competitors from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, the awarding of 3 Badge 6s in the recreational program, and winning the Most Participants in the Red Ribbon Aesthetic Group Gymnastics (AGG) Competition for the third year, with gold medal performances by the Kanata Rhythmic Harmony Group, who were also judged to be the Most Graceful Group, the Kanata Sensations, the Kanata Mystique over 30s Group, the Kanata Inspirations Young Adult Group and the Kanata Charms Group.
First year Senior National Level gymnast Lucinda Nowell, 15, won 2 bronze medals at the Eastern Canadian Championships in Moncton, qualifying for the Canadian Championships. At the Canadian Championships in Regina, she improved her routines and placed 7th in Canada, with a high placing of 5th for her colourful ribbon routine.
Sixteen year old Megan Kawai won gold medals in the clubs, ribbon, and choice (rope), routines on her way to the Ontario Championship in level 6C. Megan will add this individual championship to the 4 previous Ontario Championships she has won in Duo competitions.
Erika Lin, 10, in the 3B free event, and Emma Yau, 7, in 1B rope also gave gold medal winning performances at the Ontario Championships. Silver medals at the Championships were won by Jessica Luo, 8, in 2A free, Haley Miller, 9, in the Novice ball duo/trio event with partner Erika Lin, Erika Lin in the 3B hoop event and overall, Caroline Liang, 11, in the 4A ball event, Danica Goodchild, 15, in the 6B clubs, ball and choice (ribbon) events, as well as overall, and the Novice ball group of Winnie Fan, Adeline Wang, Baylianne Rich and Caroline Liang.
These grade 6 girls had the highest execution score in their competition and rose to the occasion; controlling 4 balls and working together to throw, catch and trap in unison produced one of the most exciting performances of the season.
Bronze medals at the Ontario Championships were won by 9 year old Haley Miller in the 2B free and ball events as well as overall, Erika Lin in level 3B ball, and the Kanata Junior AGG group.
Improvements and personal bests by all the Kanata group and individual gymnasts throughout the season were reason to celebrate. The Club's new program C.H.A.M.P., for confidence, health, attitude, motivation and performance, supported the gymnasts and parents with targeted nutrition and sports psychology information throughout the season, helping the KRSG's gymnasts to progress in their favourite sport.
Bringing the fun of rhythmic gymnastics to girls in Ottawa since 1975, the Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club is young at heart and providing excellent rhythmic gymnastics programs at all levels for girls and women interested in participating in this graceful and challenging sport.
Registration and information are on the website at www.krsg.org