The springy floors at Capitol City Gymnastics host more than gymnastics?they're also the launching pad for cheerleading and karate lessons. Although these three disciplines differ, each is offered to help imbue students with self-confidence and a love of physical activity. The facility's host of ever-evolving gear includes a 35-foot, in-ground tumble track, a pit of foam squares, vaulting equipment, and bars.
In 1976, educator, musician, and kinesiologist Robin Wes longed for a children's gym that prioritized personal growth over competition. Unveiled at a time when physical-education classes pushed students to focus almost exclusively on winning, Robin's program was swiftly adopted and is now used in more than 300 Little Gyms worldwide. Robin still pens original music to accompany lessons, which engage whippersnappers aged 4 months to 12 years with gymnastics, dance, karate, and parent and child activities.
Each of The Little Gym's classes introduces simple movements that sharpen motor skills and set brains whirring, allowing kids to progress at their own pace until they can finally build a computer out of macaroni and glitter. Staff members strive to build a base for lifelong social skills and self-assurance with each exercise, including activities rooted purely in fun, such as summer camps or birthday parties, which helped The Little Gym to earn title of #1 Birthday Chain in?Parents Magazine.
“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.
Perfect Balance Gymnastics and Cheer trains kids from pre-K to high school age in the arts of gymnastics, tumbling, and cheer. Whether they're getting ready for a state championship or working on their fine motor skills, all students benefit from a crew of supportive instructors who draw from a wide range of experiences?including coaching National Champion collegiate gymnasts and winning state titles with impressive vault and floor work. Tumblers learn dizzying feats of acrobatics on the mats, while gymnasts hone everything from basic skillsets to advanced techniques. Cheer camps and classes train students in the stylish moves of hip-hop dance teams as well as the structural soundness of a perfectly designed human pyramid.
When Joan Barnes founded Gymboree Play & Music in 1976, she envisioned a facility where parents and children could play together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. In the following decades, Gymboree Play & Music spread to more than 30 countries across the globe, helping youngsters from infants to 5 years old develop cognitive, physical, and social skills. The company's instructors lead classes such as Play & Learn, its flagship course, in which parents and kids move through a seven-level program filled with storytelling, play activities, and debates on the merits of sandwich crust. Talented staffers also prep youngsters for school and foster development in areas such as music, art, and sports. Throughout all classes, they make use of custom play equipment designed by acclaimed playground designer and seesaw-tamer Jay Beck.
For more than 50 years, Judy Dollenmayer Studio of Dance's instructors have been dedicated to training students of all ages. And as they offer more than 100 classes per week, there is something for everyone. Their styles range from jazz to tap to hip hop. While they emphasize turnout, flexibility, and posture in ballet, they focus more on the storytelling aspect of dance in lyrical classes, helping dancers drive their movements through emotion. During hip-hop classes, they coach students to hit funky, fast-paced movements, and in tap, they teach feet to tap out rhythmic beats. In addition to these expressive forms of movement, the instructors also lead barre ballet fitness classes, which blend dance techniques into calorie-burning cardio routines.