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Rocklin offering new twirling classes

Interest gains as area participants prepare to perform in Sacramento
By: Amanda Calzada, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Just as Rocklin continues to grow and diversify, so does the number and type of programs the city offers.

Corey Kinyon-Cruz and Cindy McVay have introduced the art and sport of baton twirling to the community. The new program began in September and has already acquired interest from participants who will perform an exhibition in a competition on Saturday, Jan. 30, in Sacramento hosted by the California Baton Council.

“There’s this huge competitive twirling world,” said McVay, who has joined Rocklin twirlers with the United States Twirling Association. “I had no idea it even existed.”

McVay has witnessed the twirling world since her sixth-grade daughter, Jade, was 5 years old and jumped into the activity. At age 7, Jade began twirling competitively for Gold River, based in Sacramento. Now that her teammates have all graduated from high school, her mother decided to establish a twirling community in Rocklin with Kinyon-Cruz.

Kinyon-Cruz says she remembers enrolling in a twirling class through a free lesson at a local school as a child. Instantly, she knew the sport was something she wanted to pursue.

Kinyon-Cruz was the Grand National Strut Champion in 1980.
Competition allowed chances to travel the world, Kinyon-Cruz said. Some of the places she has competed in include Japan, Canada, France and Italy.

She was a twirler for the Blue Devil World Team who earned two consecutive wins in the international spotlight in 1983 and 1984.
Kinyon-Cruz has been teaching baton-twirling for 30 years. She has taught in London and Scotland and is currently coaching world-level athletes in addition to young novices.

Jade assists Kinyon-Cruz with her beginning class.

“I love it,” Jade said. “They are all so sweet and they get to enjoy the fun of more advanced skills,” said the Breen student who earned the title for Intermediate Solo in the 9 to10-year-old age group a few years ago.
Both Jade and her mom agree that the beginning competitors have greatly improved their ability in such a limited amount of time.

“It requires a unique skill,” said Kinyon-Cruz, who teaches her twirlers how to maintain balance and focus during repetition exercises and performance routines.
Hand-eye coordination and reflexes are also abilities the sport exercises.
Baton twirling has a dancing and gymnastics base, as well as an individual and team flavor. Dancing and gymnastics often supplement a competitive twirler’s career.

Classes are currently being offered Tuesday afternoons and evenings at Cobblestone Elementary School. Those interested in joining can contact the city’s department of Youth Sports.