Prelude to Rhythmic Gymnastics
The history of Rhythmic Gymnastics can be traced as far back as 1814 by Per Henrik Ling. Ling promoted aesthetic gymnastics in which students expressed their feelings and emotions through bodily movement but it was still calisthenics without apparatus. Then it 1864 proponents of the activity began utilizing wooden hoops, light dumbbells, and Indian clubs. Indian clubs became a favorite exercise tool with entire books being written for club exercises. A rope was first used by a Swedish group around the 1930’s. The Hoop became more popular after a demonstration at the 1936 Olympic Games.
Ellen Nyemcsik was kind enough to also furnish the following: “The Floor event was called Exercise without Implement. It was a Rhythmic Gymnastics dance routine performed to music without using the apparatus. Exercise without Implement was part of FIG All Around competition years ago. But as the sport developed, the FIG eventually changed the program to 4 events using all 4 of the apparatus. All of our current USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic program competitors (in Levels 3-8) have this floor event as part of the regular All-Around competition today. Our USA gymnasts compete in the Floor event until they reach the FIG level (Levels 9-10). Then they compete only with the apparatus at these high levels.” http://eliterg.com/history.html (Elite RG.com)
Alla Svirsky was a gymnast turned coach, and administrator. She provided service to our sport through numerous years at both the national and international levels. Her coaching expertise took her to the Olympic Games, and she has coached many rhythmic gymnasts to the winner’s podium in national and international competitions.
Olympic Games: Svirsky served as Head Coach of the Women’s Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastic Team Los Angeles, California, (1984). Valerie Zimring and Michelle Berube were the competing athletes. Coach: Svirsky has represented USAG on numerous Continents as a Head Coach of various teams, and has placed two gymnasts on USA Olympic Teams. She has coached a number of USA National Champions that includes Sue Soffe Sylvester, 1991 USGHOF Inductee. Svirsky held the position of Head Artistic Coach for Women’s Rhythmic Gymnastics at the University of Southern California. Honors: A. Bruce Frederick, noted gymnastic historian, included Svirsky among his list of “Centurions”. Frederick writes that “A Centurion was a Roman soldier who commanded 100 men. American gymnastics Centurions are those who command our attention . . . (Frederick’s Centurions) have had the greatest impact on gymnastics in the United States. Their accomplishments, performances, and records are unique and provide a standard for the field.” Education: Alla holds Masters degrees in Anatomy and Physiology and Physical Education. Service: Ms. Svirsky is the Executive Director of the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics with three locations in the Los Angeles area. She has been with the school from its beginning. Among the eight 2003-2004 Rhythmic Junior National Team members, Svirsky is credited with being the primary coach of Rachel Marmer, Rebecca Terzian, and Alexandra Licona. She continues, as of 2005 and will continue beyond, to take an active role in both domestic and international gymnastics. Alla served for eight years on the USAG Gymnastics Board of Directors.
Sources: A. Bruce Frederick courteously provided Line Drawing of Alla and Jerry Wright, author of Gymnastics Who’s Who, 2005 provided detailed information and the Svirsky photo. Some information courtesy of www.usa-gymnastics.com/. Unfortunately, we were unable to contact Ms. Svirsky for more detailed information. Introduction and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.