At Cincinnati Gymnastics, Olympic coach Mary Lee Tracy and a staff of dedicated instructors help kids realize their athletic potential with expert guidance in gymnastics. Kids aged from three to seven build acrobatic abilities at an early age through classes and camps that hone skills on the vault, bars, balance beam, and floor.
Kristi's Tumbling and Trampoline has cultivated stage performers, 88 Junior Olympic National Champions, two national champions, and one world champion since opening its doors in 1994. The instructors, many of whom boast competitive backgrounds and multiple awards, help all levels of students build both physical skills and self-esteem. Beginning at two years old with parent and tot classes, they take little ones through courses that teach everything from basic tumbling to how to flip with the grace and beauty of a rainbow-sprinkle pancake. Kristi's Tumbling and Trampoline's facilities form a safe-haven for students to practice their skills with multiple trampolines that help them reach the sky and a nine-foot-deep foam pit that lets fledgling gymnasts show no fear. After making the journey from beginner to gymnast, students can join competitive teams and showcase their abilities to appreciative fans.
As the sounds of stuck landings echo off gym walls, owner and former University of Kentucky cheerleader John Ireland and Lexington Gymnastics and Cheerleading’s seasoned instructors share show-stopping routines and techniques with aspiring athletes ages 5–14 years old. One-hour daytime or evening classes fill kids with body-moving know-how, from beginning cheer’s introductory rah-rah routines to gymnastics classes’ balance-improving bar and beam work. Beginning tumbling lessons prepare bodies for the turbulent world of floor exercises. The trained staffers at Lexington Gymnastics and Cheerleading can accommodate special-needs children, ensuring a welcoming environment for a diverse crowd.
Day camp sessions focus on gymnastics, cheerleading, all sports, or circus activities. Summer camp instructors supply lunch every Friday, and take kids on field trips every week. During field trips, students may play laser tag, hike through scenic areas, or mount horses and gallop into the sunset and back.
In Premier Athletics of Lexington's state-of-the-art gym, trampolines propel acrobats toward ceilings more than 20 feet tall, while tumblers practice somersaulting over spring floors that go easy on joints. Helmed by Lexington Gymnastics and Cheerleading's John Ireland, the former University of Kentucky cheerleader is dedicated to one-on-one, individualized instruction.
In these environs, coaches lead courses in cheer, gymnastics, tumbling, and dance for kids 18 months and older, teaching moves that range from the basics to competition-ready stunts, such as holding up a cue card with “10” on it before starting your routine. As home to the Kentucky Elite Allstars and the Gym Cats, instructors train gymnasts and cheerleaders of every age and skill level. As youngsters learn to tumble—or participate in laid-back courses taught during birthday parties—parents can cheer from a designated viewing area.
American Turners Circus' agile aerial coaches guide students through midair twirling exercises on five types of equipment in Intro to Mixed Aerial Apparatus workshops. Students bring along a friend to jointly extinguish gravity's hold during one-hour sessions, which begin by schooling students in basic stretching and conditioning to prepare for introductory aerial techniques. Twirl and fly on up to three types of aerial circus gear, including trapeze, hanging silks, coiled Spanish webs, lyras, and ladders without the avian road rage of traditional flight. Students rehearse midair acrobatics and prove their ability to think while hanging upside down under the vaulted steel-beam ceilings of the Turners' massive gymnasium. By studying the art of circus with the American Turners, visitors keep up a legacy that began in 1849 when their predecessors, the Louisville Turners, began their above-earth performances on Market Street in what would become the city's first gym.
“Once you get used to it … you just kinda feel like you’re flipping,” Gym Marika student Jessica Witkin says when describing trampolining in an interview with NBC 4. Trampolining, which has elevated from a backyard mainstay to a medal-earning event, is just one of the gymnastics techniques offered at Gym Marika to help improve the lives of children. “It really builds their self-confidence,” says Head Coach Marika Zahrndt, who oversees a team of USAG-certified coaches.
During classes, Marika and her staff guide students as they absorb techniques that range from rolls, handstands, and round-offs to combinations, aerial somersaults, and handsprings. Classes encompass multiple events, including floor routines, balance beams, vaulting, and uneven parallel bars. The programs are designed to accommodate kids with all aspirations, from those who dream of gold medals to kids who want a fun way to exercise and get through the seven-year winter.