Why We Don’t Let Students Skip Ahead to the “Big Tricks” In Acro Class
By Lisa Claydon of Acrobatique AcroDance
We want our students to be successful and reach their goals. We want them performing impressive tricks and wowing the crowd onstage. In order to make the “big tricks” happen, however, our students must master the arts of patience and persistence.
Acro is progressive. A cartwheel progresses to a side aerial, which progresses to a front aerial. A bridge kick-over progresses to a back walkover, which progresses to a back handspring.
Glossing over foundational tricks in a student’s acro education results in major gaps in their training. For example, I met one talented acrobat who had many exceptional tricks in her repertoire. However, she never learned how to do a backward roll back when she was a beginner…
Fast forward to this student’s peak training years (about age 16) – she was never able to achieve a back tuck, even though she had all the strength and power necessary. Why? Because she had missed part of her foundational training. I know she wishes she would have spent more time on those basics when she was a beginner.
Spending enough time (i.e. several years!) on foundational work also reduces risk of injury. In acro, muscle memory is everything. We instil correct muscle memory by practicing a lot of drills and basic tricks. Then, when students are truly ready to enter the world of tumbling, they will maintain proper technique and be able to perform the “big tricks” safely.
We want all of our students to achieve impressive skills like aerials and back handsprings, but, more importantly, we want all of our students to be training safely and progressively; to have healthy and functional bodies for the rest of their acro career and beyond. Plus, when our students do perform those “big tricks” onstage, you know they will be beautiful, technically-excellent, and very well-deserved from years of hard work.
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