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Rhythmic gymnastics is the strain of gymnastics that is closely related to the industry
of dance and ballet. Rhythmic gymnastics is performed on a floor area and is split into five disciplines each performed with a hand held pieces of equipment, a ball, hoop, rope, ribbon or clubs to a piece of music. Rhythmic gymnastics is more weighted towards the areas of dance than the traditional gymnastics elements, many rhythmic gymnasts end up in the dance or performing arts industries.
In the group event five athletes work together as one cohesive unit. Group is judged on the ability of the athletes to demonstrate mastery of body and apparatus skills in synchronized, harmonious manner. A group exercise must include difficulties from the same body movement categories that apply to individual competition and characteristic movements for the apparatus. In addition, the group athletes must execute elements involving both large and small exchanges of equipment. The more interaction between the gymnasts, the better the exercise.
Each group must compete with two different routines. The apparatus used in Group competition is selected by the FIG. One of the routines is performed with five of the same pieces of apparatus, the other routine is choreographed with mixed equipment.
Group athletes are train- ed to work as a team. The close interaction of five athletes within a 13 X 13 meter area and the many apparatus exchanges that occur during a routine force each athlete to be extremely sensitive to the movements and actions of her teammates. Many routines have been saved by the quick thinking and action of a team member. Spectators are enthralled and amazed by the beauty, excitement and risk of a group routine.
Text taken from www.usa-gymnastics.org
Click on the British Gymnastics for further information