They’ve all got rhythm in their blood and a good dose of ambition and discipline to go with it: The group of gymnasts that centres around Kerstin Beiter sets the bar high and electrifies spectators at international tournaments.
They’re all former competitive athletes and because they left the sport to sometimes start families or pursue careers, Kerstin Beiter decided to simply create her own group of gymnasts for herself and the 17 young women – in Röthis. The athletes come from all over the country because this group is unique.
‘Casual, groovy, rocking’ is the motto that the women have given themselves, and they fill these words with dynamism, joy of movement and rhythm. They’ve been travelling all over the place – even to South Africa – since 1986 while training hard weekly for tournaments and stage shows and regularly return home with awards in their luggage. The age spectrum is broad and ranges from 18 to 33 years, from schoolgirls to women in jobs, and so they often face the difficult task of fitting all kinds of colourful lifestyles into a schedule that suits them all. “Our strength is certainly the enthusiasm that each one of us brings along, it would never work otherwise,” says Kerstin Beiter as the trainer. “We share the same passion and work together to achieve our goals.”
A lot of creative work goes into the shows, the high levels of performance do not only require precise training – they also demand really regular training. The tasks are shared, but Kerstin is the one who keeps her eye on the ball and keeps everything running smoothly. She makes sure that fun and enjoyment remain the most important aspects of what they do, that new ideas and stage designs are implemented again and again and that new collaborations are possible. The Youth Symphony Orchestra was given the privilege of playing live on stage in 2017, for example, a beautiful and unique experience for all those taking part.
The best thing about the Gymnaestrada is that everyone can join in...
The next big challenge has been scheduled for months – the 16th World Gymnaestrada will be returning to Vorarlberg in 2019. It’s not only going to be a huge event with 25,000 athletes from all over the world, it’s also going to be a massive task and responsibility for Kerstin Beiter and Britta Hafner because they’re going to be handling the opening and closing ceremony. These two ceremonies alone will see 1,500 children, teenagers and adults performing on stage. The concept, choreography, costumes, logistics, equipment, transport, music and even the smallest of details will have to be in place when the thousands of spectators turn up to see the show. The two women are working with a team on this task. The communication alone requires a lot of intensive work and the two know exactly what awaits them in 2019 because they’ve already taken part in the events themselves several times in the past.
“The best thing about the Gymnaestrada is that everyone can join in, all cultures come together, everything takes place peacefully, wonderful encounters and fantastic shows can be seen every day. It’s a great time,” says Kerstin enthusiastically and surprisingly calmly. “I think the motto of ‘come together. show your colours!’ is really appropriate for an event of this size and variety – and the opening show is going to be colourful, that’s for sure,” she says laughing.
The world’s media is going to descend on the region between Lake Constance and Arlberg from 7 to 13 July 2019 and it’s certainly going to be a very special time for all those taking part – but also for Vorarlberg. And after that? “We’ll be training for the next tournament once that’s over,” says Kerstin Beiter and starts to stretch after sitting for so long.