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Rhythmic National Staff
Aliaksandr Anatska
National Staff Member: Ballet Instructor
Aliaksandr (Alex) is a professional dancer and dance instructor, currently based in New York. He has extensive performance experience from his native Belarus to countries across the globe. Alex is a ballet instructor at a rhythmic national team club and often teaches at the rhythmic program Youth Development Program and Future Stars Camps. The gymnasts love his positivity, enthusiasm, and ability to demonstrate the skills he is teaching.

Gloria Balague
National Staff Member: Sports Psychology
Dr. Gloria Balague is a native of Barcelona, Spain. She is a Clinical Associate Professor Emerita in Psychology at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She has worked extensively with USA Track & Field, USA Gymnastics, and USA Field Hockey. She was at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games as a sport psychologist. She is now the sport psychologist for the Chicago Bears and for the USA Rhythmic Gymnastics Program. Eight years ago, she joined Don Hellison in starting the TPSR Alliance ( a group aiming at using sport and physical activity as a tool to promote personal and social responsibility in youth. Gloria has joined the USA Gymnastics Rhythmic Program staff to work with National Team athletes and coaches. She is Past-President of Division 47 (Sport and Exercise Psychology) of the APA, and also of Division 12 (Sport Psychology) of the International Association of Applied Psychology, and received the Outstanding Professional Practice Award from the Association of Applied Sport Psychology.

Christina Brown
National Staff member: Sport Performance
Christina has a B.F.A in Dance Performance and a P.T.A. Degree, as well as certifications in Pilates instruction and a specialization in dance rehabilitation. Not only has she been a dance instructor, teaching ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop for more than 15 years, but she has also danced professionally and studied overseas to expand her dance background and repertoire. Her wide range of experiences and expertise make her perfectly suited to address the needs of our rhythmic athletes. Her focus is on creating conditioning and exercise programs, such as Pilates, yoga and the jump progression, which are designed to prevent injury and improve performance. Currently, she is enrolled at University of Findlay pursuing her doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Galina Burns
National Coaching Staff
Galina is a key member of our national coaching staff, working with athletes in our Future Stars and Youth Development programs. Galina’s positive, kind coaching style allows her to foster young gymnasts’ self-confidence and love of rhythmic gymnastics while developing correct body and apparatus technique. Galina earned her Rhythmic Gymnastics Master of Sport in the USSR in 1982. She holds Degrees in Physical Education and Sports, and as a Physical Therapy Assistant. Galina’s combined rhythmic gymnastics and physical therapy backgrounds allow her to develop strength and flexibility safely and effectively in young gymnasts. In addition to coaching, Galina also teaches at Regional and National Congresses around the United States.

Elizabeth Darling
National Staff Member: Sport Performance
Elizabeth has been a physical therapist and athletic trainer for over 18 years and is also a certified lymphedema therapist and orthopedic clinical specialist. She was a member of the US Rhythmic team that competed in the 1991 Pan Am Games and 1992 World Championships. She now works with Olympic athletes and other world-class competitors, helping them to perform at their best. Elizabeth has worked with USA Gymnastics for over 16 years, traveling extensively with the national team to provide physical therapy and athletic training services. Her work for gymnasts and other athletes has taken her to competitions all over the globe. Elizabeth is a graduate of Marquette University and accepted the honor of most distinguished young alumna in 2010. She completed her doctorate in physical therapy in 2009 and manages a NovaCare Rehabilitation in Erie, PA.

Cynthia LaBella, MD
National Staff Member: Sport Performance
Cynthia LaBella, MD, is the Medical Director of the Institute for Sports Medicine at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

After earning her medical degree from Cornell University Medical College in New York and finishing a residency in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Dr. LaBella completed a sports medicine fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is board certified in both Pediatrics and Sports Medicine, and joined Lurie Children’s in 2004 to develop a comprehensive program in pediatric sports medicine, encompassing clinical care, research, and community outreach.

Dr. LaBella has served as team physician for youth, high school, college, elite, and professional teams. She is currently the team physician for the USA Rhythmic Gymnastics team, and for DeLaSalle high school, Moody Bible Institute (a Division II college), and North Side Youth Football League in Chicago.

Dr. LaBella is chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness (COSMF) since 2014, and prior to this she served for 7 years on the COSMF executive committee as the policy coordinator. She is lead author on two AAP policy statements, one on ACL injuries and one on cheerleading injuries. She also serves on the research committee for the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and the sports medicine advisory committees for the Illinois High School Association, US Soccer, and Pop Warner Football.

Her research efforts focus on identification of risk factors for injury in youth sports and development of strategies for prevention. She has won two awards for her 2006 research demonstrating that a coach-led neuromuscular warm-up reduces knee and ankle injuries in girls’ soccer and basketball at Chicago Public High Schools. This study was published in the November 2011 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. She also co-authored a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine which was the first to show that sports specialization is an independent risk factor for injury in children and adolescents. Her collaborative research with Northwestern University’s Department of Neuroscience has led to development of a novel auditory test to help identify and monitor concussions in children. This research was published in Nature’s Scientific Reports in 2016.

Lana Lashoff
USA Rhythmic Program Youth Development Coordinator
Lana has served as the Youth Development Coordinator for the Rhythmic program since 2007, working with the Program Director to plan and execute developmental age-group camps, overseeing the instruction provided at camps, assisting coaches with composition development, and selecting athletes for the developmental program based on results, physical abilities, and age. Lana has a degree in Physical Education, Sports Psychology, and Rhythmic Gymnastics Instruction from the University of Physical Education: Lviv, Ukraine. She also holds a Master of Sport from the USSR and honorary Master of Sport from USA Gymnastics. As a coach from 1986-2006, Lana trained individual World Team members, Junior and Senior National Champions an National Team members, and was the personal coach for members of the 1996 Olympic Group when they competed individually. Lana’s areas of professional expertise and interest include body and apparatus development through progressions and composition and choreography with a focus on musicality and the artistic component.

Tara Savino
National Staff Member: Sports Psychology
Tara is a Sports Psychology consultant, working with athletes in the rhythmic developmental program. She mentors athletes and coaches, assisting them in developing mental skills needed to train and perform to their maximum potential. Tara is a graduate of Adler University with a Master’s degree in Counseling, specializing in Sport and Health Psychology. She currently works with Dr. Gloria Balague in providing sports psychology services to the rhythmic program.

Amanda Scully
National Staff Member: Sport Performance
Amanda has been working with USA rhythmic gymnastics since starting her career with Elizabeth Darling. Amanda is a medical provider for developmental camps. She has incorporated the strength and flexibility testing to find areas that need improvement and developed programs to address these issues. Some of the programs implemented at camps are yoga, Pilates, a jump progression program, and a shoulder stabilization program catered towards the rhythmic gymnast. She also enjoys traveling to cover international competitions for the rhythmic national team. Her focus is to keep the athletes healthy and strong to prevent injury.

Jenna Tegtmeyer
National Staff Member: Medical Staff
Jenna has been working with the US Rhythmic Gymnastics program since 2016, providing medical coverage at international competitions, international training camps, and at North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center in Deerfield, IL. Originally from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Jenna attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receiving her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Athletic Training. She then completed her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at Northwestern University in Chicago. Jenna has worked as an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist since graduating with her DPT and has also volunteered with the Oklahoma City Ballet and with the United States Air Force in Europe. Jenna was an artistic gymnast for 19 years and enjoys using her knowledge of the sport to provide injury prevention and rehabilitation services to gymnasts.

Brooke Toohey
USA Rhythmic Program Future Stars Development Coordinator
Brooke has been involved with the Rhythmic Future Stars Program since its initiation in 2002. Since then, she has led the annual Future Stars testing and camps, providing young athletes and their coaches an opportunity to work with world-class clinicians in a fun, supportive environment. Brooke was a member of the US Group Team that competed at the 1989 World Championships and also a member of the 1993 World Championships Team. In addition to her role as Future Stars Development Coordinator, Brooke served on the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors for many years.

Sonya Yankova
National Staff Member: Ballet Instructor
Sonya Yankova has aided in the development of elite level athletes in the United States, her native Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, and Spain through expert ballet training. Sonya is skilled in teaching ballet complexes that compliment rhythmic gymnastics training. She firmly, yet lovingly instills a love for ballet and proper technique in all of her pupils from the youngest developmental athletes to well-seasoned national team members.