What is the difference between AcroDance & Gymnastics?

AcroDance & Gymnastics are both fantastic activities for kids and in Mount Isa we are spoilt for choice with two dance schools offering AcroDance and two fully equipped and accredited Gymnastics clubs with a range of great programs on offer!

Many of our students at DiLi – Dream it, Live it do both AcroDance and Gymnastics. We love that they have the opportunity to do both! Our instructors make sure that our Acrodance students understand that the same skill may be taught differently from AcroDance to Gymnastics and that neither is wrong – they are just different to allow for the difference in flooring and artistic requirements.

We also get asked regularly which style of dance is best to assist in the development of a gymnast. The truth is that none align directly to the specific requirements of a gymnast’s floor and beam routines. Classical Ballet is a technical foundation style for dance students, however it focuses heavily on turned out leg positions and rounded flowing arm movements – these are in contrast to the dance elements executed in gymnastics.

We recommend that gymnasts wishing to improve their dance skills, conditioning and technique engage in Private Coaching. Miss Sally has extensive experience in teaching beam and floor routines for Women’s Artistic Gymnastics levels 3-6 and she can give your gymnast the opportunity to gain a technical edge over the competition while building their confidence, musicality and focus.

So what is the difference between AcroDance & Gymnastics?

AcroDance is performed by blending dance with acrobatic elements while preparing to execute these skills safely on a hard stage floor. Some of the skills look similar to gymnastic elements but dancers are trained differently to allow for the difference in flooring. The top concern of every AcroDance Instructor is to train dancers safely with strong technique. A safe dancer is a healthy dancer!

Sport vs. Art:

Gymnastics is considered a sport while for the most-part dance is considered a performing art. This difference shapes the way that skills are taught and executed. In gymnastics there are set point deductions for specific errors and difficulty incentives that create higher start values when executed well. Competitive dance does not have specific technical requirements and the scoring systems vary greatly at each competition compared to the universal judging mandated in gymnastics.

The main difference for instructors of AcroDance is the consideration of the artistic process. In gymnastics there is a general outline for each routine that is pre-established by the required skills on the apparatus. Tumbling passes and core content is then strung together by connecting steps. This form of choreographic blocking limits any artistic freedom. In dance the canvas is blank, and the rules are few ensuring that artistic development is the cornerstone to what makes dance a performing art.

Technical Variations:

It is the nature of sport to perform skills with the optimal score in mind; it is the nature of art to allow for expression. Dancers make choices in the execution of their art form to enhance the aesthetic appeal. Dancers focus on transitional steps and the ability to engage the audience at all times while gymnastics is viewed from stadium seating which encourages projection to all four sides of the floor.

Equipment vs. Dance Floor:

The Vault, Bars and Beam exercises found in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics aren’t commonly found in dance performance; they do however sometimes show up in the circus community. The music and choreography in a gymnastics floor routine has similarities to acrobatic dance but gymnasts are aided by a sprung floor, which allows for the execution of skills you don’t typically see on a hard floor.

Dancers don’t get the “rebound” action out of a hard floor like gymnasts do out of a sprung-floor. This means that dancers must train differently to get the necessary lift from their bodies to safely make their skills look light and effortless. The way a dancer tumbles on a hard floor has to absorb impact and protect the dancer’s joints. In order to aid the aesthetics of dance, there is more splitting and step outs from tumbling sequences in AcroDance rather than the two footed skills typically found in gymnastics floor routines.

In AcroDance, students are trained to dance into and out of Acro skills, with minimal obvious preparation before or afterwards. Despite being technically difficult to execute, acrobatic skills are meant to blend in seamlessly with dance steps, providing an extra level of excitement and flair to dance choreography.

Regulatory Committees:

Gymnastics is highly regulated by governing bodies with specific licences and requirements. Dance is ungoverned. There are several organisational bodies in dance but none of them are mandatory to operate in the competitive community.

Both AcroDance and Gymnastics are safe activities when taught in a space that has appropriate flooring allowing for required shock absorption. The type and amount of equipment used for AcroDance vs. Gymnastics can vary due to the different requirements of each activity. Customers should always check the qualifications of the instructor and be sure to watch the instructor in action (high level qualifications do not always ensure a great instructor). Be sure to ask questions and have a clear understanding of how your child is being nurtured and supported.

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