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Acro dance is a form that includes acrobatic movements. The gymnastic technique that acrobatic dancers can incorporate into a dance routine include handstands, cartwheels, and handsprings. While acrobatics or gymnastics are not forms of dance, they can become dance techniques if the dancer adds rhythm in time to the music with true dance steps.
Acrobatics adds a layer of gymnastic technical skill on top of dance skills. It is a subset of dance that many dance schools may not teach as the acrobatics require specially trained instructors and lots of room for practice. As acro dance requires a high level of fitness and agility, it can be challenging for practitioners.
Gymnastics is a sport that tests the limits of human movement, but dance tests the limits of human movement to music. Acrobatic performers do not attempt to represent the emotion of a piece of music, but this type of dance takes acrobatic skills and fits them into a dance interpretation of music. Generally, acrobatics require the performer to have tight control of his or her body and typically involves a high degree of flexibility.
Dance competitions and organizations generally have set rules for the amount of acrobatics that a dancer can include in his or her routine. Often, the dance and acrobatic portions of the routines each require an equal amount of time. Some organizations have rules for acrobatic dance routines that stipulate the dancer uses even less than 50 percent of his or her time to perform acrobatics.
The type of movements that fall into the acrobatic category include handstands, cartwheels, and elbow stands. As a twist on traditional gymnastics, dancers may also perform in pairs or in larger groups and support each other in gymnastic feats like pitch tucks, where one dancer launches off another dancer's clasped hands. Pyramids of dancers are another possible inclusion in an acro dance routine.
A feature of acro dance is that the dancers move from an acrobatic technique smoothly over to a dance movement. It is this flowing transition that characterizes acro dance compared to other dance-like practices, such as tumbling. The dancing segments of a routine source inspiration from other forms of dance, like classical and jazz. Lyrical and contemporary styles of dance also fit well into the acro dance style, where the smooth and delicate movements soften the hard movements of the acrobatic portion.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is acro dance and how does it differ from other dance forms?
Acro dance is a style that combines classical dance techniques with precise acrobatic elements. It's distinct from other dance forms due to its use of acrobatics within a dance context, requiring dancers to be skilled in both dance and gymnastic movements. Unlike gymnastics, which is often performed on equipment, acro dance is typically executed on a dance floor, and the acrobatic movements are seamlessly integrated into dance routines to enhance the artistic expression.
What are the physical benefits of practicing acro dance?
Practicing acro dance offers a multitude of physical benefits. It enhances flexibility, strength, and balance, as dancers must control their bodies while performing complex acrobatic moves. According to a study in the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, dance, including styles like acro, can improve muscular strength and endurance, as well as cardiovascular health. Acro dancers also develop a heightened sense of spatial awareness and coordination.
At what age can children start learning acro dance, and what are the safety considerations?
Children can start learning acro dance at a young age, often around 3 to 5 years old, as long as the instruction is age-appropriate and focuses on foundational skills. Safety is paramount in acro dance, so it's crucial to have qualified instructors, proper flooring, and to follow a progressive training program. This ensures that children develop the necessary strength and technique to perform acrobatic moves without injury.
How do acro dancers train, and what skills are essential for beginners?
Acro dancers train by developing a strong foundation in both dance and acrobatic skills. Beginners should focus on building core strength, flexibility, and basic dance technique. Essential skills for beginners include forward rolls, cartwheels, and backbends, which prepare the body for more advanced acrobatic moves. Training often involves a combination of stretching, strength exercises, and practicing acro dance routines under the guidance of a skilled instructor.
Can acro dance be self-taught, or is professional instruction recommended?
While some basic dance or acrobatic skills can be self-taught, professional instruction is highly recommended for acro dance due to the complexity and potential risk of injury associated with acrobatic movements. Professional instructors can provide personalized feedback, ensure proper technique, and help students progress safely. They also create a structured learning environment that is difficult to replicate independently.