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Three Reasons to Choose a Dance Studio with an Accredited AcroDance Syllabus

Whether choosing a dance studio for the beginner or advanced student, whether seriously driven toward excellence or just looking for a recreational activity, there is an abundance of choice available. In many cases, consideration is often given to location and cost, but as consumers become more educated, proof of qualified dance instruction is the major deciding factor.

Quality dance studios have long required their instructors to be certified with industry-recognized syllabus providers for ballet, tap, jazz, etc. In recent years, it has also become the standard for dance instructors to have a solid understanding of acro and how to safely and progressive teach it to their dancers.

Here are three reasons why:

1. Acro transcends all dance disciplines

With a focus on strength, flexibility, and body awareness, the skills needed for acro are also essential for every dance type. By understanding and following a comprehensive acro program, dance instructors can ensure they are teaching their students how to achieve these elements safely and correctly.

2. Acrobatic tricks are no longer the exception

As the dance world continues to evolve, incorporating wow-factor acro skills into a dancer’s repertoire is now an expectation. Highly influenced by television and social media, the big tricks are enticing to dancers, and the studios that offer programming to make these tricks attainable are in high demand.

3. Acro is fun!

From the tiniest dancer somersaulting down the mat to the advanced performer perfecting an ariel, an acro class is often an exciting chance to explore body movement away from the tight constraints of the ballet barre. Instructors who are certified to teach a progressive acro program can safely offer these fun classes while still providing the building blocks toward acrobatic excellence.

By seeking out those with an accredited, industry recognised AcroDance program, it’s easy for dancers to find the studios that can offer them the most well rounded dance education.

Preschool AcroDance – More Than Just Summersaults

Teaching preschoolers is a special skill that can be overlooked in a dance studio. More often than not, the most experienced instructors devote their time to the senior dancers and the preschool classes are left to newer staff. Successful studio owners recognize the importance of providing critically developed preschool lesson programs for their teachers to foster the growth of their youngest students.

Today’s preschoolers come to dance class with unique challenges, having been exposed to the digital world since birth. Physical literacy is described as the “motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life” (International Physical Literacy Association, 2017). With ever-increasing screen time, physical literacy is less likely to be naturally developed through free play, and more often will need to be taught in a classroom.

Preschool instructors have a very special opportunity to instill in the youngest dancers both physical literacy as well as social and emotional development. Dance classes should aim to nurture the whole child. Social skills and emotional awareness can be woven into the lesson plan when practice incorporates play, structure and teamwork.

This is why it is so important for preschool dance teachers to have a professionally developed, age-specific, intelligent program to guide their classes. Moreover, if that class involves acrobatics, the importance of a safe and progressive plan increases. Preschool acrodance classes should not be ‘handed off’ to an instructor without a clear guide, complete with foundational levels, to follow.

While mastering a summersault is an impressive goal for a preschool acrodancer, the instructor who takes full advantage of their lesson time to inspire physical literacy, as well as social and emotional understanding, can make a lasting impression on a young life. Acrodance programs that have been expertly designed by a qualified syllabus development company can do just that.

"Cirque du Soleil sees acrobatic training for dancers valuable in the same light as it sees ALL multidisciplinary training for dancers valuable for today's (and tomorrows) artistic workforce. To work in the dance milieu today, mastering several disciplines is almost a necessity; for Cirque du Soleil multidisciplinary is an absolute must for the majority of the dance roles. It is not necessarily acrobatic training that would be needed for most Cirque du Soleil dance roles, but for some it is a definite requirement. For other roles it is a mix of opposing dance styles needed, dance + physical acting, dance + acting + acrobatics or some other physical non-dance discipline. In the global dance market today, however, an acrobatics background is a huge asset, and some cases actually a minimum prerequisite. Having universal certification standards would help immensely in measuring where a dancer stands on the global market before actually watching them dance. Teaching standards at the moment are random - which is why I usually do not even consult a CV before watching a video job application. The proof is in the pudding - exactly what can the dancer do, and how well? A universal standard would help control the quality of teaching as well as help students advance to the next level of their dance education only when they are ready for it. Advancing to a level above one's capacity can be not only dangerous, but can actually have negative effects on technical training. It can cause a student to regress instead of advance."

-Rick Tjia Senior Talent Scout Cirque Du Soleil

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