Calisthenics is a sport involving a combination of activities including marching, club swinging, rod twirling, aerobic exercise routines, singing, dancing and ballet. It is a sport unique to Australia and is strongly dominant in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. In the last 20 years participation has included New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.
Ceres Calisthenic Club began with a married ladies group in 1985 followed by a group of 15 Tinies (under 7 years) in 1987. In 2017 there are nearly 200 girls and young women competing. The Ballarat Calisthenics Eisteddfod is the finale of the competition season and in 1992 Ceres competed at this prestigious event for the first time and has competed there each year since.
The girls improve by completing the Australian Calisthenics Federation (ACF) pupil skills with examinations offered over eight levels of difficulty. Apart from the commitment to teamwork, solo competitions are held throughout the year enabling individual performances. In 1995 twelve girls competed and in 2017 we had more than 70 girls competing in the solo competitions.
Ceres now has 20 fully accredited coaches with eight assistants undertaking training to become cadets and progress to coaches. Coaches maintain their skills by attending regular accredited seminars and cadets complete a series of seminars and workshops to qualify for coach accreditation.
In May each year we have our Annual Free-arm-arama night; a fun family night culminating in a family barbecue, and all girls look forward to performing their free-arm routine. Each June the club conducts a camp (for Subbies, Juniors, Intermediates and Seniors) held over a weekend to enable the coaches to refine and consolidate their teamwork approaching the competition season.
In 1997 a building sub-committee was formed to work towards owning a place with a practice studio and space to store props, costumes and equipment. This sub-committee worked tirelessly and raised over $205 000 through such activities as walkathons, trivia nights, sponsorships, annual dinners, dinner-auctions, golf days, movie nights, sale of concert programs and raffles. After much negotiation with Local and State Government, in 2008 the Club entered into an agreement with the City of Monash and the Waverley Bridge Club to construct a purpose-built facility at Electra Reserve in Ashwood. The facility was completed in December 2009 with Council committing the bulk of the funds together with substantial contributions from Ceres and the Waverley Bridge Club.
Moving into our new premises in 2010 resulted in a growth spurt in membership both in girls wanting to be ‘calisthenics girls’ and social members, which led Ceres to look to extend the facility and, following negotiations with Monash Council in 2014-2016, we were able to add another practice studio and storage area. Fundraising and strong member contributions allowed us, jointly with Council, to build the extension finished in May 2017. The Club is indebted to the many parents who take on fund-raising. Over many years the Bendigo Bank Ashburton branch has been a strong financial sponsor and recently presented yet another sponsorship cheque to pay for audio equipment for the new studio and to upgrade audio equipment in existing studios. The Club expects the new studio will cater for its growth in the years to come. Ceres has a strong family involvement with parents grouping together to make props required and as there are new items each year, this is a never-ending job and their support is greatly appreciated. The club has a trailer which transports props to competitions.
Contact Wendy Holman (0414 833 956) or Julie Jellis (0409 973 160) for more information.