The Tucson Twist-Its are teaming with USA Jump Rope to host a first-ever, all-star jump-rope workshop.
The workshop, open to all ages, will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The private lessons, from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, are full. Both will take place at Emily Gray Junior High School, 11150 E. Tanque Verde Road.
The workshop costs $55, which includes a recreational membership with USA Jump Rope. For current members it costs $45.
The workshop registration form can be downloaded at http://usajumprope.org/Forms/2013%20Workshops/2013azallstarworkshopappltr.pdf online.
USA Jump Rope, based in Huntsville, Texas, is the main U.S. organization for the sport of jump-rope, said Becky Zelewski, one of its staff associates.
“The workshop is run by the all-star team, and they are the best of the best from USA Jump Rope,” she said. “They have to make it in the top three in the national championship to try out for the team.”
The workshop will begin with a skill test for all participants. Everyone will then be separated into groups where they can learn based on their skill levels.
“Even if they are beginners to jump-rope, they’ll be able to learn just as much,” Zelewski said.
The workshop will include different techniques, including single rope, long rope, double dutch, Chinese wheel and traveler.
USA Jump Rope has 19 all-stars, five of whom will come in from out of state. The all-stars are Michelle Fongson, 27; Gary Schwartz, 25; Zev Troxler, 18; Miranda DiBenedetto, 19; Kayla Henry, 17; and Tucson Twist-Its coach Lauren Klipp, who is 25.
Klipp has been a member of the Twist-Its since she was 10.
“We are a competitive and demonstrative jump-rope team. We compete at local, regional, national and world levels, but we also focus on improving health and fitness in the community,” she said.
The group consists of 22 members, ranging in age from 7 to 16, plus two coaches. Members can be no younger than 7, but they can be older than 16.
The Twist-Its try do perform in various settings. “We perform for our local elementary schools and the American Heart Association,” Klipp said.
Klipp also coaches a team of younger kids called The Jumping Beans. They only meet once a week — the Twist-Its practice three times a week for two hours at a stretch — and the kids range from kindergarten to fourth grade.
Klipp’s goal is for the team to do more outreach programs. She and Emma Bowman, the assistant coach, traveled to Vietnam at the beginning of this year and taught jump-rope to schoolchildren there.
“We taught at an international school as well as a Vietnamese school. We taught them single rope and double dutch.”
Klipp said another goal is for all the kids to compete at least regionally; their ultimate goal is for everyone to compete nationally..
Abigail Auslander, 16, has been a Twist-It for four years. “As one of the older members I get to help out with the younger kids. I see them improving their skills, and I teach them good sportsmanship,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to see them succeed.”
Auslander enjoys the competitive aspect as well as the performances. She also likes seeing the positive response from people, including parents and audience members.
“We’ve made some really great friendships. The whole team is like one big family,” she said.