“In my previous life,” Lena Laki said, “I am a master of sport in figure skating in Ukraine.” Now, in this new phase of her life, settled in the Lower Mainland, Laki spends her days training young girls to be strong, athletic and proud using rhythmic gymnastics.
At Origami Rhythmics, Laki’s gymnastics gym, her students learn discipline and establish a sense of focus and concentration that can only be achieved through training and athletics. But most of all, in Lena’s opinion, “sports are always important for kids because it helps them lead a healthy life, both physically and mentally.”
It is very rewarding for Laki to see her students – who are mostly female – grow right before her eyes empowered with rhythmic gymnastics. The girls develop certain kind of confidence through both experiencing being strong and athletic and at the same time feeling artistic and beautiful with their hair done up wearing extravagant costumes. Most of her students commit to the sport for several years, as Origami Rhythmic provides programs from 3-year-olds all the way to the national level.
Rhythmic gymnastics is different from artistic gymnastics – the sport you may watch during the Olympics, for example. While the latter focuses mainly on strength, balance and agility, rhythmic gymnastics primarily emphasizes grace, dance, flexibility, and eye-hand coordination, music being an integral part of any performance. The musical aspect is greatly appreciated and enjoyed by young gymnasts as it gives them a chance not only to demonstrate their athletic abilities, but to add emotions and self-express.
In addition to combining dance, ballet, and gymnastics and performing freehand with no props, young athletes use different apparatuses: hoop, rope, ball, clubs, ribbon, each routine becoming a unique piece of art. Thanks to Laki’s vast experience with figure skating, she brings a unique and innate sense of fluidity movement and flexibility training raising each of her students’ performance to a new level.
There are ten coaches that work at Origami Rhytmics. Head coach Betty Getsova who leads the Origami National team has had experience for about 30 years. She creates beautiful choreographed routines for each girl that is unique and unrepeatable.
At Origami Rhythmics, Lena stressed, there is a variety of different opportunities for girls. They include programs that are designed for every age group, including the Toddler Rhythmic Program, the Pre-Competitive Program, as well as Provincial, Regional and National Streams, to name a few.