Because gymnastics is for everyone
Our Mission Statment
Joy Gymnastics was founded out of the desire to create a community where kids are free to be themselves. Our gymnastics center aims to create a welcoming environment for students to feel successful and have fun through movement regardless of age, body type, gender, ethnicity or capability.
Meet Our Team
Larissa Alvarez (she/her)
Larissa was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She has participated in gymnastics for over 25 years on a recreational and competitive level as well as for over 17 years as a gymnastics coach. After seeing the need for a gym that is inclusive and safe for all types of students and their families, as well as creating an environment where the coaches feel valued and free to express themselves, Larissa decided it was time for her to open a gym.
Larissa’s coaching style has been described by a former student as “firm but fun”, which she believes is spot on. She loves showing her students they can achieve difficult things while having fun but also providing the much needed structure most kids crave.
Emily Quinlan (she/her)
Emily is from Virginia. She has 14 years of gymnastics experience during which she competed up to level 8 in USA Gym's JO system. She earned a degree in Elementary Education from Salisbury University. Her 16 years of professional childcare and teaching experience include 8 years in gymnastics settings. She is also a self-taught visual artist who enjoys working in various mediums such as drawing, painting and digital art.
Emily aims to foster an atmosphere where students can feel comfortable making mistakes, making decisions, collaborating, and communicating their needs. She believes learning should be fun and adapted according to students' individual needs & learning styles.
Lacee Garcia (she/her)
Lacee is originally from Arizona. She attended Arizona State University where she earned a Fine Arts degree in Dance. She has 26 years of experience in dance, gymnastics as well as cheerleading both recreationally and competitively. Her coaching experience includes 13 years of dance in a various setting as well as 4 years of gymnastics.
Lacee believes everyone has the capacity for movement. She entered gymnastics at a late age as a teen and is grateful to have had wonderful coaches who never made her feel uncomfortable for her late start. She strives to have the same coaching style so that gymnasts can have a successful movement journey at any age or skill level. Lacee aims to create a safe place in her classes for children to feel comfortable communicating their feelings and boundaries.
Em Aiken (they/them)
Gymnastics & Dance Coach
Em is from Hudson, North Carolina. They hold a BFA in dance and a MFA in Choreography from UNC Greensboro studying dance, writing, pedagogy, and performance art. Em has performed with various dance companies nationally and internationally. They have 15 years of experience teaching creative dance, jazz, tap, contemporary, and movement technique in studios, public schools and conferences all over the country. They have 3 years of experience coaching gymnastics.
Em practices liberatory & non hierarchical pedagogy, seeing teaching and coaching as a responsibility to intersectional facilitation. They believe that children are creative & capable at their core, having the ability to understand their bodies in space, how to move peacefully with others, and how to implement practice toward personal and collective goals.