Rhythmic gymnastics, though it can sound strange today, is indeed a relatively young kind of sport. It came into the world thanks to Mariinskiy Theatre, or, to be more exact, to the ballet masters, who worked there.
It all began with the Higher School of Art Movement, that was opened in 1913 at the Higher Courses of the doctor of medicine , an outstanding pedagogue, biologist, anthropologist, doctor Peter Frantsovich Lesgaft. This person displayed great persistence , proving his education methods, that were mercilessly criticised at that time.
“All that is trained, is developed and improved, and what is not trained – decays.”
P. F. Lesgaft, MD, pedagogue, anthropologist.
Strange enough, but he considered all pedagogical processes and learning theory from the standpoint of anthropology. He perceived this science not only as knowledge of the structure, development and functions of certain organs of human body, but also as the influence of the environment on a human being, his physical and moral characteristics. Peter Frantsovich proved that the development of the body is directly influenced by exercises and environment. He fiercely argued against the prevailing in that time theory of pedagogics about the inheritance of aptitudes. If children are left without upbringing – he wrote – then however gifted their parents would have been, the children will not be able to show their potential. The human mind, he claims, is developed and improved under the influence of such factors as environment, education and training. The notorious “heredity” is often used by many teachers who wrote off their failures in shaping a child’s personality to their allegedly innate inability to be smart and talented, well brought up children.
His high school of artistic movement attracted many teachers who shared his views. Rosa Varshavskaya, Anastasia Nevinskaya, Elena Gorlova, Alexandra Semenova – Naypak. All they had taught different areas of gymnastics before, such as “aesthetic gymnastics” of the performing arts theoretician François Delsarte, or “free dance” of the great dancer of that time, the forerunner of modern, Isadora Duncan. Rhythmic gymnastics in its first manifestation was born from the merger of all these trends and styles.
George Demeny, a physiologist and a teacher from France, also contributed to substantiation of the value of physical culture in the education of girls. He proved that dynamic exercises, stretching and muscle relaxation exercises with objects and many other things contribute to the acquisition of a straight posture, agility and flexibility.
In 1923, under the leadership of Z. D. Verbovaya “The studio of plastic movement” was created. Its program included methods of another Frenchman, the founder of rhythmic gymnastics Jacques Dalcroze, the professor of the Geneva Conservatory. And if the first rhythmic gymnastics was used for the education of artists and musicians, later it was applied in the field of physical education.
Furthermore, the program of the “Studio of plastic movement” includes plastique, acrobatics, dance elements, floor exercise, anatomy. The studio prepared physical education teachers for secondary schools and colleges.
Gradually, the tool for education of children has grown in popularity, and slowly moved into the category of a kind of sport.
Rhythmic Gymnastics Competition Leotard (RSG) Young Sport
The first championship in rhythmic gymnastics, organized by the graduates and teachers of the school was held already in Leningrad, as it was in 1941. However, World War II brought about changes into the development of this area, and indeed of the whole Soviet sport.
However, on its completion gymnastics quickly rehabilitated. In 1945, the All-Union section of gymnastics was created, which became later the federation and in 1948 in the Soviet Union the first championship in this sport was held. The appearance of a single body allowed to determine the classification program and competition rules, the requirements for athletes. And then, gymnastics has evolved so quickly, covering such a great number of followers that it could only be envied.
Each year, the USSR championships, cups and children’s competitions are held. The gymnasts are beginning to demonstrate their favorite kind of sport outside of the USSR, leaving to France, Germany, Belgium, Yugoslavia and other countries.
Already in 1960 in Sofia, the first international meeting of rhythmic gymnasts was held, attended by Soviet, Bulgarian and Czekhoslocak athletes. Three years later the official international competitions already took place in Budapest, it was originally called the Cup of Europe. However, summing up, it was found that the participants of this tournament were athletes not only from Europe, and it was decided to call it the World Cup, and Ludmila Savinkova became the first champion of the world.
Turning point for gymnastics was 1980, when after the Olympic Games in Moscow, the Congress of the Olympic committee decided to include this kind of sport to the program of the next Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Lori Fung, a Canadian became the first Olympic champion.
So, rhythmic gymnastics – is performance of gymnastic and dance exercises with music , without any object, as well as with some objects. There are exercises with a rope, hoop, ball, mace and band. Today athletes do not act without any object at the world tournament . If they had acted with the piano music, orchestral soundtracks are used now. The exercises should take no more than four minutes.
Rhythmic gymnastics is one of the most spectacular kinds of sport, that values not only the abilities of athletes, but also their appearance. Rhythmic gymnastics competition leotards – are the topic for an entire article.