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Acro Dance as defined by the Competitive Dance Industry

 
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Jim Lamberson
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Joined: 14 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:20 pm    Post subject: Acro Dance as defined by the Competitive Dance Industry Reply with quote

Acro Dance as defined by the Competitive Dance Industry

Most acro dance teachers and performers agree that acro dance is defined by its athletic character, its unique choreography, which seamlessly blends dance and acrobatics (i.e., fluid movement, smooth transitions), and its use of acrobatics in a dance context, with dance techniques founded in ballet, jazz, lyrical and modern. They also agree that an acro dance must have a significant percentage of dance technique because it is a dance first and foremost--which happens to smoothly integrate some acrobatic elements. Since this definition of acro dance is widely accepted by these experts, I hereby coin the term "true acro" to mean any acro dance routine that conforms to this definition.

Within the competitive dance industry, however, the definition of acro dance is not so clear. To illustrate this, I have listed the rules from a few select dance competitions (see below). In this list, I show each competition's "acro dance" category (or the category with the most similar title) and the characteristics that qualify a routine for that category. Note: it is not my intent to criticize the competitive dance industry, but rather to point out the lack of industry standards for categorizing acro dance. To be fair, I must point out that many of these companies have an "open" or other alternative category which may be a better fit for "true acro" routines.

Code:
Competition    Category  Tricks
-------------  --------  ---------
Dance Star     Acro      5 (min)
Dance USA      Acro      50%
IDC            Acro/gym  50% (max)
Spotlight      Acro      no limits
Star Beat      Acro      4 (min)
Thunderstruck  Acro      50% (min)


Most dance competition companies agree that acro consists of both acrobatic tricks and dance technique, and that an acrobatic trick is a movement in which the hips pass over the head. Also, most companies require an acro routine to have at least four or five tricks, but that's where the common ground ends. One company limits acro routines to no more than fifty percent acrobatic content, while another requires at least fifty percent acrobatic content, and yet another requires balanced acrobatic and dance content. One company does not specify any limits at all on acrobatic content. Furthermore, at some competitions a "true acro" dance may best fit into a literal "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."

Bottom Line: When entering an acro routine, read the competition rules carefully to ensure it's entered into the correct category!
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