The Fame Of Ribbon And Its Exercises

Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport that is a fusion of a lot of other disciplines. It has elements of ballet, dance, and of course its parent—gymnastics, performed to a certain music and with an apparatus. Although performed one at a time, there are various apparatus, called “events”, a gymnast must utilize the use of to get that perfect 10 points everyone has been dreaming of. There’s the floor, ball, hoop, rope, clubs, and ribbons—the most well-known for occasional audiences.

For an audience that doesn’t know the technicalities of the sport, here we are going to introduce to you the fame of ribbon and its exercises so you’ll know what to look for the next time you watch a rhythmic gymnastics performance!

RG Ribbon

The Event

Before we get to that, let us first debunk why ribbon is the most beautiful and entertaining program of RG. This is simple—ribbon exercises are visually appealing to look at or watch. All that color mixed into the material of her ribbon, the shapes she makes with every swish and flick, and the attitude she maintains while trying to tell a story with her movements makes the performance attractive.

A gymnast boasts her flexibility, pivots, leaps, balances, artistry and execution through her ribbon exercises, although she must do that with all other apparatus as well because the point of rhythmic gymnastics is to dance gracefully with your apparatus. But to most people, ribbon just stands out.

The ribbons used by gymnasts are usually made of satin. As mentioned, they can have multiple colors on them or just plain colors, depending on the preferences of the gymnast or if the color should match with her leotard. The width of the ribbon itself must be 1.5 to 2.3 inches in width. These are attached to a stick, normally made of fiberglass or plastic, .4 inches wide and a length of 19.5 to 23.4 inches.

The length of each ribbon varies depending on what level the gymnast is competing at. At senior level, the ribbon must not be shorter than 6 meters in length, while at the junior level, the ribbon must not be shorter than 5 meters.

Rhythmic Gymnastics Ribbon

The Exercises

There are different exercises for ribbon, all of which are scored accordingly based on the latest Code of Points approved by International Gymnastics Federation. Here are some of them:

1. Pivots –This skill is something akin to ballet’s fouettés and is important to be included in a routine. There are regular, small, grand and combination pivots. They are done by beginning in a semi-squat with both feet on the floor. The gymnast quickly rises to her toes, bringing the non-dominant leg up, bended preferably below horizontal level. While keeping that leg up, she must turn her body using the supporting leg. The ribbon is then used to create circles. Advanced gymnasts even go as far as rotating the ribbon around themselves, in high danger of being tangled in them, but a great gymnast wouldn’t!

2. Spirals—There are two types of this skill, horizontal and vertical, and they are a combination of circles created by small circular hand movements. They both require a degree of coordination and quickness because knots are more likely to form if done incorrectly.

The first type, horizontal, is done with the hand and stick at a level vertical to the floor. Once in this position, the wrist creates small circular movements, and then the elbows, and finally the whole arm. The hand must be parallel to the floor at all times. On the other hand, vertical is done with the hand and stick at a level horizontal to the floor, so it would create a vertical direction for the ribbon. It can be performed in front, to the side, or behind the gymnast.

3. Snakes—This skill is almost like spirals, although it is done while dragging the ribbon to create evenly spaced spirals, making the ribbon look like snakes. They can be done horizontally, vertically, or on the floor.

4. Throw—It is what its name suggests, the gymnast throws the ribbon stick first into the air, may do some leaps, arches, or cartwheels before it falls, and then catch it perfectly. To add difficulty, sometimes hands are not used in throwing the stick, but the foot. While the stick is stuck on the toes, the gymnast would do a cartwheel, sending the ribbon stick first into the air.

5. Rolls—This is probably one of the trickiest ribbon exercise. Rolls are done by letting the stick roll on a body part of a gymnast and then catching it effortlessly. This is tricky as it can get stuck on the leotard or roll on a different direction.

In general, the goal of a ribbon performance is to keep the apparatus moving for the whole duration of the performance. Here is a video of rhythmic gymnast Son Yeon Jae’s ribbon performance. See if she is successful in keeping the ribbon in motion, and if you can spot the mentioned exercises above!

To read more gymnastics-related articles, visit our educational blogs. Experience a fun and imaginative gymnastics training, come and enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy.

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