When it comes to kids, today’s parents believe in equal doses of education and enrichment. It should be that way because as the saying goes – All work and no play make Jack a dull boy! In Singapore, there are multitude of options when it comes to enrichment and co-curricular activities for kids. As a parent, it can be a mind-boggling decision to choose the best that will be loved by their kids while developing their full potential for future.
If the enrichment class offers the holistic benefit of physical + mental + creative development, it is lapped up by kids and parents. We talked to Bianka Panova and Daniela Michaely – Director and Founder of Bianka Panova Sport & Art Academy (BPA) and got to know more about their school and its offerings. We as parents feel that the options that the academy offers are unique and definitely very interesting. Introducing kids to one of the most favourite sports of Olympics is simply exciting and opens up so many possibilities.
Tell us something about the school. What are the activities conducted in the school and how it all started?
Bianka: Our Academy – Bianka Panova Sport & Art Academy (BPA) is based on the unique principles of Rhythmic Gymnastics AKA RG. This is not just an Olympic Sport, but a very complex form of Art as well. It’s not a novelty that Gymnastics is the Academy of the Physical Literacy for all other sports and motion arts, but also is highly demanding in terms of the Mental and Physical strength. In my experience as a Sports Coach and Educator, I never meet any other sport so full of content, benefits and values for the young girls like RG. The only sport that besides the physical skills develops:
- Mental sharpness
- stimulation to the brain growth because activates the 2 spheres of the brain – Logical and Creative
I am really grateful to Daniela Michaely, who dared to dream big and managed to create the foundation of this Academy!
Daniela: I read the book of Bianka “In the name of the great goal, behind the scene” and I wished my daughter to have a coach like her. So, I wrote to her with an offer and she agreed to come in SG and we have opened together this Academy. I remember, we started 6 years ago, with only 7 girls in my dining room. We even didn’t have a proper gym… Today our Academy is awarded as a Centre of Excellence, Bianka is well recognised Coach of High Performance, this year our gymnasts won the National Titles in all age category in the National Championships of SG despite the Covid restrictions, and finally we managed to produce even a movie about RG! “The things I wish you knew!”
Some of the activities and classes that you conduct are niche. How is the response in an Asian country like Singapore so far?
Bianka: BPA is the only club in Asia, which offers 4 additional physical activities besides RG in professional level, which will help your child to become better gymnast. As follows:
- Classical Ballet
- Strength &Conditioning
- Contemporary Dance
- Performing Arts
All four activities are deployed in a very professional manner, the coaches in BPA are carefully selected and they have knowledge about the Child’s safety and the early childhood behaviour and education and they are experts in their areas.
Daniela: Singapore is unique country with its beauty, order, high-tech and multi-culture. It deserves a Centre like this Academy, where the young children can discover and develop their talents.
Any heartwarming experiences / proud moments that you would like to share.
Bianka: When I see the smile of a child in the gym – it warms my heart and makes me really happy. Also, working with all my wonderful colleagues, sharing every day with them in good and bad, makes my days full of Joy and Gratitude.
Covid scenario has turned the world upside down. How was / is its impact for the school? How did you keep afloat?
Bianka: Everyone is familiar with the challenges of the Home-Based Learning (HBL), what about the Home-Based Training? During these two years of world crisis, we have managed to organize our resources and created online training curriculum, which kept the interest of our athletes. We developed our activity holistically, and decided to educate the young kids scientifically about the correct training load, healthy eating, the mental wellbeing, the beauty of the motion full with inner content, the values and principles of Sport.
We talked about different music styles, we even started to learn the Anatomy and the functions of different muscles. The most important in every activity is the motivation. So, we talked a lot about what motivate these young girls to practice endlessly their favourite sport – RG, and why this activity is so different, intriguing and catching than anything else in their everyday life.
Daniela: It was not easy period. We were fighting with platforms and technologies, servers, healthy measures, lockdowns but the most important was that everyone in our Academy assisted and gave the maximum of their possibilities to contribute to the final result. The people who are working in BPA are the real asset of the organisation and I am really happy to work with them!
What are your future plans?
Bianka: We will continue to promote RG Training as a source of Informal Education and personal growth for Young Kids. It’s all about the uplifting the self-esteem of each child.
We never thought we can produce a film with young gymnasts. But it is a fact! And it was a great experience. The girls are so talented! They are the personification of the real Rhythmic Gymnasts! They can dance, sing, play on different instruments, they can express themselves, they can take a side and stand by it firmly!
With Daniela, we have many great ideas about how to look the “Gymnastics of the Future”!
Just watch! And stay tuned!
Any words of wisdom for others who would like to venture in this field.
Bianka: To work with Youth is a blessing, but in the same time big responsibility. To be a Teacher, Coach, Mentor – is not just a job, it is a calling in life. I am really grateful to discover more of this Mission.
The academy created a film entitled “Things I Wish You Knew.” It features BPA students on the painstaking pressure and stress of competition in the athlete’s world and how to overcome them. The film is very suitable for the family during the holiday season!
The film premiere will be from December 26, 2021, to January 2, 2022.
It is also an event for a cause where a percentage of the ticket proceeds will go to the non-profit charity organization, Children’s Wishing Well.
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