Rhythmic gymnastics, sport and art

Por: Katia Savrami.

Athens 2004: Pre-olympic Congress

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Rhythmic Gymnastics (R.G.) is a sport performed under rigorous conditions by the International Federation of Gymnastics (F.I.G.). The basis for evaluation and judgement of R.G. competitions is located within the F.I.G.’s Code of Points. The Code of Points requires that athletes satisfy two almost contradictory standards, namely "areas of technical expertise" and "artistic values". The interaction of these two elements is highly problematic. The issues, illuminated for the first time in the current study, are: 1) How the trainers and judges interpret the aesthetic criteria of the Code of Points, and 2) How do athletes embody these criteria within the scope of a competitive programme?


The first research question has been undertaken by statistical analysis of questionnaires distributed to sixty five (65) trainers and judges. The second has been tackled by documenting two R.G. competitive programmes using the Labanotation method for movement analysis Motif Writing for actions. In particular, the relationships provided by Anne Hutchinson [1] and the study of facial expressions and gaze by Michael Argyle [2] were applied. Furthermore, Warren Lamb’s notion on Posture-Gesture merging in human behaviour [3] served as a means to observe and assess the actual embodiment of "constant relationship with apparatus".


The statistical results indicate that the judges prefer the relationship between athlete and apparatus to be "the apparatus as an extension to movement" (Mean Priority 1.57, First Priority 37%).
The movement analysis of Posture-Gesture has exposed that out of 42 instances of embodiment, for athlete A, only 15 were Posture-Gesture and Mergings in comparison to athlete B that out of 48 instances of embodiment, 26 were Posture-Gesture and Mergings.


In this paper, research into the notion "constant relationship with apparatus", which is one aspect of "artistic values" described and used in the R.G. Code of Points, revealed the significance of connecting athlete, movement and apparatus, through focusing on the objective that the intention of the athlete should be continuously related and maintained with the appartatus during the technical difficulties and the connecting elements. As the analysis undertaken has shown, when the intention of the athlete to the apparatus is maintained, it is clearly visible to the judges.


[1]. Argyle, M. (1988). Bodily communication. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.
[2]. Edited by F.I.G. (1997). Code Of Points. Switzerland.
[3]. Edited by F.I.G. (2000). Code Of Points Switzerland.
[4]. Hutchinson, A. (1970). Labanotation or kinetography laban. London: Oxford University Press.
[5]. Lamb, W. (1965). Posture and gesture. London: Trinity Press.
[6]. Longstaff, J.S. (1999). Selected methods of documentation and analysis in choreological research. London: Neue Aura.
[7]. Zar, J.(1984).Biostatistical analysis, 2nd Edition. New York: Prentice Hall.






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