A seemingly perfect jump is deemed not good enough by the athlete’s harshest critic . . . herself.
‘‘My toes weren’t pointed,’’ Dannika Pentecost said after repeating her jump once again during practice in a hall on the outskirts of Alexandra.
Even though she is only 15, Dannika has more than 10 years’ experience in the world of aerobic gymnastics and is about to compete internationally for the first time.
While at an after-school programme when she was 5, Dannika joined Crayon Gymnastics and when that closed she was so keen to carry on she joined Dunedin club Astra Gymnastics.
Her mother, Luana, who says she is Dannika’s ‘‘taxi driver and biggest cheerleader’’, has happily devoted hours, dollars and annual leave to her only child’s passion.
Each week they hired halls so there was enough room for Dannika to practise. Her coach is in Dunedin so they travelled there every other week for tuition.
Add to that choreography, costumes and shoes and it became a whole family commitment, Mrs Pentecost said.
‘‘People at the club keep me motivated and I enjoy travel with [the sport],’’ Dannika said.
So far she has been to competitions all around New Zealand including Auckland, Tauranga and Timaru but the next leap would be across the Tasman for the Australian Clubs Carnival next month.
As with all aerobics competitions, the trip is selffunded so as well as practice and travelling for coaching, extensive fundraising now has to be fitted in.
Last weekend, they had a sausage sizzle in Alexandra. They are selling dozens of cheese rolls and are trying any other money-making ideas they can think of.
For the first time, Mrs Pentecost has started a Givealittle page seeking help.
‘‘I’m trying to reach more people. I always seem to be asking the same people for help.’’
Competing in Australia would give Dannika, who is the New Zealand champion at her level, the chance to perform on a sprung floor and expose her to more competition, she said.
Aerobics is based on the ability to perform continuous complex and high-intensity movement patterns to music. Competitive routines must demonstrate flexibility, power, strength and compulsory elements to varying levels of difficulty.