Tonawanda News

Features

November 25, 2013

Twin-Ton Twirling Corps picks up on years of tradition

Twin-Ton Twirling Corps picks up on years of tradition

Tonawanda News — During a recent Twin-Ton Twirling Corps practice at Meadow Elementary School in North Tonawanda, there’s a lot to catch the eye.

On one side of the room, instructor and group founder Rita Lovegrove-Weaver walked a group of younger participants through an exercise, the girls watching her as they solemnly spun their silver batons with ever-growing dexterity. 

At another, a group of older girls practiced throws and gymnastics moves, batons flashing through the air higher and higher.

And nearby, instructor Debbie Gramza-Dudek keeps an keen on them, occasionally calling out advice and instructions as she speaks about the sport she’s loved and practiced — in one way or another — for decades.

“This has been my life for so many years,” said Gramza-Dudek, a resident of the Town of Tonawanda. “I’ve done it all: Twirled, taught, judged. It can be a recreational thing; you do it once a week and have fun. Or it can be more.

“It can be almost anything you want it to be.”

The Twin-Ton Twirling Corps was started about four years ago by Lovegrove-Weaver, who approached Gramza-Dudek as another coach. Both instructors met in and took part in the now-defunct Twin-Ton-Ettes for years, moving on to other groups, competitions and teaching.

“It’s been a lifelong passion of mine,” Lovegrove-Weaver said. “I’ve twirled all my life, and knew that someday I wanted my children to twirl. It’s shaped me into who I am today, so hopefully it does the same with my children.

“I think for me, growing up in twirling ... it was almost a second family. The people we met back when I was in Twin-Ton-Ettes, we all grew up together. They were lifelong friendships.”

According to the U.S. Twirling Association, one of the bodies governing the sport, twirling is an “artistic and aerobic sport” that “combines dance and gymnastics while manipulating one, two or three batons.” It’s done individually and in teams.

Text Only
Features
  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Rewards for playing nice

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE signs of spring 1 032314.jpg Region's favorite signs of spring gear up for season

    Ah, the signs of spring: The birdsong, the flowers, the green grass, the flowing waters of the Erie Canal or Niagara River ... and the words “Opening soon” on the marquee of your favorite seasonal business.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo