Updated: May 22, 2021
This post is going to be about rhythmic gymnastics (RG) routines which are set to music from the James Bond movies. Music is the quintessential element to an RG routine, because it sets the tone for all the other elements to come together. It is the foundation upon which a gymnast can build a character or tell a story. The James Bond movies represent an entire genre on their own and have gained enormous popularity world-wide, with music that is just as special and renowned as is the main character, agent 007 himself. The musical scores in the James Bond films are varied and versatile, often dramatic, mysterious, and thrilling, and therefore provide an excellent opportunity for artistic interpretation in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics.
The fictional character James Bond is a secret agent (also known under the code name 007) from the British Intelligence Service, who fights against terrorists across the world to ensure the safety of the British Crown, and of all humanity. James Bond is handsome and cold-blooded, a well-trained assassin who uncovers and disrupts elaborate criminal plots designed by evil masterminds. In the process, he meets gorgeous women, some of whom are evil, possess knowledge of secrets, are secret agents, or have fallen victims to the plot. In the most recent movies, women are also strong and powerful characters, with an essential role to the resolution of the plot.
Having all this in mind, I will next provide insight and commentary on how the James Bond genre has been utilised and interpreted in specific rhythmic gymnastics routines. I will focus on the choice of music, the portrayal of the femme fatale character, and the design of leotards that visually embody the lavish and sophisticated world of James Bond. Some of these leotards also bear striking resemblance to the mesmerising dresses worn by Bond women in the movies. Here is a table summarizing all the Bond routines in RG which I was able to find. Let me know if you know of any others that I might have missed. Links to video materials can be found in the Sources section at the end of this article.
1. Viktoria Mazur from Ukraine and her ball routine from 2017 to ‘Goldeneye’
The best Bond routine by far must be Victoria Mazur’s ball routine from 2017 set to the theme song of ‘Goldeneye’ (1995). With elegance and sophistication typical to a gymnast from the Ukrainian school of Rhythmic Gymnastics, Mazur is the epitome of a Bond woman in this routine. Her physical qualities are nothing short of perfection, and she stands out with her grace, flexibility, soft and effortless way of movement while executing the most difficult of body elements. One is instantly absorbed by Victoria Mazur’s ability to move through the air as if she is flying or floating, barely touching the ground. In this routine, she demonstrates exceptional understanding of the musical context, and performs her ball routine with the seductive confidence of a true femme fatale. Her choice of leotard at the World Championship in Pesaro 2017 was also impressively matched to the character of the routine. It was a glamorous black piece, with beautifully designed shapes that merged into intricate lace patterns. This design reminds me of the dress Sophie Marceau wore in the role of Elektra King in her final scene in ‘The World is not Enough’ (1999). Victoria Mazur’s portrayal of a Bond woman is attractive, stylish, and enchanting. If you only watched one RG routine from this list, this is the one to go for.
2. Eleni Andriola From Greece and her rope routine from 2005 to ‘Hamburg Break Out’
This routine is a real treat. It is set to instrumental music written by David Arnold for the movie ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997) which creates that tense feeling while James Bond makes a narrow escape from the villain’s headquarters. The first few seconds of Elini’s routine are borrowed from the movie ‘From Russia with love’ (1963) and are part of the opening title track ‘Bond is back’. I like how well Eleni is in synch with the thriller dynamics of the music and creates a very fast-paced routine with a lot of jumps which are very exciting to watch. This routine is a blast from the past, so the video material is with rather poor visual quality. However, I hope you can still appreciate the merit of this routine and the gymnast’s wonderful skills. In comparison to the previous routine where Viktoria Mazur showcased her perfect body work and used it to the maximum, Eleni Andriola has the edge when it comes to work with the apparatus in this rope routine. Her handling of the rope is truly excellent.
3. Dora Vass from Hungary and her ball routine from 2016 to ‘Goldeneye’
This is another ball routine set to the ‘Goldeneye’ theme song. Dora Vass from Hungary is a gorgeous and charismatic gymnast on the carpet. She captures the mood and spirit of the music very well in her ball routine from 2016. Her leotard from the Olympic Games in Rio was beautiful and reminds me of the dress worn by Sévérine in Skyfall. Both have long mesh sleeves and Dora’s version features a mesh plunge neckline, too. An interesting fact is that Sévérine’s black dress was embellished with more than 60,000 Swarowski crystals which is a win for the sparkly leotard worn by the Hungarian beauty Dora Vass, which carries crystal accents along the sides of the body. As committed rhythmic gymnastics fans are aware, Swarowski crystals are a staple in RG leotards and add that touch of glamour to the sport. It also makes me wonder why no one has yet done a routine on Shirley Bassey’s ‘Diamonds are forever’ which is another Bond theme song (1971).
Those are my top 3 RG routines set to music from James Bond movies. I would love to see gymnasts such as Katrin Taseva from Bulgaria or Ekaterina Selezneva from Russia do a Bond-themed routine. Both gymnasts would be able to create their own unique and very convincing versions of a Bond woman. Katrin’s soft and feline way of movement, and Selezneva’s artistry and supreme body work would be perfectly suited for the task. I would also be thrilled to see a routine set to the song ‘Surrender’ from ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ (1997). It is a very impactful song with a great melody and dramatic sounding – enjoy this incredible live version of the song performed by Q the Music Band.
Let me know in the comments below which musical score from James Bond you think would work for an RG routine, and if you think the two worlds – that of James Bond and that of rhythmic gymnastics – are compatible at all. Do you think rhythmic gymnastics could even be used in a Bond opening credits sequence? If you are an RG fan, which gymnast would you like to see performing a Bond routine? I would love to hear your opinions. Finally, if you felt inspired to listen to more James Bond music – enjoy this wonderful orchestral compilation!
See you next time,
Links to Rhythmic Gymnastics routines featuring music from the James Bond movies:
Sources – music
Sources – pictures
Sources – other