Interview with Coach Lucy - Disney, dancing and acro gymnastics
Coach Lucy is leading our summer holiday classes, including special 'Acro and Display Gymnastics Masterclasses' on Thursday 4th, Wednesday 24th August and Thursday 1st Sept. But what is acro and what is her experience in gymnastics? I had a chat with her to find out more:

Q: So, I hear you have quite a background in dance and performance and in acro. I'm confused though, what is acro gymnastics? 
Lucy: Acro is where
 you work in pairs and trios to combine balance and dynamic acrobatic moves, dance and tumbling into a routine and is set to music. For example I used to do handstands on my partner's shoulders and pitch tuck back somersault where my gym partner would boost me in the air and I'd perform a back somersault in the air before landing back on the floor in front of her.
Q: What attracted you to acro and what's your favourite thing about it? 
Lucy: When I heard about Acrobatic Gymnastics I wanted nothing more than to combine my love for dancing and gymnastics all in one routine. There are never ending possibilities to create new moves within Acro once you've learned the foundations and bio-mechanics of it all. My favourite thing is finally getting a new move after lots of preparation and hard work.
Q: I hear you worked at Disney? That must have been amazing! What did you do there? Did you have to have a lot of training/experience?  
Lucy: Yes! I worked at Disneyland Paris as a Character and parade performer. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life being able to perform as a dancer in and out of character costume in the parades and shows in front of tens of thousands of people everyday. Whilst working there I had 6 weeks of intensive training in ice skating where we were on the ice for 5 hours a day (it was extra hard as I was taught in French! *Quickly picks up the key phrases or just watches everyone else*). Before working at Disney I trained in many different genres of dance such as Ballet, Tap, Jazz, contemporary and street dance alongside my gymnastics training.
Q: What do you like most about dance and performing? 
Lucy:I love the training, the rehearsing, the music, the costumes, the variety, the adrenaline before and after a performance........ sorry I know you asked what I like most but I can't choose I love everything about it.
Q: What are you working on now? 
Lucy: After working alongside the stunt team on a film in 2015 it gave me the confidence and push I needed to start training to become a stunt performer myself. I had played with the idea before however there is an overwhelming amount of training that is involved. To get on to the stunt register you must be highly qualified in 6 areas of sport whether it's performing a list of skills to pass a test or being assessed to qualify as an instructor. My 6 areas are Gymnastics (of course), Judo, rock climbing, trampolining, scuba diving and horse riding.

Q: What will we be doing in the MasterClass?
We'll be learning some balance and dynamic moves in pairs and or trios. We will then combine them with some individual floor skills with dance to create a routine all together and perform it to music.

I'm looking forward to it! If you'd like to join us please email to book.

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Freestyle Gymnastics

Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Freestyle Gymnastics

1. It’s fun! Sooooo much fun. I can not stress this enough. Time to play!

2. Free flowing and allows us to move more. There’s more learning by doing and less sitting around thinking about it - you just go for it!

3. Creativity. Combinations of skills. Inventing new tricks and combinations. The skills aren’t rigid, they are owned by the performers and new ways of performing them are encouraged. We love the technical side of gymnastics but here the performers are in charge and not a judging system. Want to do that skill onto one leg, with a different shape, into something else? You got it.

4. Challenge - right, so who can jump the furthest between two blocks? Who now wants to have a go? EVERYONE. Are you motivated to push the block a little bit further, stretch yourself a little more? Totally.

5. Adventure - run risk taking in a safe environment. Yes you see freestyle type movements done outside. But come into the gym and learn first, new innovative types of gymnastics equipment replicate the outside (often hard, concrete) environment with soft, safe foam matting. That risk is safe but still exhilarating.

6. Doesn’t matter what it looks like. Actually, sometimes the movement is more effective if it’s really ‘gone for’ and isn’t all pretty and perfect. The freestyle boys can do these skills waaaaay better than we can with our traditional gymnastics training. (Not that us female coaches can’t do the freestyle skills, we just look a little too perfect where the freestyle performers look cool).

7. Strength. the boys in freestyle are doing chin-ups and muscle ups with ease. Put your hand up if you are an artistic gymnast and jealous of that. (…..put your hand up if you are in any sport and jealous of that!).

8. Social. The freestyle gymnasts relate to and support each other in a different way to those in traditional classes. The environment just works for them. They are comfortable and confident and the sky is the limit with that attitude.

9. No limits. This has always been a part of our club philosophy - anything is possible. Freestyle really fits with this and removes even more limits and barriers to our sport. A child who may not progress well at ‘traditional’ gymnastics can really excel at freestyle. The sport is getting wider and more accessible.

10. Opportunity. What it does for our club and spreading our message. We’ve lots many members (mainly boys) in freestyle who wouldn’t be enjoying gymnastics (or possibly even other sports) otherwise. It’s a new way for us to grow and meet the needs of our community.

Oh and It’s fun. Did I say that already?!