With four routines per competitor and 60 competitors in the field, any Grand Prix or World Cup competition in Rhythmic Gymnastics is always a drawn-out affair. That being said, a few routines that stand out in memory long after the awards ceremonies have concluded. Here are 10 picks that should be watched over and over again.
Salome Pazhava, Georgia, Clubs:
It will be hard to top her iconic “Joker” routine of the past two years, but Pazhava just might with this exercise. This routine goes in a completely different, very soft direction, but it’s brilliant nonetheless. Passionate and fluttering with emotion, it’s so smooth Pazhava almost seems to be gliding over ice rather than dancing on a carpet. In short, a new classic from rhythmic’s greatest chameleon.
Anastasia Guzenkova, Russia, Hoop
Like most Russians, she seems predisposed to handle big music well. Mireille Mathieu’s “Padam, Padam” is admittedly a little mature for her, but she pulls it off with aplomb. Quick work, reminiscent of Kudryavtseva. Great ending pose, too.
Irina Annenkova, Russia, Ball
The 2014 Youth Olympic champion is a very different performer than she was five years ago -- and for the better, too. So expressive with whole body, but especially with her hands. Terrific turn sequence that ends with her leg above her head, giving the ball a tiny little kick off her toe. A most entertaining.
Kaho Minagawa, Japan, Hoop
Sheer, floating-on-clouds elegance is what we’ve come to expect from Kaho Minagawa over the years, and she delivers with this new hoop routine, a symphony of softness and light. Beautiful.
Ekaterina Selezneva, Russia, Clubs
Some wickedly original masteries in this routine, including one right off the bat where she does half a back walkover, catch the clubs on the ball of her foot, kicks them back into the air and then stands up as though from a front walkover. Love the routine’s funky, kind-of-Asian choice of music, her uninhabited choreo, the big smile on her face.
Dina Averina, Russia, Ribbon
This new routine to “Une Vie d’Amour” by Charles Aznavour and Mireille Mathieu represents a big jump in elegance for Dina. Elegance is not something that has been associated with the Averina twins to this point, but it’s not something they’ve gone for much, either. With this routine, Dina signals the opening of a new chapter in her artistic evolution.
Daria Trubnikova, Russia, Ball
The 2018 Youth Olympic champion is a rising star. In her first foray into the senior ranks here, she finished fifth among the Russians in the all-around, which probably doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment but is. Supreme elegance and great facial expressions in this wonderfully delivered “There Was A Boy” from Moulin Rouge.
Neviana Vladinova, Bulgaria, Clubs:
This is a routine that should serve the Bulgarian firecracker very well in the coming year. It has everything: feisty Spanish choreography and deeply interesting and original throws and catches.
Anastastia Salos, Belarus, Hoop:
A folksy, Flamenco version of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” is a perfect fit for this emerging personality. Salos has been given the moniker “Belarus’s Little Princess,” and this routine belies both her youth and charm. Salos seems capable of routines that are far more avant-garde and envelope-pushing than she’s currently showing, but at the same time it will be a delight to watch her continue to mature.
Arina Averina, Russia, Hoop
An absolutely classic piece of Russian rhythmic with huge throws and confident catches. Leading with this is sure to get her competitions off to a good start.