With the Championship Series in Liverpool just over a month away, we take a closer look at the British Rhythmic Championships that will be one of the four disciplines showcased across the four days of action at Echo Arena.
Rhythmic gymnastics combines grace, coordination, agility and artistry. Accompanied by stirring music, the gymnast uses small hand apparatus the ball, rope, clubs, hoop and ribbon to weave a routine of flawless beauty moulding gymnast, music and apparatus into one.
The handling of apparatus whilst performing complex turns, pivots, balances and contortionist like movements are characteristic trademarks of this stunning gymnastics discipline. The gymnasts use a variety of apparatus, including ball, rope, clubs, hoop and ribbon.
To find out a little more about rhythmic gymnastics and what you can expect to see, we spoke to 2015 senior British champion, Laura Halford, who gives us the run-down.
So Laura, as the current British champion, what should people coming to the Echo Arena be looking out for that makes a perfect rhythmic routine?
A perfect routine would be no dropping of the apparatus, that’s probably be the most crucial thing as it definitely improves the flow of the routine; it’s not as stop-start if you don’t drop it. For a big performance there should be lots of expression. You can do a lovely routine, but if it’s not entertaining to watch it won’t look as good. You need to have the whole package.
The music obviously plays a big part for everyone in the crowd, but as a gymnast, how important is the music to your routine?
It’s hugely important to like the music. I’ve found it helps to pick the music myself, because if I enjoy the music I find it becomes more natural to express myself to it.
In terms of the different apparatus, what should the crowd look out for, whether it’s with the hoop, ball, clubs or ribbon?
With the hoop, it’s easier to do more risky and unique things. For the ball, it’s one of the more elegant routines and they can be quite beautiful to watch. The clubs are another apparatus that you can incorporate quite a lot of risk in to, and for the ribbon, you need to watch out for precise, clean shapes.
And finally, in terms of the crowd watching, what would be a good score and what scores will you be looking to get in your routines?
Well my scores are usually around the mid 15’s but if I do a really good routine then I should be pushing for something around the 16 mark. My best so far is 16.2. My best all-around total is just under 64 so it would be brilliant if I could get somewhere near that.
If you’d like to see Laura and her fellow gymnasts battle it out for titles at the Championship Series at Liverpool’s Echo Arena from 28th-31st July, you can buy your tickets here.