COVENTRY'S WONDERFUL WAIFS

I called British Gymnastics to ask if they had young rhythmic gymnastics I could showcase in GRUMPUSS.  British Gymnastics' publicist, Bulgarian-born Vera (Marinova) Atkinson, twice World Champion in rhythmic gymnastics, sent me to St. Margaret's of Antioch Church in Coventry where a local Rhythmic Gymnastics Club met.  There, as promised, I found my waifs.  Rose Meredith holds the position on the left until her music begins.  Then, with a motion like a sigh, raises her leg straight up, as if drawn by a wire.  Keeping balanced and still until the music starts must be difficult, but Rose doesn't show it, and when she finally does move, the effect is uncanny.
As the World Premiere drew near, I returned to Coventry to rehearse my waifs.  All the girls were extraordinarily talented and had excellent attitudes, but little Hannah Walker was too young for a work permit.  It was no problem getting permits for 13-year-old Aimee Johnson (in the back), and petite 14-year-old Yvonne Hill (with the white ball), but Rose barely turned 13 in time to qualify.  Debbie Maguire (right), understudied all the other girls' routines, and read the Queen of the Sidh's parts while Hannah read the bard's parts so that the girls were all "off the book" before I ever arrived. 
Left to right, City of Coventry rhythmic gymnastics coach Marion Sands, me, my lady, Judy, (just arrived from the U.S.A.), and 14-year-old rhythmic gymnast Yvonne Hill, in the North Forecourt of Blenheim Palace.  Notice the foul weather gear.  The natives are hardy stock, but although I am originally from Boston, Massachusetts, I have lived in southern California for a long time and on October 31st, it was cold in Oxfordshire.  Ironically, the little sign in the background says "WAY OUT," but there was no way out for my intrepid little band.  On the morrow, the result of our preparations would be known, for better or for worse.

BACK
HOME
PAGE
GRUMPUSS
LEGACY
NEXT