J’s been going to gymnastics at DC Gymnastics, and she likes it very much. But its location, near West Gate Plaza in Albany, is a serious schlep for us. So I was super-excited to hear about Cartwheels Gymnastics Center opening in Clifton Park.
We went to try out a class recently.
The first and most obvious thing? The place is new. Everything’s shiny and clean, and it all smells like fresh paint and fresh carpet. It’s almost overpowering, really. But it’s also a sharp contrast to most of the area gymnastics places, all of which show their age in grime of various degrees and the smell, let’s face it, of sweaty girls and old chalk.
It’s a smaller space than some of the more cavernous gyms, but there’s still plenty of equipment packed into the c. 4,000 square feet, including balance beams of various heights, uneven bars and some practice bars, a trampoline and Tumble Trak, a floor exercise mat, and rings. An additional 2,300 square feet of space with a vault and other equipment is in the works and expected to be opened within the next month or two.
J joined a group of about 12 or 14 girls with two coaches, including one of the co-owners, Dana Marion. According to Jason Dammer, the other co-owner, they have a maximum ratio of 8-1 for school age and 6-1 for pre-school.
J liked both coaches, although she was a bit impatient with some of the other girls in her class. Like other gymnastics classes she’s attended, the coaches assign different stations so that the gymnasts can stay busy working on different skills instead of waiting on line. Since the class was new, some of the other girls didn’t snap to as quickly and efficiently as my exacting 7-year-old would have liked!
For me, the smaller space and the fact that there was only one class occurring while we were there was a welcome change of pace. It was much easier for me to actually listen and hear what the coaches were saying. At both DC and World Class Gymnastics, the kids are usually so far away from the parents’ seating area that there’s no hope of knowing what is happening. This appealed to the control freak mama hawk in me, although at the rate they’re going, I can imagine that there will be simultaneous classes in their future.
Cartwheels is planning on doing a summer camp, although they haven’t settled on a schedule yet. They’ve also planned Open Gym times occasionally, which means that kids can work on different equipment in a self-directed way, but with coaches present to spot and advise. They did this last Friday from 6:30-8 pm, and it cost $10/member or $15/guest. If you’re interested in any of these, check out the Cartwheels Facebook page for updates.