Acro Dance Program
In the past few years acrobatic dance has become more and more popular among dancers. Dance studios around the world have tried finding acro teachers and have had very little luck due to the lack of teachers in the acro field. They compensate by hiring gymnastics instructors who know very little about dance. This is part of the reason why Mandy Yip, of Acroabtic Arts, started her program. She wanted to give the opportunity to dance teachers to learn about acro and how to teach it to their students. As of July 2015 we are an Acrobatic Arts certified studio and will be following the Acrobatic Arts syllabus. We are the Crossroads area's ONLY certified studio. Here are some FAQ's:
Why should dancers learn acro instead of gymnastics?
Acro is designed for dancers, unlike gymnastics. In acro, skills are executed differently due to many different circumstances:
The type of floor dancers perform on - marley/floating floor.
The choreography that includes acro dance skills.
Acro enhances the gracefulness of dancers.
How does the acro program work?
The acro program we're using through Acrobatic Arts consists of levels. The levels include several strength, flexibility, limbering, tumbling, and balancing skills that the dancers must learn in order to move up a level. There are twelve levels included in the program. The students will have their level posted in the dance room so they can monitor what they need to work on in order to move up a level.
What skills are you teaching in this program and how many levels should a dancer go through in a year?
We are able to teach different tumbling and balancing skills such as somersaults, handstands, walkovers, cart wheels, round offs, chin stands, head stands, etc. Aerial's are in the more advanced levels and will take some time before achieving.
There is no set number of levels a dancer should go through in a year. Every dancer is unique and will progress at a different rate. More advanced dancers usually can pass the first two levels in a month or two. The levels after that get a little trickier and will require more time to progress through.
My dancer wants to learn how to do tricks like front walkovers, aerials, etc. Can you just teach her this?
This program works through progressions. Your dancer cannot learn how to properly do a walkover until they have learned and mastered the skills and levels that come before this one. The dancer starts at primary and works their way up the levels. A lot of dancers can already do walkovers, hand stands, etc. and have taught themselves how to do this. We still want them to go through the progressions to learn how to do the skills according to our syllabus. They will probably find it is a little easier to accomplish.
This program is developed to ensure dancers safety and reduce risk of injuries. Without proper instructor training, while the student may be able to do these tricks, they may be doing it in ways that may damage the body or cause long term damage. Mastering each level and progressing through the various levels ensures a healthy dancers body.
What do I need to do with my dancer at home to improve her acro skills?
Practice. Acro requires practice at home, just like dance. Flexibility and strength are key to making this program work for your dancer. Level progression is based on your dancers committment to following the program at home and at dance. Make sure your dancer is stretching and strengthening their muscles away from dance.
Here's what two professionals have to say about Acrobatic Arts and acro dance:
"Cirque du Soleil sees acrobatic training for dancers valuable in the same light as
it sees ALL multidisciplinary training for dancers valuable for today's (and
tomorrows) artistic workforce. To work in the dance milieu today, mastering
several disciplines is almost a necessity; for Cirque du Soleil multidisciplinary is an
absolute must for the majority of the dance roles.
It is not necessarily acrobatic training that would be needed for most Cirque du Soleil dance roles, but for some it is a definite requirement. For other roles it is a mix of opposing dance styles needed, dance + physical acting, dance + acting + acrobatics or some other physical non-dance discipline. In the global dance market today, however, an acrobatics background is a huge asset, and some cases actually a minimum prerequisite.
Having universal certification standards would help immensely in measuring where a dancer stands on the global market before actually watching them dance. Teaching standards at the moment are random - which is why I usually do not even consult a CV before watching a video job application. The proof is in the pudding - exactly what can the dancer do, and how well? A universal standard would help control the quality of teaching as well as help students advance to the next level of their dance education only when they are ready for it. Advancing to a level above one's capacity can be not only dangerous, but can actually have negative effects on technical training. It can cause a student to regress instead of advance."
- Rick Tija
Senior Talent Scout
Cirque Du Soleil
“Never have I been so excited about something that helps students achieve their dreams of being that triple threat dancer. The Acrobatic Arts Syllabus makes learning acrobatics for dancers fun, safe and conducive to a strong career in the entertainment industry."
Former Cirque Du Soleil Acrobat