Front Row: L-R: Amelie Woodland (9), Penarth; Annabella Paterson, (10), Cardiff
Kneeling: Lucy McGhie (12), Cardiff
Back Row: L-R: Ella Payne (11), Cardiff; Mairwen Thomas (10), Penarth; Gracie Poleon-Henry (12), Cardiff; (on shoulders) Phoebie Johnson (9), Barry; Megan Williams (11), Cardiff; Lilly May Allen (10), Cardiff; Isobel Price (10), Penarth
The Acro Dance Team who train at Planet Gymnastics have hit the dizzying heights of being selected to represent Wales in the Dance World Cup in Sitges, Spain in June this year.
The Planet Gymnastics Acro Squad was formed less than a year ago to audition for the Dance World Cup which took place in Offenburg, Germany in June 2017, and following their success in that competition, the Squad has expanded and is now made up of 10 girls aged between 9 and 13, from across Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan. The girls all attend specific Acro training sessions alongside their training in Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics at the amateur gymnastics club in Grangetown, Cardiff.
Emma Thompson, of Dinas Powys, who is the Head Coach for Rhythmic Gymnastics and Acro at Planet said: “We were incredibly proud to have been selected to compete in this prestigious competition last year, alongside and against children whose entire schooling is centred around their dance education. The girls so enjoyed the challenge last year, that we decided to form a special Acro section, inviting the best Rhythmic and Artistic Gymnasts from the Squads to work together towards entering this competition again this year. We are really looking forward to being able to compete in 2018, and the girls are incredibly proud to be representing Team Wales.”
Ryan Davies, the girls’ Acrobatics Skills coach said: “Working with this group towards this type of competition is totally different to what we and they are used to: our rhythmic gymnasts have to learn to be powerful tumblers, while our artistic girls are learning the grace and flexibility that our rhythmic girls train for as a matter of routine. It is great to be able to expand the skills of the girls in this way, and I’m really looking forward to them showcasing their talents on the world stage.”
Taking part in the competition comes at a cost. Grassroots Dance receives no external funding, so the girls and their parents are having to fund the trip themselves. They have therefore started fundraising to ensure that all of the girls who have qualified can take part.
Becky Morgan, director of Planet Gymnastics said: “Ideally, we are looking for company sponsorship for this incredibly hard-working group of girls – they are putting in a tremendous amount of effort to make sure that they are the best they possibly be when they get to the competition, and any financial help that companies could give us would be wonderful. We are setting up fundraising events as a club, but we want to move away from always asking parents for additional contributions, so sponsorship from outside organisations would be fantastic.”
If you or your company are interested in supporting the girls, please email Eirian Thomas, the club’s volunteer administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planet Gymnastics is a not-for-profit gymnastics centre, based in Grangetown, Cardiff. Founded in 2008, by the family team of Becky and Denise Morgan, Planet offers coaching and classes in artistic , acro and rhythmic gymnastics, ballet and dance. The gym sees over 1000 children come to classes each week, and caters for all ages, levels and abilities. Planet’s squad gymnasts mostly come through from the gym’s recreational gymnastics classes. Coaches at the centre are fully qualified British Gymnastics coaches, and most of them are volunteers.
Dance World Cup
Over 12,000 children and young people from around the world will audition to take part in the Dance World Cup this year. The finals take place in a different city each year, and in 2018, they will take place from 22nd June – 1st July in Sitges, Spain, where 4000 dancers aged between 4 and 25 from 47 countries will compete in dance genres including ballet, acro, contemporary, tap and hip-hop.