BY LUIS GRONDA
A group of Forest Hills kids took their performance act to Madison Square Garden earlier this week. At halftime of Wednesday’s New York Liberty game, the Forest Hills Rhythmic Gymnastics group performed their routine in front of thousands of people at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
The group practices in the basement of the Forest Hills Jewish Center, located at 106-06 Queens Blvd. The group’s school director, Alex Spivha, described rhythmic gymnastics in an email. “It involves a lot of grace, choreography, acrobatics and dance,” he said. “Unlike artistic gymnastics, which is done on parallel bars and balance beams, rhythmic gymnastics combines dance and acrobatics with the supple manipulation of equipment such as ribbon, hula hoops, jump ropes, clubs and balls.”
About 18 kids performed at MSG on Wednesday, dancing to the song “The Chairman’s Waltz” from the “Memoirs of a Geisha” soundtrack. Milana Spivha, the group’s coach and Alex’s mother, was elated to see her kids perform on the big stage. “When my kids finished, I started crying,” she said. “I’m proud of these kids and this country for giv-ing me this opportunity.” Alex and Milana are originally from Ukraine, where the sport is very popular, and is performed on the Olympic level.
Approximately 80 kids practice on a daily basis, Alex said. The 18 that performed at the Garden are from the group’s advanced class, according to Alex. They also have an intermediate and beginners class. They got this opportunity after a representative from MSG saw the group’s Father’s Day show. Alex said the rep approached him about possibly doing the performance and they eventually agreed on a date for the show. After the biggest show of their lives, Alex said it is back to business as usual for the group.
“It’s back to practice, back to training,” he said. “We want them to be stronger and healthier.”
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.