It has been just over a year since my first ever blog post. To mark this ‘MelodyRG Anniversary’ I would like to share with you a brief analysis of one special routine that recently captured my attention and inspired me to write. Similar to my first ever blog post, the gymnast in this new 2022 routine is Bulgarian, and she performs with the ball. The gymnast is called Lachezara Pekova and she took part in the Italian Championship Series A in Bari last weekend. Lachezara performed only one routine (with the ball) as she was a part of a team named Virtus Gallarate consisting of four gymnasts. We are yet to see her perform with the hoop, clubs and ribbon in future competitions. However, her very elegant performance with the ball was enough to suggest this is a gymnast with a whole lot of potential and I cannot wait to see the rest of her program!
Context – New Beginnings
We are entering a new Olympic cycle, the culmination of which is going to be the 33rd Olympiad in Paris in 2024. This current cycle is governed by a new Code of Points (i.e. rulebook) that is different from the 2017-21 Code of Points. Most notably, there is a separate Artistry score which brings back the emphasis on storytelling, composition and musicality of a routine which has been historically a part of the sport.
While it is still early days to make any conclusions about how the new Code of Points will change the look of RG, it is a great time to appreciate this period as a reset. There are new talented gymnasts to look out for, new routines, new rules, even new competitions - all things to get excited about as RG fans!
Lachezara Pekova's Ball Routine 2022
Lachezara Pekova is a Bulgarian gymnast, only 20 years of age. She hasn’t had much experience at big international competitions yet, so you may not have heard much about her, and frankly – neither had I until recently. However, she really shone bright at the Italian Championships in Bari last weekend and stood out as someone with a bright future ahead of her.
I was particularly impressed with Lachezara’s presence on the carpet – she has the poise of a ballet artist which is evident by the delicate work of her arms and hands. It is this fluid movement of her arms that gives her routine a high artistic value and distinguishes her in comparison to other gymnasts. She has wonderful back flexibility that is showcased at the right moments – a striking pose at the start of the routine, or a lovely backscale pivot performed during a musical accent in the middle of the routine, for example. The ball is in constant motion while the gymnast appears to be in unison with her apparatus. Multiple gentle rolls of the ball across the body are intertwined with graceful transitions and elegant body shapes as if to embellish the sorrowful sounding of the musical piece 'Oblivion' by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.
I enjoyed watching how Lachezara married body movement and music throughout her routine, to achieve that harmonious flow so characteristic to the sport of rhythmic gymnastics! There is an artistic interpretation of the music in her work which is so wonderful to see. I was simply grateful to be able to enjoy this in RG again.
The musical choice for Lachezara’s ball routine is a beautiful piece of tango music called 'Oblivion' that evokes sadness and, in my opinion, explores the depths of the human heart. As such, I consider this music quite an advanced choice and I admire Lachezara's ability to deliver and perform to this mature music whole-heartedly. In contrast to Piazzolla’s hugely popular ‘Libertango’ which has been used countless times in RG routines and stands out as more provocative, I find ‘Oblivion’ is more soulful and evocative. This is music that moves and tells a personal story.
Astor Piazzolla revolutionized tango music in the 1980s and is considered the founding father of tango nuevo, or ‘new tango’ music. In only a few days time – on 11th March 2022 – we celebrate 101 years since his birthday in 1921 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. So perhaps you can go back to Lachezara's routine on Friday as a celebration of 'Piazzolla day'!
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Have a lovely day and I will see you next time!
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