The Vision Behind Acrobatique
Melissa Klassen’s Story
Before the majority of the dance world understood the specifics of Acro, I noticed that there was a big gap between the proper training of true AcroDance and what dance studios were currently offering.
Teachers didn’t understand what true AcroDance was, and they didn’t have the skill-set to teach or spot Acrobatic tricks safely. They also lacked the knowledge of how to “teach smart” in order to preserve their OWN bodies from the demands of teaching several hours of Acro classes each week.
As a competitive gymnastics coach working in the dance industry, I was given the amazing opportunity to work one-on-one with some of the greatest AcroDance geniuses in the dance world, and “cross-over” from gymnastics to AcroDance.
Given my background in the gymnastics industry, and my extensive experience working with dancers in the studio, I understood not only how to teach for the best results, but also how to spot in a way that was highly safe for my students AND for myself. This resulted in safe and technically sound students that became stronger dancers overall, using their AcroDance training to compliment their work in other genres.
As a young teacher, I had been pressured to select and push “naturally talented” students through to advanced-level tricks at a pace much quicker than what they were ready for. I realized that this approach was actually working against my students over the long term: pushing them ahead too quickly was requiring me to “gloss over” their technique and foundation building, and also required heavy spotting for each and every trick.
I quickly discovered that this resulted in repetitive strain injuries and unavoidable plateaus and burn out among students. Likewise, it would have also destroyed my body in the long-term as an instructor, and is not a sustainable teaching strategy. Finally, it wouldn’t have been fair to the rest of my students, who also needed to progress: I was not going to leave students behind because of a lack of “natural talent”.
This meant creating a strong system that would get ALL of my students looking the same technically, and would allow me to teach entire classes of varying skill and abilities effectively; a system that would get all of my students progressing at the same rate, while also maintaining my own body physically.
After creating this system for myself, and seeing massive improvement in my students, I realized how much other teachers needed access to this information.
Acro Dance is a stunningly beautiful art form; it is also highly athletic, very difficult, and can be unsafe if not taught and executed safely.
After seeing the challenges that studios were having with classes in this popular new genre of dance, and after seeing that students were being trained unsafely and technically-incorrect, I knew that I could help.
My goal then became showing dance teachers how to harness this system for themselves.
I wanted to take the intimidation-factor out of learning a completely new genre of dance, especially Acro, which can be difficult to teach and spot if not properly educated.
The aim was for dance teachers to know that, not only was learning this new art form doable for them, it was also fun, safe, and something they could really come to love and excel at!
This journey resulted in the Acrobatique AcroDance Syllabus: a strong, effective, and innovative syllabus that gets results and greatly shortens the time of the teacher learning curve.
Teachers that are certified in the Acrobatique Method learn an incredible system for teaching all levels and ages of Acro Dance; a system that took me 20 years to create and master!
My team and I ensure that each Acrobatique Certified Instructor is highly qualified to teach and spot Acro safely and effectively, and we make sure that they are given the tools that they will need to create beautiful and safe AcroDancers.
Why am I so passionate about safety, technique and results? Because quality has ALWAYS BEEN, and always WILL BE, my top-priority.
– Melissa Klassen