A gymnast gracefully steps on the carpet and freezes, the audience with bated breath is trying to guess what spectacle she’ll make. Costume, gymnast’s pose, item she’ll work with – everything thrills the imagination of the audience and turns the flight of fancy. The music gives birth to the gymnast’s motion. Facial gestures, movement, gesture, rhythm and music belong to the same idea of the composition. The more harmonious all these elements are combined, the stronger the emotions in the performance, the stronger the reaction of the audience. Rhythmic gymnastics fans and judges like bright, emotional gymnasts, who stands out of the crowd and perform complicated and expressive rhythmic gymnastics elements.
Rhythmic gymnastics, which is so many-sided and rich in emotions, wouldn’t be so attractive to the audience and the gymnasts themselves, if it’s based only on the technical elements. Having mastered the technical side of the elements girls should learn to create the complete image of their performance. That’s why they study the allied arts: music, rhythmic, plastic arts, dance, pantomime, getting all-round aesthetic education. Having mastered various spheres of artistic education, the girls use the gained knowledge for reaching the highest results in sport. These skills influence a lot on their further sport career. Graceful, fluent, expressive movements, the ability to present themselves, gentleness and womanhood – all of these things contribute to complete self-actualization.
This necessity of the aesthetic education leads to the fact that girls from the very beginning of their rhythmic gymnastics career immerse into the world of motion and sounds. Having mastered the compulsory elements, good stretch, flexibility, agility and spring skills, they perfect their technical skills and achieve physical excellence. At the same time they study art basics, which will help to turn their performance into a holiday, spectacle, fairy-tale show. The grades and viewers’ applause will show how good the gymnasts are at it. In order to get high grade on the competition, gymnast should not only do the exercise on the high technical level, but do it with good expression.
Such expressive means as facial gesture, poses, gestures, movements, which should be graceful and flexible, and, of course, rich music is used in order to add emotional staginess and intension to the performance. Gymnasts won’t achieve the mastery peak without the expressive movements. That’s why a lot of time of rhythmic gymnastics education is devoted to art. Girls learn to understand and feel the emotions, images and scenes represented by the music. Classes with the games and various movements and music give the opportunity to understand the tempo, rhythm, pauses; to express the fullness and depth of inner feelings by the movements – facial, head, neck, body, arms and legs’ gestures. Rhythmic gymnast can achieve the maximum expressiveness with the help of her arms and to express the music idea with their delicate movements. The better the ability to express the inner world by the movements, the brighter and showier the image she creates, the more successful her sport career. Improvisation helps to create artistic skills. Girls express the music with the gestures the way they feel it, thus allowing inside soul outburst to come into the movement, waking up inner and outer freedom and creating free and harmonious movements.
Gesture is an integral part of rhythmic gymnastics exercises; it represents the movement or action of the human body or its part conveying the exact meaning. Gesture is also an expressive mean in pantomime, choreography and drama. It helps to express the peculiarities of art work or character. Gesture language expresses various emotions and feelings. Even in conversation the gestures are used by people subconsciously in addition to the words. Gestures and facial gestures allow the body to make exact movements conveying emotions, feelings and moods. They were born at the dawn of human civilization and since then they’ve been developing, improving and polishing in dances and rituals.
Gesture in rhythmic gymnastics is deliberate, elaborate, adjusted and designed for a spectacular effect. Its purpose is to make the gymnast’s performance bright and rich. Gestures used in performance are laconically entwined with the general composition and perceived by the audience in the unity of all the movements. Exercises don’t include occasionally gestures and movements. Every gesture has the exact meaning, conveys emotions, feelings and mood, helps to design the whole message of the composition. Choreography is required to be clear, laconic and natural, the gestures should be flexible, thus, the performance gets more expressive. Moreover, gesture shouldn’t be just bodily and mechanically organized; it should express the soul motion and be full of drama. Only then gymnast will enjoy it and the viewers’ hearts will response to it.
Posehelps to create and convey the expressive image. It could be compared with the statute, which is motionless and alive at the same time, able to convey the feelings and thoughts of the artist. Herewith pose shouldn’t hinder the body. The most bright and meaty poses are usually used in the beginning and the end of the performance, and sometimes at some intermediate stages when the movement is stopped and when the gymnast moves from one combination to another. Pose is not only the pause, but an important element of the whole motion and general message of the composition. Expressiveness of any movement is defined by the pose, which is present in the turn, flip or balance… Body assumes a pose, depending on the mood the gymnast wants to convey. Some special movements, characterizing this or that mood, help to create the right image. For example, lyrical and romantic image is characterized by a slightly lowered head, vague sight, relaxed arms and hands, position on the whole feet or on the knees, full back position halfway or fully; heroic image is characterized by the head turned upwards, directed sight, straight arms and slightly strained corpus, high tip toes, fell front position.
Pose depends on the genre and style of the image conveyed, herewith national choreography peculiarities can be used, that will add the national colour. Lively, joyful polka and Russian National Dance include different poses. It’s important to emphasize that gymnast’s acting skills, her ability to create the image depends not only on her inborn talent, but also on how good she is at movement skills, sense of pose, rhythm, musicality. Persistence and patience help to develop any desired skills. Striving to victory, rhythmic gymnasts perfect every movement, every gesture and then connect them to the single entity with the music.
Correctly chosen music is and important aspect of a spectacular performance. Complicated music with various characters and rhythm should correspond with the temper, physical skills and mastery of a rhythmic gymnast, music should help gymnast to express her strong points. This can be fixed by great choice of national, historical, contemporary and classical dances. Thanks to rhythmic gymnasts the sounds of mazurka, polonaise, waltz, Folk Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian, Moldavian music turn into alive pictures of national art and traditions, full of grace and emotions.
The most complicated composition is created in the single unity with music, which will open the opportunities and professionalism of gymnast. Beautiful and extraordinary combinations, flexible movements, clear lines, ability to emphasize complicated and spectacular elements – all of this should correspond with the music. The end of one combination of movements should harmonically and smoothly move to the beginning of another combination. The audience, tuned into the beat of form and sound’s unity, is greatly pleased, feeling involved into the image created by the gymnast on the carpet. Rhythmic gymnast should attract and hold the attention of the audience during the whole performance from the first till the last musical accord and body gesture.
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