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The Unsung Hero of Acro Dance: Why Ballet Technique is Essential

In the world of dance, acro stands out for its thrilling flips, impressive tricks, and gravity-defying stunts. It's no wonder that many young dancers are eager to dive into acro classes, drawn by the excitement and the challenge. However, while acro dance is undoubtedly exhilarating, it should not stand alone. At Dansci Dance Studio, we firmly believe that every acro dancer should also be taking a dance technique class, such as ballet or contemporary. Here's why.

The Foundation of Grace and Technique

Ballet, often considered the cornerstone of all dance forms, provides the essential foundation that every dancer needs. It's about more than just learning to point your toes or perfect your plié. Ballet teaches discipline, musicality, and the importance of small, precise movements that build over time to create a graceful, competent dancer. As noted by dance educator Kathryn Morgan, “Ballet is important because it is the foundation of all forms of dance. It teaches you discipline, strength, and the importance of dedication and practice” .

In contrast, while acro focuses on exciting tricks and impressive feats of flexibility and strength, it can sometimes overlook these subtle yet crucial aspects of dance. Without the grounding in technique that ballet provides, acro dancers risk becoming performers of stunts rather than true artists. It's like watching the movie rather than reading the book for a literature review; important nuances in technique and artistry are missed.

The Importance of Safety and Body Awareness

Ballet technique classes also play a crucial role in teaching dancers about their bodies and how to move safely. The slow, methodical training in ballet helps dancers understand their body alignment, build core strength, and develop balance. This understanding is vital for executing acro moves safely. As dance physiotherapist Lisa Howell emphasizes, “Proper ballet training is essential to develop the strength, flexibility, and body control needed to perform acrobatic tricks safely” .

When dancers skip the foundational training that ballet offers, they may lack the necessary body awareness and control, increasing the risk of injury. By incorporating ballet into their routine, acro dancers can ensure they are building their skills on a strong, secure foundation.

Developing Musicality and Emotional Connection

Dance is an art form, and at its heart is the ability to connect with music and convey emotion. Ballet classes teach dancers to move with the music, to understand its rhythm and nuances, and to express emotions through their movements. This is something that acro, with its focus on athleticism, does not typically address.

Choreographer and dance educator Lynn Simonson states, “Musicality in dance is as important as the steps themselves. It’s what makes dance an art, rather than just a physical activity” . Without this training, acro dancers may end up “flinging themselves around” without the grace and emotional depth that makes dance so powerful.

Enhancing Choreography and Performance

For acro dancers, the ability to integrate their tricks seamlessly into a dance performance is crucial. This requires more than just the ability to perform the tricks; it requires the ability to dance onto the stage, to present these skills within the context of a choreography. This is where ballet training becomes indispensable. Ballet teaches dancers how to move with intention and precision, how to transition between steps smoothly, and how to present themselves on stage with confidence and poise.

The Long-Term Benefits

In the long run, the skills learned in ballet and other technique classes will enhance an acro dancer's abilities. They will not only perform their tricks better but also understand how to incorporate them into a dance piece artistically. This holistic approach to dance training ensures that dancers are not just chasing the thrill of instant gratification but are also developing the discipline and resilience that will benefit them in all areas of their lives.

At Dansci Dance Studio, we encourage all acro dancers to take a dance technique class. As the saying goes, “You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation” . Let’s teach our kids that the 'boring' work is valuable, providing them with the strong, secure foundations needed to succeed not just in dance, but in life.

So, parents, before you consider dropping a ballet class to make room for more acro, think about the long-term benefits of maintaining that foundational training. Your young dancer will thank you in the future, not just for their improved dance skills, but for the discipline, artistry, and safety that ballet instills.

Embrace the balance. Embrace the art. Encourage your acro dancer to step into a ballet class, and watch them transform into well-rounded, artistic, and skilled dancers.


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