Acrobatics

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Acrobatics (from Ancient Greek ἀκροβατέω, akrobateo, "walk on tiptoe, strut" [1] ) is the performance of human feats of balance, agility, and motor coordination. Acrobatic skills are used in performing arts, sporting events, and martial arts. Extensive use of acrobatic skills are most often performed in acro dance, circus, and gymnastics, and to a lesser extent in other athletic activities including ballet, slacklining and diving. Although acrobatics is most commonly associated with human body performance, the term is used to describe other types of performance, such as aerobatics.

Contents

History

A female acrobat depicted on an Ancient Greek hydria, c. 340-330 BC. Hydria acrobat BM VaseF232.jpg
A female acrobat depicted on an Ancient Greek hydria, c. 340–330 BC.
Female acrobat shooting an arrow with a bow in her feet; Gnathia style pelikai pottery; 4th century BC Antikensammlung Berlin 525.JPG
Female acrobat shooting an arrow with a bow in her feet; Gnathia style pelikai pottery; 4th century BC
Acrobatic performance in India circa 1863 Native acrobats in India (c. 1863).jpg
Acrobatic performance in India circa 1863

Acrobatic traditions are found in many cultures, and there is evidence that the earliest such traditions occurred thousands of years ago. For example, Minoan art from c. 2000 BC contains depictions of acrobatic feats on the backs of bulls. Ancient Greeks practiced acrobatics, [2] and the noble court displays of the European Middle Ages would often include acrobatic performances that included juggling [ citation needed ].

In China, acrobatics have been a part of the culture since the Tang Dynasty (203 BC). Acrobatics were part of village harvest festivals. [3] During the Tang Dynasty, acrobatics saw much the same sort of development as European acrobatics saw during the Middle Ages, with court displays during the 7th through 10th century dominating the practice. [4] Acrobatics continues to be an important part of modern Chinese variety art.

Though the term initially applied to tightrope walking,[ citation needed ] in the 19th century, a form of performance art including circus acts began to use the term as well. In the late 19th century, tumbling and other acrobatic and gymnastic activities became competitive sport in Europe.

Acrobatics has often served as a subject for fine art. Examples of this are paintings such as Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenberg) by Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, which depicts two German acrobatic sisters, Pablo Picasso's 1905 Acrobat and Young Harlequin , and Acrobats in a Paris suburb by Viktor Vasnetsov.

Types

Chinese acrobat in midair after being propelled off a teeterboard, China, 1987 Chinese acrobat in midair being watched by other acrobats.jpg
Chinese acrobat in midair after being propelled off a teeterboard, China, 1987

Acrobalance

Acrobalance is a floor based acrobatic art that involves balances, lifts and creating shapes performed in pairs or groups.

Acro dance

Acro dance is a style of dance that combines classical dance technique with precision acrobatic elements.

Aerial

Aerial is acrobatics performed in the air on a suspended apparatus. [5]

Trapeze

A trapeze is a short horizontal bar hung by ropes or metal straps from a support. Trapeze acts may be static, spinning (rigged from a single point), swinging or flying, and may be performed solo, double, triple or as a group act. [6]

Cord lisse

Corde lisse is a skill or act that involves acrobatics on a vertically hanging rope. The name is French for "smooth rope".

Cloud swing

Cloud swing is a skill that usually combines static and swinging trapeze skills, drops, holds and rebound lifts.

Cradle

Cradle (also known as aerial cradle or casting cradle) is a type of aerial circus skill in which a performer hangs by their knees from a large rectangular frame and swings, tosses, and catches another performer

Silks

Aerial silks is a type of aerial skill in which one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a long length of fabric suspended from a frame or ceiling.

Hoop

Aerial hoop (also known as the lyra, aerial ring or cerceau/cerceaux') is a circular steel apparatus (resembling a hula hoop) suspended from the ceiling or a frame, on which artists may perform aerial acrobatics. It can be used static, spinning, or swinging.

Contortion

Contortion (sometimes contortionism) is a performance art in which performers called contortionists showcase their skills of extreme physical flexibility

Rope and wire walking

Tightrope walking, also called funambulism, is the skill of walking along a thin wire or rope. Its earliest performance has been traced to Ancient Greece. [7] It is commonly associated with the circus. Other skills similar to tightrope walking include slack rope walking and slacklining.

Tumbling

Tumbling is an acrobatic skill involving rolls, twists, somersaults and other rotational activities using the whole body. Its origin can be traced to ancient China, Ancient Greece and ancient Egypt. [8] Tumbling continued in medieval times and then in circuses and theatre before becoming a competitive sport.

See also

Related Research Articles

The following outline provides an overview of and topical guide to entertainment and the entertainment industry:

Gymnastics Type of sport that requires a wide variety of physical strength and flexibility

Gymnastics is a sport that includes physical exercises requiring balance, strength, flexibility, agility, coordination, and endurance. The movements involved in gymnastics contribute to the development of the arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest, and abdominal muscle groups. Gymnastics evolved from exercises used by the ancient Greeks that included skills for mounting and dismounting a horse, and from circus performance skills.

Contortion Performance art using skills of extreme physical flexibility

Contortion is a performance art in which performers called contortionists showcase their skills of extreme physical flexibility. Contortion acts often accompany acrobatics, circus acts, street performers and other live performing arts. Contortion acts are typically performed in front of a live audience. An act will showcase one or more artists performing a choreographed set of moves or poses, often to music, which require extreme flexibility. The physical flexibility required to perform such acts greatly exceeds that of the general population. It is the dramatic feats of seemingly inhuman flexibility that captivate audiences.

Trapeze Aerial circus or gymnastics apparatus

A trapeze is a short horizontal bar hung by ropes or metal straps from a support. It is an aerial apparatus commonly found in circus performances. Trapeze acts may be static, spinning, swinging or flying, and may be performed solo, double, triple or as a group act.

Chinese variety art

Chinese variety art refers to a wide range of acrobatic acts, balancing acts and other demonstrations of physical skill traditionally performed by a troupe in China. Many of these acts have a long history in China and are still performed today.

<i>Quidam</i> Ninth stage show produced by Cirque du Soleil, which premiered in 1996

Quidam was the ninth stage show produced by Cirque du Soleil. It premiered in April 1996 and has been watched by millions of spectators around the world. Quidam originated as a big-top show in Montreal and was converted into an arena format beginning with its 2010 tour in North America. It then changed back to the Big Top for a 3-month run in Seoul, South Korea before returning to an arena show for its tour to Oceania. The show performed for the final time in Christchurch, New Zealand on February 26, 2016.

Saltimbanco was a touring show by Cirque du Soleil. Saltimbanco ran from 1992 to 2006 in its original form, performed under a large circus tent called the Grand Chapiteau; its last performance in that form was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 10, 2006. A new adaptation of the show started touring North America on July 31, 2007, with its first stop in London, Ontario, Canada. The new version was staged in arenas with fewer performances in each city it visited. The new version closed at the end of 2012.

Russian bar

The Russian bar is a circus act which combines the gymnastic skills of the balance beam, the rebound tempo skills of trampoline, and the swing handstand skills of the uneven bars and the parallel bars. The bar itself is a flexible vaulting pole around 4 to 4.5 metres long, typically made of fiberglass; three vaulting poles may also be fastened together to create a flexible beam. The act involves two bases balancing the bar on their shoulders, and one flyer standing on the bar, with the flyer bouncing and performing aerial tricks and landing on the bar.

Cradle (circus act)

The cradle is a type of aerial circus act in which a performer hangs by his or her knees from a large rectangular frame and swings, tosses, and catches another performer. The aerialist being swung is referred to as a flyer, while the one doing the tossing and catching is referred to as a catcher or caster. The flyer usually starts and ends standing on the frame above the catcher. The flyer swings holding on to the catcher's hands, performs releases at the top of the swing, and is re-caught in mid-air.

Aerial silk

Aerial silks is a type of performance in which one or more artists perform aerial acrobatics while hanging from a fabric. The fabric may be hung as two pieces, or a single piece, folded to make a loop, classified as hammock silks. Performers climb the suspended fabric without the use of safety lines and rely only on their training and skill to ensure safety. They use the fabric to wrap, suspend, drop, swing, and spiral their bodies into and out of various positions. Aerial silks may be used to fly through the air, striking poses and figures while flying. Some performers use dried or spray rosin on their hands and feet to increase the friction and grip on the fabric.

Aerial hoop

The aerial hoop is a circular steel apparatus suspended from the ceiling, on which circus artists may perform aerial acrobatics. It can be used static, spinning, or swinging. Tricks that can be performed include the Candlestick, Bird's Nest and Crescent Moon

<i>Nouvelle Expérience</i> Cirque du Soleil show

Nouvelle Expérience was Cirque du Soleil's fourth touring circus show, which premiered in 1990.

Pauliina Räsänen

Tuuli Pauliina Räsänen is a circus performer and actress from Finland. Her career jump-started when she was invited to perform as the first Fennoscandian soloist with Cirque du Soleil. She was awarded a five-year grant from Finland's Central Commission of Arts to pursuit artistic work. She has succeeded in establishing her career in the international market and at the moment performs with Komische Oper Berlin.

<i>Ovo</i> (Cirque du Soleil)

Ovo is a touring circus production by Cirque du Soleil that premiered in Montréal, Canada, in 2009. Ovo's creator and director, Deborah Colker, took inspiration from the world of insects. The idea for Ovo was not to be about the acts, nor dancing, nor insects, but about movement. The movement of life permeates the entire show with creatures flying, leaping, bounding, and crawling. Composer Berna Ceppas brought additional life to Ovo with a score inspired by the music of Brazil. Ovo means "egg" in Portuguese and represents the underlying thread through the show. Graphically, inside the logo of Ovo, is an insect. The two O's represent the eyes and the V forms the nose and antennas.

Russian swing

A Russian swing is a large, floor-mounted swing which is sometimes used in circus performances to make impressive high acrobatic jumps.

Hand to hand acrobatics is a type of performance in which an acrobatic base and flyer balance on top of each other in either a gymnastic or acrobatic medium. It combines strength, agility, flexibility, and balance. For it to be considered hand to hand acrobatics, the top performer must be making physical contact only with the base's hands, with her own hands keeping her balanced. Positions the top can perform in this style of acrobatics are straddles, handstands, pikes, press to handstand, one arm handstands, planches, flags, and many others. Hand to hand acrobatics can also include dynamic catches and throws that either begin with a throw from a hand to hand position or end in a catch in the hand to hand position.

Slackwire

Slackwire is an acrobatic circus act that involves the balancing skills of moving along a flexible, thin wire suspended in the air, connected to two anchor points. Slackwire is not to be confused with slacklining.

Marietta Zanfretta

Marietta Zanfretta was an Italian tightrope dancer who found success in the United States. One of the greatest female tight-rope dancers in the world, she was known for performing en pointe on the tightrope, a rare feat.

References

  1. ἀκροβατέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, on Perseus
  2. Iversen, Rune (June 2014). "Bronze Age acrobats: Denmark, Egypt, Crete". World Archaeology. 46 (2): 242–255. doi:10.1080/00438243.2014.886526.
  3. "redpanda2000". Archived from the original on 2018-01-14. Retrieved 2006-03-27.
  4. "Chinese - Languages and ESL Division - Pasadena City College". pasadena.edu.
  5. "Circus Dictionary". National Institute of Circus Arts. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  6. "Circus Dictionary". National Institute of Circus Arts. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  7. "Acrobatics | entertainment". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  8. "Tumbling | acrobatics". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-03-05.