PRGA and Rhythmic Gymnastics


Mrs. Varsha Upadhye has represented India as an International Judge and Coach in over 20 international competitions till date. She has been associated with this sport for over 40 years now.

Varsha Tai was felicitated with the prestigious Shiv Chhatrapati Award for gymnastics in 1989 – 1990 followed by the “Excellence in Coaching” award in 2011-2012. Almost about 16 of her students have participated in international competitions as a part of Team India.

Career highlights:

  • First Indian woman to become an International Judge, a Technical Committee Member of Asian Gymnastics Union and represent India at Commonwealth Games 2006 as a Rhythmic Gymnastics Judge.
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics Judge for 3 Olympic Cycles from 2004 to 2014. Represented India as a Judge and Coach in over 20 International Competitions including World Championships, World Cup, Asian Championships, Commonwealth Games. Experience of over 40 years in the sports field
  • Administrative role: Worked as Technical Committee Member of Maharashtra Amateur Gymnastics Association. Convener to Gymnastics Federation of India, Rhythmic Gymnastics 2005-2013. Elected as Vice President of Mumbai District Gymnastics Association
  • She has been a part of the Organising committee of National Competitions like Khelo India Games, 1st Indian RG Cup, and other competitions. She has organized Judging workshops and conducted masterclasses across various cities.
  • TEDx Speaker, Pananji 2020 (1st Indian Rhythmic Gymnastics Coach to do so)
  • She has received various social awards like “Savitri Sanman” and “Hirkani Puraskar” for her contribution to sports
  • Student profiles include 6 Shiv Chhatrapati Awardees (Maharashtra State Sports Award), 11 Jilha Krida Awardees (District Sports Award) and 16 official International Players, over 50 National Champions, 10 official Judges and numerous Coaches in the last 15 years.
  • She has actively promoted the importance of fitness for young girls and the beautiful game of Rhythmic Gymnastics through her academy, interviews, write ups and social media columns. From demonstrations at events to supporting government initiatives, all these were done free of charge and voluntarily with the sole intention of raising awareness towards women’s fitness.

After having witnessed the amalgamation of music, dance and gymnastics in one sport, she was instantly absorbed in its magic especially after being a gymnast myself! After attending many international events, She realized that there was no full-fledged streamlined early training for Rhythmic in India and that’s when she decided to start my own academy – Premier Rhythmic Gymnastics Academy (PRGA) in 2004. Working with Jet Airways had taught her a sense of discipline and important communication/people skills that prepared her to manage starting her own academy, especially at a time when nobody was a front runner in this country, in this particular field of sport.

The aim of this academy has been to promote training in rhythmic gymnastics from a younger age and popularize the importance of fitness among young girls. This in turn would result in students participating at District, State, National and International Championships.

At first, finding an open space in a city like Mumbai was a tough task but with time the academy has grown strength to strength and is now conducting classes at 5 different locations in Mumbai – From an open terrace to a sports complex.

She quotes, “The continuous growth of my students and their passion for the game motivates me every single day. My aim was to promote the game and create a strong base for the future generations to take the game forward. The fact that I need to create a bigger platform to support and promote this great talent inspires me to go out and work harder for my students.

I know the effort that goes into each player’s training, having experienced it myself from a younger age. The players need better equipment, training centers, practice stadiums, nutrition consultation, funding and support and much more! Every day is a battle to fight all odds and this fight is what has made me who I am today and will continue to be the reason why this sport will keep growing further. My students are my inspiration and the promotion of this beautiful sport, my motivation”

RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS  – an amalgamation of music, dance, gymnastics!

Rhythmic Gymnastics is a women oriented Olympic recognized sport performed on music with hand held apparatus. It has only recently grown in India in the past few years and is still a relatively new sport as compared to mainstream sporting events. In India this sport is played at school, district, zonal, state, national and international level.

It is a discipline which improves Strength, Flexibility, Balance, Agility, Eye-Hand Co-Ordination, Expression, Grace, Self Esteem, Fun and Healthy Lifestyle that a gymnast will sustain for lifetime. It is a perfect combination of dance to music using different steps and moves while juggling with their hand-held apparatus. It’s a great activity for women of any age group to shape up and develop firm tone all while expressing uniquely and creatively.

Individual Exercise

There are five different exercises in rhythmic gymnastics: the rope, the ribbon, the ball,  the hoop and the clubs.

  • Rope – Skipping is the main feature of rope work, gymnasts also swing the rope and perform various types of throws and catches.
  • Ribbon – The gymnast makes spectacular moving patterns like snakes, spirals, circles on the floor and even in the air, also long throws and catches can be performed.
  • Ball – The ball must not be held only carefully balanced by the performer as she gracefully bounces, rolls on different parts of the body, swings, throws and catches it.
  • Hoop – Gymnasts can swing or spin the hoop round their bodies, also different types of rolls and handling can be performed with the hoop. They can also perform throws and catches and even pass through it.
  • Clubs – The greatest test of skill and strength is required for the perfect handling of the clubs. The movements like circles and mills can be performed with the clubs.

  Group Competitions

  • Rhythmic Group Gymnastics, performed by teams of five, perform intricate routines using multiple apparatus at the same time.
  • Motion and creativity characterize Rhythmic Group routines, where many things are often happening at the same time.
  • Combining the elegance of the ballet with the drama of the theater, Rhythmic Group Gymnastics bursts with glamour, blurring the boundaries between sport and art.
  • Similar to the Rhythmic Individual gymnasts, Rhythmic Group gymnasts strive to enchant judges and audiences with the polish of their exercises while executing enormously difficult maneuvers with one of four handheld apparatus: the Hoop, Ball, pair of Clubs and Ribbon.
36th Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships in Sofia/BUL, 10-16 September 2018

Each Group shall present one exercise with 5 same apparatus ( e.g 5 pairs of Clubs) and the other one with combination of two kinds of apparatus (e.g. 3 Balls + 2 Ribbons).