Sassy (and brassy) gymnastics floor music

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I was listening to different kinds of workout music on YouTube trying to get a little motivation going the next time I headed to the gym.

I happened to notice there were a few playlists geared for gymnastic routines. I guess I never thought about the music that gymnasts use as being important to their routines as it might be, in say, ballet. Apparently, there are a lot of variations that performers use to enhance the ambiance of their acts. I found one playlist that was labeled “sassy gymnastics floor music.” This made me a bit curious. Exactly what are sassy gymnastics, and what is unique about it that it could deserve their own playlist? 


What is sassy gymnastic floor music?


The music used can vary but it seems to be variations of popular songs, upbeat electronic music, and anything that’s catchy. Katelyn Ohashi has an insane routine she uses to different clips of Michael Jackson, a routine which helped her win the PAC 12 2018 competition. What made it sassy? During all of her flips and maneuvers, I felt like Ohashi had that confidence of “I know I’m good, and I don’t care who knows it.” Another gymnast, Kytra Hunter, did her floor routine to dubstep. There are instrumental variations of Ariana Grande and even some routines will use Disney songs. I found out that sometimes the floor music is made by a company or some other group – I imagine there might be some copyright issues involved sometimes.


Getting the Right Music


Sassy refers to a state of mind. It’s stereotype usually reserved for women and effete men. Someone is sassy when they don’t care about what they’re saying and think highly of themselves. There is no official guide for a sassy routine, but when I watched videos that were tagged as such I noticed that the gymnasts used various kinds of body language to show some attitude, like turning their heads, looking away, moving their shoulders up and down, and just giving off the vibe of “I don’t care who knows how good I am.” Usually, the sassy body languages comes and goes between the actual movements. I guess one way to think of it is like an ice cream topping (I just wanted to avoid saying icing on the cake)


The concept of floor music seems pretty straightforward. It’s music for when gymnasts are on the floor (hence the name) competing in front of everyone else. Did you ever watch wrestling and notice when a wrestler comes out for a match that he will usually have his entrance music? It’s not necessary for the match, but it helps to create personality for a wrestler. Just like gymnasts, wrestling – even professional wrestling – is essentially a sport. Your music can’t help you win or lose directly, but I imagine the rationale is it can help you brand yourself and when you do win, it makes you more unique. 

sassy music

What Does Sassy Gymnastic Floor Music Need To Actually Be Sassy?


What music makes you feel something or someone is sassy? I would probably have to cross Simon and Garfunkel off that list. But maybe not Justin Bieber or NSYNC or even Lady Gaga. The thing that seems too common to a lot of routines is that the music is upbeat and it moves fast. It can’t be a dirge or something really serious. If you watch high school and college gymnastic routines, you’ll see the music sometimes is timed to build up anticipation to the actual movements while the gymnast is warming up. 


One of the things I like about some of the routines I began to watch is that the sassy part of it was backed up by real ability. I think that we too often mistake a loud and showy with inept. There are indeed some people who can both talk the talk and walk the walk. This makes the routine even better. So, the music needs to be “showy.” That’s up for interpretation so another aspect of this I would imagine is how exactly a gymnast uses their music. There’s plenty of music that in its own right could be considered sassy. But then again it’s all got to be tied together to make the feeling just right.


When in Doubt


I hate to get into stereotypes, but if I had to put my finger on it, there is one visual that comes to mind. The popular girl at high school, the one all the other girls love to hate and want to be and who guys fall over themselves for – imagine her walking in on the first day of the semester, surrounded by her friends, smiling, and throwing her hair back like she doesn’t care. Ok. It might seem like something out of a movie, but whatever she may do or whoever she is, it doesn’t matter. She’s left an impression that will affect a lot of people. Of course, it was no accident that she put on the right makeup, chose the right outfit, and came in with her friends at exactly the right time. She made a hell of an entrance.


One thing I kept coming across was that gymnastics shares a lot in common with acrobatics, ballet, and even certain kinds of specialized dancing. The difference is essentially that gymnastics is competitive. Like in the wrestling analogy, there are winners and losers. You get ranked. It seems music wouldn’t be that important, but if you think about it, most of us use music to get revved up and inspire us to take action. That’s why there are so many workout playlists, and nearly everyone has one! Gymnasts need to make entrances too and leave impressions! There’s a lot of personality in movement and music enhances it. Some gymnasts choose music no doubt that is elegant and calm, showing they have control of their body. And others choose music that makes them scream out to the world, “Look at me. I know I’m killing it. And I don’t care who knows it!” It’s kind of neat the ways that music is used to enhance so many different aspects of our life. And gymnasts, like the rest of us, need their own soundtrack too.