MRU hosting major gymnastics performance in May
by Laura Lushington
Mount Royal University will literally be “springing ahead” this May when over 400 gymnasts and other athletes descend on the campus for a performance of gymnastics skills.
GymFest, a demonstration event for groups of gymnasts, acrobats and dancers, gives athletes a chance to display their talent without the stress of competition. It is open to athletes from Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
“Our recreational groups generally don’t have any way to show off what they’ve learned,” said Kristina Jacques, special events coordinator for the Alberta Gymnastics Federation.
“This is a way for them to do something as a group and show their parents, friends and family what they can do.”
Spread out over a weekend, GymFest provides workshops for participants on May 14 and ends on May 15 with groups showing off their routines.
“We have four hours of performances,” said Jacques, “Each routine is no longer than five minutes and we also do a group routine where over 400 kids are on the floor at one time.”
Mount Royal was chosen as the venue for this year’s event because of its triple-gym, housing, catering and classroom facilities. The Alberta Gymnastics Federation also tries to rotate the location of GymFest between northern and southern Alberta every year.
Participating in this year’s GymFest will be students from Calgary Acrobatics Gymnastics, whose head coach and owner is MRU criminal justice student Norm Lewis, 27, who has been coaching gymnastics and acrobatics for 16 years.
“Mount Royal is a great facility; the gym is awesome,” said Lewis. “Everyone at the AGF (Alberta Gymnastics Federation) and, I think, provincially is really excited to get to use the new facility, the new gymnasium.”
In addition to performances by other groups, Lewis says 24 of his students will be performing a routine that they will show at the World Gymnaestrada in Switzerland come July. His students were asked to be a part of the team representing Canada at this non-competitive display of gymnasts from around the world.
Nicole Volpato, 19, has been a student of Lewis’ for two years. She will be performing at both GymFest and Gymnaestrada.
“I like how it is a big group instead of on your own, so you have the support of your team members,” said Volpato about GymFest. “It’s more fun to perform as one big group instead of individually.”
GymFest will take place May 14-15 at the Mount Royal University Recreation Centre. The public is welcome to attend the Sunday performances for $5, with children under two being free.