What is Acro Dance
Acro Dance is a unique and captivating dance style that marries the elegance and fluidity of classical dance techniques with the strength and precision of acrobatic elements. This dance style is characterized by its athletic nature and its unique choreography, which seamlessly blends dance and acrobatics. Acro Dance is not just a popular choice in amateur competitive dance, but it also holds a significant place in professional dance theater. Companies like Cirque du Soleil have incorporated Acro Dance into their contemporary circus productions, further popularizing this dance style.
History of Acro Dance
The roots of Acro Dance can be traced back to the early 1900s in the United States and Canada. It was during this time that Acro Dance began to emerge as one of the many acts performed in vaudeville. The combination of dance and acrobatic movements was a novel concept that gradually gained popularity over time. Pioneers of this dance style, such as Sherman Coates and Tommy Woods, left an indelible mark on the evolution of Acro Dance. Over the years, Acro Dance has undergone significant evolution, with ballet techniques being integrated into it, bringing a precision of form and movement that was absent in its vaudeville days.
Characteristics of Acro Dance
One of the defining characteristics of Acro Dance is the smooth, graceful transitions between dance and acrobatic movements. A dance routine is categorized as Acro Dance only if it has a significant percentage of dance movement in relation to its acrobatic content. This is what sets Acro Dance apart from gymnastics floor exercises, which are not considered Acro Dance due to their high acrobatic content and lack of smooth transitions between dance and gymnastic movements.
Dance Techniques in Acro Dance
The dance movements in Acro Dance are founded in ballet, jazz, lyrical, and modern dance styles. These styles form the backbone of Acro Dance, providing the structure and form around which acrobatic elements are incorporated. However, Acro Dance is not restricted to these dance styles. The absence of these styles, however, may cause a dance to be categorized as something other than Acro.
Acrobatic Elements in Acro Dance
The acrobatic movements and acts of balance performed in Acro Dance are referred to as tricks. These tricks vary widely in complexity and the skills required to perform them. The types of tricks that can be performed in an Acro Dance routine depend on the number of dancers. Solo tricks can be performed by independent dancers in solo or group dances. Double tricks, also known as partnering tricks, can only be performed by a pair of dancers. Group tricks generally require three or more dancers.
Apparel for Acro Dance
Footwear plays a crucial role in Acro Dance. Given that Acro Dances are typically performed on hard stages with varying surfaces, dancers rely on footwear such as acro shoes or foot thongs to provide the necessary traction and cushioning. Acro dancers commonly wear flexible, form-fitting clothing for both safety and aesthetic reasons. In competitive Acro Dance, dancers often wear costumes that are carefully designed to ensure safety while enhancing the visual impact of the performance.
Competitive Acro Dance
Acro Dance is not uniformly defined within the competitive dance industry. Some dance competition companies require an Acro routine to have a minimum of four or five tricks with at most fifty percent acrobatic content. Other companies require an Acro routine to have exactly, or more than, fifty percent acrobatic content. Also, at some competitions an Acro Dance may fit into an explicitly defined “Acro Dance” performance category, while at others it may fall into a similar category such as “acro/gym,” or an alternative category such as “open.” Because of these differences, it may be necessary to enter a specific Acro routine into different performance categories at different competitions.