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Culp’s Letter (number six): The World of Style

Friday, August 20th, 2010


August 20, 2010 by Donna Culp Culp’s Letter (number five): The World of Style

Even as I try to write blogs for “the world of style”— my all-time favorite topic—I fear that I’m not as organized as some of you. In this case, I’m 99 percent sure to make improvement, IF you don’t take so long to answer.

Yes, I am crazy about you, and I want your names posted on my blog. ARE YOU READY?
With my request in mind and ten fingers on the keyboard, I am here to lay down some really good questions. Except instead of my answer (or opinion), I’m looking for yours. And even one comment that you send to me— or ten, I read them all.

What’s your take on choreography? Some say it’s the big thing.

What kind of music fits a gymnast without musicality? Don’t answer, none!

What’s hot for a floor-routine? I’m big on cool-looking floor patterns.

What do you call a creative risk in choreography? (Hint: Stretch the imagination.)

What would people say about your gymnast’s choreography? “You wow.”

How many times do you decide to start a new routine—2 years on a single routine?

What key features do you take note when it comes to a “great routine?”

How many times do you decide to start a new routine—2 years on a single routine?

What would be a dream-gymnast for a choreographer?

What makes a routine an art form?

Culp’s Letter (number five): The World of Style

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

img_0351.JPGI dare you to not love gymnastics if you coach, or you’re a choreographer (!), but I have never really asked a gymnast, What do you love about gymnastics? So I asked them. Tiny pre-optional kids and lovely compulsory girls as well as highly competitive optional gymnasts—the cream of the crop. Their answers were wonderfully simple. I pulled together ten favorites this year directly from answers I received in my GUTS workshops.

gymnast’s answer
What we love about artistic gymnastics?

1. Sometimes a boy says things about my muscles, and always I win in arm wrestling.
2. Trampolines are so cool.
3. When it comes to the Olympics, it’s not the thing that matters; it’s okay for me to say that, right?
4. Life without gymnastics wouldn’t be as fun.
5. This year with our meet schedule—we go to Disney World. Never been before.
6. I make a big deal out of getting tricks. My coach takes this very serious too.
7. I love the vault, bars, beam, and floor — beam is risky.
8 . What do you mean love?
9. Gymnastics comes a little early in the morning, so homeschool is nice!
10. I have the world’s best friends.


Culp’s Letter (number three): The World of Style

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Culp’s Letter (number three): The World of Style

December 17, 2008
by donna culp

When the holiday season is telling me to rush around frantically at its most extreme and demanding pace, how does one live sanely? By going to the gym! Gymnastics should make our lives easier and more fun, not add unnecessary frustrations. That’s the reason I continue to love to work and, as it turns out, to travel with the GUTS workshops.

Almost 10 years have passed since the launch of GUTS, my creative workshop that builds the artistic gymnast, and its introduction to the STYLE ROPE, a 4-foot piece of rope – so simple! (I can be grateful to not have to explain so many details for artistry.) The STYLE ROPE works on everything: continuity between movement, musicality, creating an artist from a gymnast.

I truly believe gymnastics should be playful—and playful should be artful. It’s that kind of play—when a gymnast focuses on technique, but also understands how to make the movements with poise, and performs her routines with more intense style. Being able to execute to Code and to perform every skill as a whole routine has to be one of the most challenging things in the sport. There are no shortcuts. It’s just hard work.

As we approach the New Year, I want to thank the coaches who brought GUTS to their gym, and those gymnasts who came willing to make the journey with their clubs. Thanks Tom & Reiko (GymSmarts) for being my best support—you guys do things so linearly, and I do not!

Happy New Year, this year is for fun.