UCLA Gymnastics has a long tradition of excellence in floor choreography by head coach Valorie Kondos-Field as well as a more recent tradition of assigning previously used choreography to current gymnasts as “legacy routines.” These routines are consistently favorites among gymnasts and hits with spectators, especially those who are longtime college gymnastics fans. We’ve picked out eleven classic UCLA floor routines that we’d love to see in the Bruins’ lineup in 2019.
KIM HAMILTON, 1989
Hamilton exudes drama and poise, and this routine is choreographed with restraint to allow her presence shine through. The key to performing a piece like this is having confidence to fill up the space in the music, which makes it perfect for a veteran performer like Katelyn Ohashi.
AMY THORNE, 1992
Thorne, the first Bruin to earn a perfect 10, performs this theatrical routine with panache, timing and a little bit of humor. This would be a great fit for a gymnast who can be elegant and a bit coy, like Felicia Hano.
LEAH HOMMA, 1996
Homma performs with incredible precision and delicacy, making little details like hand placement really stand out. This routine balances her lightness with a quiet maturity, The closest match to her presence on the current team is the Glenn twins, though it’s been a few years since either has been healthy enough to compete floor.
STELLA UMEH, 1996
Umeh is a legendary performer, and this routine, choreographed by her sister Stacey, is one of her greatest. She’s so balletic in this routine that the only choice from UCLA’s current team is Stella Savvidou, though Savvidou would have extra time to show off since she’s unlikely to be competing four tumbling passes as Umeh did!
MOHINI BHARDWAJ, 2001
Bhardwaj’s senior floor routine is her at her best: mature and composed, with incredible attention to detail. It would be a challenge for a younger gymnast, but in a few years this piece would be a great fit for Margzetta Frazier, who like Bhardwaj is a prodigious performer with an outsized personality,
JAMIE DANTZCHER, 2001
Dantzcher kicked off her collegiate career with this dramatic Shakira routine. It’s an ambitious choice for a freshman, requiring complete conviction to perform successfully, but Dantzcher nailed it. An athlete who inherited this routine would have to have serious dance chops as well as ample sophistication and presence, making us think of Macy Toronjo.
KRISTEN MALONEY, 2005
Maloney battled injuries throughout her college career, making the times she was healthy enough to compete the all around very special. This routine captures her understated presence, and her attention to fine details in a way that’s very reminiscent of Madison Kocian.
ANNA LI, 2010
Anna Li’s shockingly beautiful and contemporary “Requiem for a Dream” is one of the Bruins’ most iconic routines. We’ve often wondered if an extremely dramatic routine could be the making of Kyla Ross as a performer on floor, and she certainly has the lines and dance ability to pull this one off.
BRITTANI MCCULLOUGH, 2010
McCullough’s performance on floor is all about her presence, which is confident and refined yet playful. We can’t help but imagine this routine on Nia Dennis, especially the fantastically colorful bit of choreography around the 48-second mark in this video. Dennis, who struggled to control her power on floor last season, also stands a better chance than most college gymnasts of surviving a routine as physically intense as this one.
ELYSE HOPFNER-HIBBS, 2012
Hopfner-Hibbs was an incredible and quirky performer throughout her career, but her 2012 choreography shows off her ability the best—and provides the greatest challenge for a potential heir. This routine requires a daring, energetic gymnast who knows how to use her eyes to engage with a crowd, like Pauline Tratz.
VANESSA ZAMARRIPA, 2013
Zamarripa was an incredibly well-rounded performer, bringing her lines and sophistication to the most playful of her UCLA floor routines in 2013. A similarly elegant gymnast with the flexibility to pull this choreography off, like Gracie Kramer, could make a statement by bringing it back.
HONORABLE MENTION: MIKAELA GERBER, 2017
As far as we can find, there’s no video online of Mikaela Gerber’s senior year floor routine, which she only performed in exhibition, so you’ll have to trust us on this one: It was a truly epic rock music compilation, closing with the opening beat of “We Will Rock You” accompanied by a team chant of “ROCK CHICK MIK.” This routine deserves a chance to shine, with another gymnast fans wouldn’t immediately think of as a rocker girl—maybe Norah Flatley?
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Article by Rebecca Scally
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