It started out as a hobby but turned into a lifestyle. After 15 years of competitive jump rope, holding one world record and winning World and European Jump Rope Championships several times, Adrienn Bánhegyi was selected to be an artist of Cirque du Soleil. Her video shot in Budapest in 2013 has been watched by millions of people and she gets requests from all around the world to perform her special show. Nowadays one of her goals is to popularize her sport in the fields of education.
“My dad saw a movie with jump rope girls, and the idea came after this experience” said Adrienn about her beginnings to nemzetisport.hu. “My parents are special education teachers and their initial aim was to provide a cheap but useful tool to their pupils. This sport really improves one’s concentration ability and condition. Their idea turned into an extracurricular activity in which I and my sister helped them. I was around 9 nine years old back then. It started out as a hobby but later we heard that there was a federation for this sport in Hungary. We performed in a team, entered a competition where an American formation performed and that gave us the motivation and guidance.”
Outsiders might think that this sport is easy-peasy, but it is not. You have to harmonise your arms and legs while sometimes jumping higher than other times. This requires good condition and coordination. You can feel the burn after a few minutes.
According to nemzetisport.hu there are different events at competitions and you have to prepare for them in different ways. When it is about the speed, you need to train your endurance and technique. When you choose freely what to perform, it is all about the team’s harmony with the music, how much space and technical elements they use. This means 4-5 hour long training/day.
“We hold the speed word record with the Hungarian national team. My individual record was unfortunately broken after eight years last week. I achieved that record in Denmark at the European Championships in the even when the competitors are crossing the rope three times in one jump. This goes on until somebody makes an error or gets tired. My record was 330, this was broken by 40. I am thinking about trying to win back my record.”
Compared to other acrobats, they face less danger and injuries. The most common injury is the inflammation of Achilles’ tendon so the surface they jump on is very important.
She got in touch with Cirque du Soleil 10 years ago and performed in many of their shows. Her sister, Kata is still touring with them. Since Adrienn stopped competing, she has performed all around the world. One of her most special experiences is that she got to perform at the Carnival of Rio last February with her sister. She says that she always gets the fastest reaction form children.
Her favourite trick is when she lets go of the rope during a trick and twirls it back into her hand. It is quite a challenge.
Something that is close to her heart is the Ropes for hopes programme, in which they help and teach children. She finds that people in Hungary are more and more open to bringing jump rope trainings into schools.
Adrienn on her future plans: “Jump rope trainings worked with children who need special education; they managed to reach their educational goals. It would mean possibility of employment if we managed to spread jump roping in European schools. I work in fitness and see that jump rope classes are not part of the schedules and this is also something I want to change. An agency is forming which would help young talents who want make their way into the entertainment industry. Our aim is to set up opportunities for the next generation that not many of us had.”
Translated by Alexandra Béni
Photo: JACQ Fotó&Fitnesz Stúdió