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Technical Notes On The Fundamental Movements Of Acrobatics And Tumbling

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Teacher article

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Front Limber: The old term for this movement was Front Over, but in reality is a Backbend in reverse, i.e. getting into a Backend from a Front Bending action. #1 Execute the preparation as for a Handstand, bringing the legs together overhead momentarily. #2 Arch the back, pressing the shoulder girdle back and lowering the legs almost parallel to the floor with the knees straight. #3 Separate the legs and bend the knees. #4 Alight onto the balls of the feet and shift the body weight forward onto the legs, pushing off fingertips to make the hips move forward. #5 As hands roll off the floor, bring torso upright (tighten abdominal muscles) with arms still alongside ears.

* Once the student has mastered the Front Limber on their good side, they should immediately begin work on the weak sideambidexterity is a must to keep the dancers body square and equally strong.

Pointers: To keep from crashing over into the backbend position, bring the legs together.

Back Walkover: There are 2 methods of executing a Back Walkover, i.e. gymnastic approach or acrobatic approach

Gymnastic approach: #1 Prepare as for a Handstand on the R side, i.e. R foot pointed forward. #2 Raise the R leg upward (hip high). #3 Begin arching backwards AST lifting the extended leg. #4 When the back will no longer arch, begin to bend the supporting leg and continue to lift the extended leg. #5 Reach for the floor with both hands AST pushing away from the floor with the supporting foot, bringing the open legs in a split position, overhead into a handstand. #6 Continue over to place the R foot onto the floor, pushing away from the hands to bring the torso and arms upright into the preparatory position. #7 The object is to make as long a line as possible from the fingertips to the supporting foot.

Acrobatic approach: #1 Prepare as for a Handstand on the R side, i.e. R foot pointed forward. #2 Arch backwards as far as possible on a straight standing leg. #3 When the body will not longer arch backward with the supporting leg straight, bend the supporting leg and reach for the floor with both hands AST kicking the L leg upward and push off the floor with the R foot. #4 The legs should come overhead with straight legs and pointed feet in an open split position. #5 Continue over until the R foot lands and the hands push off the floor, bringing the torso upright into the preparatory position.

* Once the student has mastered the Back Walkover on their good side they should immediately begin work on the weak sideagain ambidexterity is a must.

Front Walkover: Probably the most used body movement in acrobatics. #1 Prepare as for a Handstand on the R side, i.e. R foot pointed forward. #2 Reach forward (not down) with both hands, kicking the L leg backwards and up. #3 As hands roll onto the floor, push off the supporting foot to bring the legs overhead in an open split position. #4 Arch the back, pressing the shoulder girdle backwards (i.e. lean away from the hands), continuing to arch the back. #5 Bend the L leg and push hands away from the floor, rolling off the fingers to push the body weight forward and alight onto the R foot. #6 As the torso is brought upright, hold the L leg up off the floor and finish in the preparatory position.

* Once the student has mastered the Front Walkover on their good side they should immediately begin work on the weak sideagain ambidexterity is a must.

Pointers: The farther back the shoulder girdle is pressed when arching the back, the easier it is to bend the spinal column. As well, the farther forward the hands are placed on the floor in a Front Walkover, the easier it is to engage the shoulder girdle action. Probably the most common error in Front Walkovers is for the student to reach down instead of out. Dealing with the body in Acrobatics and Tumbling, long lines are easier to maneuver in than short lines, i.e. the line from the fingertips through to the foot.

Tumbling: 

Tumbling deals with the body in off-balance actions or movements. When we stand upright we are actually standing off-balance the feet point forward to control the over-balance to keep up from falling forward. This is one of the reasons mastering Classical Ballet Technique is difficult. As well, it is why Tumbling is easier to accomplish than Acrobatics. We use the over-balance or falling motion to execute tumbling techniques whereas we use counter-balance and flexibility to execute acrobatic technique. As stated before, the Handstand and Splits are movements used in both Acrobatics and Tumbling, although even without splits you can become a good tumbler.

Forward Roll: This is a rotating action on the floor, not a Somersault which is a rotation in the air; a movement used to teach the basic actions of rotation in preparation for Somersaults.

Tuck Position: Start with feet together and arms raised overhead alongside ears. Bend knees and, bending forward from the hips, place the hands onto the floor, ducking chin to chest in the fetal or ball position. Push off both legs and roll forward onto the shoulder girdle (not the head, i.e. the neck and back of the head should not really touch the floor). The legs remain in the fetal or ball position until the roll forward brings the student onto the feet, ready to stand with arms overhead alongside the ears.

Pointers: Stress rolling onto the shoulders and not the head, push away from the floor with the hands to stand up. Teaching cues by-the-numbers: Bend knees Place hands on floor Roll onto shoulders Alight onto feet

-TO BE CONTINUED-

Author

Charles Kelley

Charles Kelley

Charles "Chuck" Kelley has earned both a National and International reputation in the field of dance as a "Teacher's Teacher" and for over 50 years has consistently taught in New York City, being associated with the June Taylor , Harkness Ballet, Farnworth and Hauer , New York Centre of Dance Studios and Broadway Dance Center. He is past president of Dance Educators Of America.  His credits are too vast to mention them all however his students, who numbered in the thousands, have gone on to careers in film, TV, Broadway musicals, and as dance teachers. Mr Kelley had the distinction of being recognized for his contributions in the art of teaching dance by every major dance teacher association in America and has taught at Dance Teacher Web Live for many years.

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