This is the first week of a new training season in QUESTO Rhythmic Gymnastics Club that has been offering rhythmic gymnastics programs in Montreal for more than 50 years. In these years, thousands of girls graduated from the club.
The club has a tremendous reputation, being designated as an elite club by the City of Montreal. QUESTO gymnasts participated in the Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, at many Rhythmic Gymnastics (RG) World Championships and at World Cups. Two of the ten members of today’s Canadian senior national RG team hail from QUESTO. When The Times visited, we met the 2012 national gymnastics champ, Maria Kitkarska, 2012 runner-up, Ekaterina Shtrevensky, the 2013 Novice champion, Alexandra Chtrevenskii and other girls who put on impressive performances.
QUESTO differentiates itself with the quality of its coaches, most of whom have their National Coaching Certification (NCC), sometimes combined with choreographic and ballet credentials. The classes are offered in English or French and sometimes in Russian.
We spoke to Q– USETO head-coach, Lidia Joukova, who stressed that the girls “stay here because they love it.” Indeed, some of QUESTO today’s customers are the daughters of former QUESTO students. Joukova also spoke of the incredible number of practice hours needed to perfect a one minute performance.
QUESTO offers both recreational and competitive gymnastics programs for girls, as well as rhythmic fitness for adult women. The special performance program addresses girls of 14 years and older and is for former athletes experienced in gymnastics, acrobatics, ballet or dance who would like to experience the spirit of performance once again.
Although the training has already started, it still is not too late to register for the fall session! The latecomers can still be accommodated, sometimes by offering them a one-time trial in a class. The current session ends in December and a new session begins in January. Classes are offered at three Montreal locations between Cote des Neiges and NDG.
“We take girls from age 3 to 14,” explains QUESTO president Anna Shtrevensky, “New recruits first try our recreational program after which they may choose to try our competitive program. No, we don’t offer anything for boys, but that might change in the future.”
The recreational program is where beginners start and may involve only one class per week. Girls in the competitive program might be taking 4-6 classes per week.
Since rhythmic gymnastics involves many dance and ballet elements, ballet always complements QUESTO’s competitive programs providing an excellent base not only for those who are interested in high level competitive rhythmic gymnastics, but also for those who may be interested in re-orienting towards the circus arts or modern dancing or other related performing arts.
QUESTO’s 7 week summer camp, meanwhile, is popular with the local community and students from out-of-town. The camp runs from late June to mid-August and also offers gymnastics classes for all levels. All campers participate in the final show together with competitive QUESTO gymnasts.
Registration prices for QUESTO programs start at $100 per session for part-time (once-a-week) students of ages 3-5, and can go up to $290 per session for regular (twice weekly) students of ages 10-14. All of QUESTO’s programs are eligible for income tax deductions as athletic activities; the competitive program offers both athletic and artistic tax deductions.