The simple answer is, there are LOTS of differences!
If you’ve ever watched a gymnastics floor routine, you’ll notice the hard-hitting, advanced tumbling lines, executed with power and precision. Gymnasts focus on “sticking the landing”, because every fall, wobble, or off-step is a deduction to their overall score and can be the difference between winning and losing.
Acro Dance is an art form specifically designed for dancers. Acro has softer, more lyrical looking lines, with emphasis on lengthening “through” the tricks and holding beautiful balances with interesting variations. The focus is on seamlessly blending acrobatics with dance and avoiding obvious preparations before each trick.
In short, Gymnastics is a sport; Acro Dance is an art form.
Gymnasts train on a sprung-floor, with actual springs built into the mats: a forgiving surface to repeatedly practice advanced tumbling passes on over and over again. Acro Dancers perform on a hard stage and must train the body to withstand the impact of the floor. Dancers don’t get the “rebound” action out of a hard floor like gymnasts do out of a spring-floor. Therefore, dancers train to get the necessary lift from their bodies, and emphasis on a strong “hub” (hips, glutes, core) is a must.
Gymnastics tricks are usually performed in a “hollow-body” position (think: laying down on the back in a “banana” position with the arms and legs hovering off the ground; chin tucked; pulling in through the core). Acro tricks are usually performed in an “open-body” position (think: laying down on the stomach in a “superman” position with the arms and legs lengthening and hovering off the ground; chin open and looking past the fingertips).
Because Gymnastics and Acro Dance are two different techniques, they require different training regimes.
Dancers that take Acro become stronger, safer, and more diverse dancers, which will, in turn, create more impressive, exciting, and artistic dancing.
Acro Dance is an art form that incorporates the fluid movements of dance with the exciting tricks from acrobatics.
It is “gymnastics for dancers”, where students develop specific strength, flexibility, and technique, to learn how to execute acrobatic tricks, to then be used in dance choreography.
The training students receive in their acro dance classes helps to reinforce the technique in all other dance genres.
Adding acro dance is next-level training that will develop a specific skill set, and creates well-rounded and versatile dancers.
From 2021, Dance Dynamics will be offering Acro Dance Classes. We will start slowly with Junior Division classes with a few pupils and move on from there. We will be following the syllabus from the Acro Dance Teachers Association, as this syllabus concentrates on building strength and flexibility that eventually allow the dancers to do the tricks with good technique.