On Saturday April 1, 2017—the opening night of the annual Andrews University Gymnics Homeshow—crowds of Andrews University students and Berrien Springs community members lined up outside Johnson Gym waiting to watch displays of strength, flexibility and teamwork performed by Andrews’ own Gymnics team. This year, AU Gymnics chose “Handmade” as their Homeshow theme.
Explaining this year’s Homeshow theme, Ryan Davis (senior, architecture) said, “The whole focus of ‘Handmade’ centered on Coach Eric Paddock’s belief that things are better when they are handmade. There is work that is put into it that is personal. We were handmade by God, and that gives us insurmountable value.”
The show started with a silent skit featuring two gymnics, Daniel Ronjak (senior, speech-language pathology & audiology, Spanish) and Mikelle Wile (junior, social work). In between each act, both would try to create something out of a box of mystery items. In each skit, Wile would attempt to create something using a manual while Ronjak would try to do things his own way. Each scene offered some comedic relief between the high-tension and nearly death-defying acts performed that evening.
From aerial silks to balancing chairs, acrobatic stunts and even fire juggling, there was consistently something there to grab your attention and spike your heart rate.
Ben Lee (freshman, political science), who was in attendance, said, “I thought it was well-organized, it was really cool to see all the talent that Andrews has and I really enjoyed it.”
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the show, in particular, was its balance between exhibiting group, trio, duo and individual acts. One act featured Caleb Whitman (freshman, computer science), who performed on the aerial straps. His performance was a surprising new solo act added for this year’s show—something that Gymnics has not done in the past four years.
When asked how he felt about being a part of the Homeshow, Michael Gray (sophomore, engineering), a member of AU Gymnics said, “It was a great time of the year for people to show off what they've been working on, and I liked when we weren't in groups because it showed off our individuality. So I really enjoyed it.”
Emmanuel Lapoterie (sophomore, documentary film, Spanish) who was also in attendance, said, “My favorite part was the teeter-totter routine,” he said. “Seeing all of those guys soaring through the air was really dope and I was so proud to see that my friends are growing.”
Chad Andrew Rieger, another gymnic, believed that “Homeshow went really well.” He continued to explain that since the date was moved to the weekend after Spring Break, a lot of the members were “rusty.”
Rieger said, “To kick back into gear that week was a little difficult, but I think the entire team really brought it together and the homeshow might have been better than any of our practices.”
As one of the group’s final performances before the academic year ends, it was encouraging and delightful to watch members of the Andrews community come together to support the Gymnics. Overall, the AU Gymnics Homeshow was an event that many said left them satisfied, excited and proud to be students at Andrews University.