PAGU Group on the field
© USA Gymnastics

For the Closing Ceremony at the 2007 World Gymnaestrada in Dornbirn, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) decided to invite each of the five Continental Unions to prepare a large group outdoor presentation as part of the program.

For the Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) this was an exciting opportunity as several of the expected participating countries had never attended a previous World Gymaestrada and most had never prepare a large group outdoor performance.

The work began in 2004 after the conclusion of the 2003 World Gymnaestrada in Lisbon, Portugal. In 2005, Carmen Gómez Alcalá (MEX), President PAGU/GG Committee arranged for a meeting of representatives in Mexico City to plan for this work. Paula Lord (USA) was selected as the principal choreographer and project manager. The theme for the 7-minute presentation was identified – Rhythms of Life / Ritmos de la Vida.

The work began with music selection, choreography and hundreds of email exchanges! Countries were assigned particular performance responsibilities and other tasks such as costume design, props, and logistics.

The final nine countries participating included Brazil (BRA), Canada (CAN), Chile (CHI), Guatemala (GUA), Honduras (HON), Mexico (MEX), Trinidad & Tobago (T&T), Venezuela (VEN), and the United States (USA) – with 640 participants!

For the USA, the following gymnastics clubs/groups participated in this international effort:  Biron’s Gymnastics, Carolina Gymnastics, Chattooga Gymnastics, Columbia Gymnastics, Donna’s Gymnastics, Fallbrook Gymnastics, Gleason’s Gymnastics, La Jolla YMCA, Skyview Gymnastics, The Little Gym of Anchorage, Westport-Weston YMCA, and Whitlock/Letzsch gymnastics.

Alcalá said, “I take to thank all countries and individuals for their participation. I congratulate them for their great effort and the work shown in the recently completed World Gymnaestrada in Austria. I was surprised and encouraged by the growth surprised and development shown by the PAGU countries of the UPAG that participated in the Gymnaestrada. But, more importantly, I recognize that the 4 years of work that close today has been the best pretext to forge strong friendships with all, and by which I feel that the work well has been worth while.” Alcalá continued, “I thank Paula Lord for her work and coordination of these groups and to all the leaders for their excellent work and disposition as well as to their gymnasts.”

For the USA Gymnastics participants in the Closing Ceremony, this was a wonderful way to end the 2007 World Gymnaestrada. The opportunity to plan, work, train, rehearse, and perform with participants from nine countries truly represented the theme of the Gymnaestrada, Come together, be one.