This is a question we get a lot! Though the two share similar skill sets, gymnastics and acrobatic dance (or acro for short) are very different in how the subject trains, executes the material and the overall "look" of a performance.
In terms of training, gymnasts work on a spring floor that is designed with actual coils embedded in the mat for optimal rebound and protection during hard-hitting tumbling passes. Acro dance is designed as a supplement to dance training and is usually taught in a dance studio with a sprung floor that is designed for shock absorption beneath a hard surface like wood. Another difference between gymnastics and acro is the use of certain apparatus like beams or bars to assist in creating challenging and visually stunning routines. In acro dance there is no use of apparatus, the dancers ARE the apparatus. It is very common to "stack" or build platforms out of dancers through partnering to create exciting layers within a performance.
The focus in both acro and gymnastics is strength, balance and flexibility but the difference in execution lies in the transition of movement. A gymnast may run into a round-off back handspring full-twisting back lay-out, while an acro dancer may perform a softer, more lyrical line, such as an illusion swinging into a cartwheel, back handspring to a heel stretch and tilt a la seconde. Two very impressive passes, with two very distinct “looks” and intentions. For many the difference is described as "Gymnastics is a sport and Acrobatics is an art". What do you think?
For dancers, acro is great for adding versatility to your training. Not only will you develop the skills to perform moves like aerials and back handsprings but it will improve your ability to leap and turn in your technique classes as well. Lucky for you, Heart and Sole Performing Arts has a full acrobatic dance program. Call the studio today at 623-544-8078 to try your first class!