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Starting Gymnastics

With the USA Gymnastics 2009 Visa Championships coming to Dallas this month, gymnastics mania is sure to be at an all-time high. Luckily, Dallas has plenty of top-notch tumbling spots. (After all, Olympic gold medalists Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin call Collin County home!)

Young tumblers can start out with beginner gymnastics at Dallas’ World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, where Liukin and Patterson both spent time training. Classes for boys and girls ages 4-5 last 45 minutes and teach children skills on the vault, balance beam, bars and more. Tuition starts at $76 per month for one class per week plus an annual registration fee of $35. 972/866-9642; www.woga.net.

And gymnastics isn’t just for big kids: Toddlers ages 18-35 months can try the Moms and Tots class at The Gymnastic Place in Dallas. The 45-minute parent-child class works on gross and fine motor skills with lessons on the floor, balance beam, trampoline and more. Students can move up to a no-parent class when they are able to follow along on their own. Monthly tuition is $50. 972/248-2805; www.thegymnasticsplace.com.

Metroplex Gymnastics in Allen offers lessons for beginners (including a Parent and Me class) to advanced gymnasts, with classes meeting one to three times per week. Each class lasts between 50 and 60 minutes, and, depending on which class they choose, kids can learn skills like handstands, back handsprings and flips in addition to practicing on the trampoline, balance beam and more. Little gymnasts can aspire to joining Metroplex’s International Elite team, which has competed around the world. Monthly tuition starts at $50. 972/727-9095; www.metroplexgymnastics.com.

The Plano Aerobats program, sponsored by the city of Plano, offers year-round gymnastics instruction for boys ages 4-8 and girls ages 3-16 at Carpenter Park and Oak Point recreation centers. Beginner through advanced gymnasts learn skills on vault, bars, beam and floor for girls; pommel horse, rings, vault, high bar, parallel bars and floor for boys. Tuition starts at $42 per month for a weekly one-hour class. 972-208-8187; www.planoaerobats.org.