Spotting the differences between gymnastics and Acro is difficult sometimes and a common confusion among many. Gymnastics and Acro dance share similar skills, but they’re entirely different in terms of performance, practice, and how steps are executed.
How to differentiate between Acro & Gymnastics?
Dance Vs. Sport
Dancers see Acro as a form of art. Acro focuses on creating beautiful balances with various unique twists. Acrobats will do gravity-defying stunts similar to those seen in gymnastics, but they will try to fit them into the flow of their dance routine, synchronising them with the music. In acro, a flip, for example, is rarely a stand-alone act as it’s in gymnastics. Although acrobatic techniques are challenging to execute individually, they’re incorporated in dances to excite the audience and get them on their toes.
Gymnastics, on the other hand, can be considered as some type of sport. Although floor routines may contain dancing, this is usually used as a transition rather than the main focus of the performance. Each fall, wobble or off-step reduces the gymnast’s final score and can determine the win or loss.
Hard Floor vs. Spring Floor
Both gymnasts and acrobat dancers perform and train their stunts in distinct ways. Acrobats use hard floors to master their skill, which is precisely why numerous Acro dance classes in Fredericksburg VA are equipped with hard floors instead of spring floors. Acrobats need to practice their lifts to make their moves appear effortless and light.
When practising gymnastics, athletes use a spring floor, which is made up of two to four inches of springs embedded in plywood and a two-inch carpet glued foam layer designed to absorb the shocks from gymnastic jumps. As a result, gymnasts may repeatedly perform complex tumbling moves without the fear of hurting themselves.
Due to the difference in the stages used for practice, acro dancers do not focus on high-impact tricks like double backflips, a stunt that’s quite common in gymnastics. Instead, they’ll concentrate on learning how to combine lower-impact movements and contortion skills into their routines with a bit of flair.
On a gymnastics spring floor, you’ll frequently see people sprinting into their tumbling lines, using round-offs and back handsprings to gain the most height and power possible.
Group vs. Solo
It’s also worth noting that gymnastics is often a solo performance, whereas an acro dance routine typically features numerous acrobats performing simultaneously. How different acro performers highlight each other’s moves and do combined positions makes these performances very captivating to watch.
Competitive Nature & Specialisations
Gymnasts can choose to practice on rings, balance on beams, spin around the pommel horse, and do routines on both the horizontal and parallel bars. Each of these fields has its own set of complexities that require distinct talents and strengths to perform well. Most Acro dancers have no prior experience dealing with the diverse skill set needed by gymnastics.
We have covered five major pointers to help you draw a line between Acro dance and gymnastics. While the competitive nature of gymnastics makes it seem more like a sport, the lesser limitations of acro dancing makes it a form of art. Thus, it’s easy to differentiate between the two because of the different approaches involved.
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