What sport combines strength, balance, music, flexibility, and beauty? Perhaps one that you did not know existed.
Lena Laki, Director and founder of Origami Rhythmics, wants you to know what rhythmic gymnastics is. She has spent the past 15 years coaching young gymnasts and sharing her passion within her community.
“I find that not many people here know what rhythmic gymnastics is, they only know what gymnastics is,” she said. “This is a very beautiful kind of sport; it’s like dance and sport including acrobatics and flexibility.” But more than that, Laki said, it is a way for young people to learn life values like concentration, discipline, and teamwork.
Crossing land and sea with her eyes set on Canada, Laki left her hometown in Ukraine in 2002. She is master of sport in figure skating. Now, she is a dedicated and accomplished rhythmic gymnastics coach, teaching children from as young as 18 months to those with national level experience.
The programs offered at Origami Rhythmic include:
● Toddler Rhythmic Program – for ages 18 months to two
● Rhythmic Fun Program – for ages three to four
● Recreational Rhythmic Program – for ages five and up
● Performance Rhythmic Program – for ages seven and up
● Pre-Competitive Program – for ages six and up
● Competitive Programs – for ages six to 16, the provincial, western, and national level
Origami Rhythmic has two main opportunities to get children involved. They are performances including the annual Christmas and Year-end shows and the other is competitions. “They can join us and choose their own way,” Laki said.
With 15 years of coaching gymnastics under her belt, Laki is not ready to put down the whistle yet. One of the best parts of her job, she said, is the kids. “I couldn’t imagine my life without kids,” she laughed. “They are so open minded; they have a completely different vision and different mind.” In fact, Laki has a certificate in pre-school education, in addition to her various coaching experiences, one of which is heading the BC Provincial and Western Champions as a coach. “When you start young, you have the chance to grow with us,” she said.