BRB choreographs routine for champion gymnast

Matthew Lawrence, one of Birmingham Royal Ballets Principal dancers, has created a routine for the Welsh and five-times British champion gymnast Frankie Jones for the Rhythmic Gymnastics British Championships ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Photo by Roy Smiljanic

Born in New Zealand, Matthew Lawrence has been a Principal dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet since 2008 where he is a hugely versatile artist, performing a huge breadth of roles within the Company.Frankie Jones is the only British individual rhythmic gymnast set to compete at the 2012 Olympics. Matthew and Jennifer will continue to work closely with Frankie in the run up to the Olympic Games, as they will teach Frankie ballet classes as part of her preparation for the competition.

Matthew Lawrence said of his time choreographing the routine for Frankie:

Its both exciting and scary working with Frankie, because in creating a piece, you realise only your imagination is holding you back, as her body can create any imaginable shape or movement. A rhythmic gymnast takes elements of ballet, and then stretches it to the extreme. Its like the disciplines are related, but each has evolved on different planets

The routine is about dealing with the transitions of life. Frankie and I are kindred spirits in this respect, as were both nearing the point of transition in our life stages. The piece has a melancholic tone, spiked with hope for the future, yet tinged with trepidation of uncertainty.

Rhythmic gymnastics is a combination of gymnastics and dance and its origins lie in a wide variety of disciplines, including classical ballet, and the sport is rapidly growing in popularity in the UK and around the world.

Frankie will perform Matthews choreographed routine at the Rhythmic Gymnastics British Championships on 29 June in Stoke-on-Trent. The four days of rhythmic gymnastics competitions at the London 2012 Olympic Games in which Frankie will be competing take place between Thursday 9 and Sunday 12 August at Wembley Arena.