Modem Rhythmic Gymnastic's International Competition March 9-10, 1979 Brno, Czechoslovakia Marion Duncan The competition was held Friday evening and Saturday morning with Finals at 3:00 P.M. Saturday afternoon. Two gymnasts represented the following countries (listed in order of their prowess from this competition): Czechoslovakia, Russia, Bulgaria, East Germany, Poland, Rumania, Holland, U.S.A., Cuba, Yugoslavia, Finland, Austria, France, Belgium, Hungary. It was obvious that Russia and Bulgaria had sent their 4th or 5th seeded gymnasts, but these were, nevertheless, strong competition for the Czechs. The Czechs were superior in execution and accuracy, preferring vigorous, dynamic routines, but the Russians and Bulgarians, even East Germans, demonstrated more versatility in the contrast of style between each of the four apparatus: their ball routines were noticeably slower-paced, full-bodied and sensitive using at times single musical notes to emphasize delicate moves. Poland, Rumania and Holland are improving each year but not showing the accuracy or proficiency yet of the leading teams. The u.s. team moved up a great deal from last year, and with concentration on ballet techniques, greater extension and flexibility, and a little more drilling of superior elements, the u.s. should make a good impression at World Games. Sue Soffe is working in Holland under an ex-Rumanian coach, and has developed much more extended lines and polished performances. Sandi Shannon, is at present being coached by a Czech national team coach and ballet instructors in Brno, and is aiming at building further extension and precision on difficult elements. Both girls have a good chance of being placed within the top 20 World Games if they continue to improve at their rate. The whole American team was very warmly received in Brno, and some officials commented on the very "interesting" choreography of Sue and Sandi, and their obvious skill in handling the apparatus. Dance Techniques: The superior gymnasts were very lean and extremely flexible. Movements were therefore very clean-cut and fully extended; often hyper-extended as in split leaps. It is essential to have the flexibility and strength to hold the legs in high arabesque, forward, side and behind. Also, to be able to pivot quickly or at leisure, 720 0 on the full toe with correct body alignment is very necessary. Back shoulder, and flexibility is desirable particularly in ball routines, and strong legs and feet very necessary for explosive and controlled leaps and acrobatic elements. High-toe footwork predominated throughout the routines. Apparatus Skills: Ball (Music-generally either dramatic, or delicate, but with much expression). All kinds of fluid rolls over the body. High 30-40' tosses with I to 3 elements underneath where focus on the ball is
momentarily lost-the ball is recovered often in a difficult body position, i.e., back arch, laying pose, or 112 toe balance, requiring great accuracy of ball trajectory. Rope (Music-light and bright) A lot of tosses this year also utilizing horizontal and diagonal planes. Also the rope was used swinging in its' entire length a great deal. Jumps were fast, often tiring; the Czechs did many arched leaps over doubled rope. Clubs (Music-fairly dynamic) The clubs moved all the time. There were a lot of smaller tosses and quick exchanges during dance passes; these also often moved through horizontal or diagonal planes through the air. High tosses up to 40' were exciting, and caught with great precision in deep body extensions or extensions. Ribbon (Music-it varied, but not as fast or rippling as expected-more deep feeling projected) Patterns of the ribbon were extremely clear. Some intricate exchanging of baton during a pattern, from one hand to another, without losing the pattern of the ribbon. Also some high tosses performed by quickly grasping the attachment area (of stick and ribbon), giving the baton a quick swirl and letting it fly through the air (sometimes vertically). Film of the U.S. girls, and 5 finalists of each section were taken and will be available for rental after Nationals. The music of the finalists were also recorded-copies of this tape can be made available for purchase; for the assistance of pianists and coaches in constructing composition .
Gymnaslics News / May"June, '1979