Should Gymnasts Perform Free Hands Routines at Gala or Competition?

Some fans have raised the question whether the free hands routine (without apparatus) should be part of competitions or just performed at gala events.

Throughout the years, I have seen some spectacular free hands routines but I have to admit I like them better when younger gymnasts perform them. For a senior gymnast, I feel that something is missing. Here is a free hands routine from 20 years ago by a Soviet gymnast:

This is a high level routine but it looks easy compared to modern gymnastics. The difference in the body elements becomes really obvious. Here is a very expressive modern routine by Natalia Godunko:

I like Godunko's style in general; this routine is a bright example of her personality. However, even with the wonderful leaps and all, I feel like Natalia looks so much more impressive with the clubs, or ribbon, or rope!

Finally, one of my favorite free hands routines of all time comes to us from the world champion Tamara Yerofeeva, truly a queen of the free hands exercise:

This routine showcases the best qualities of the gymnast and is very pleasant to watch because of the lyrical quality to it. I don't feel like the apparatus is missing, like with Godunko.

I would still say, though, that free hands routines resemble ballet/dance and not athletics. Can you identify Tamara as a gymnast in this one? Could she be a superb dancer? For someone like me, who likes tricks with the apparatus, the essential quality of rhythmic gymnastics is lost in a free hands routine, however beautiful.

So, for senior gymnasts, I do prefer to see those at galas. Apparatus technique is a rare quality these days anyway. Why ignore it even more? I am sure some of the more "physical" gymnasts like Yussupova, Alyabieva,or Kapranova would have loved not to have to deal with the apparatus. Maybe even Lukonina, she truly does not like the clubs.  ;-) But I believe that gymnasts like these should take the time to learn a decent apparatus technique and combine it with the amazing body elements. That combination is what differentiates rhythmic gymnastics as a sport.