Acrobatics

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Chinese acrobat in midair after being propelled off a springboard, China, 1987

Acrobatics (from Greek ἀκροβατέω - akrobateō, "walk on tiptoe, strut"[1]) is the performance of extraordinary feats of balance, agility, and motor coordination. It can be found in many of the performing arts as well as in many sports (sporting) events, and martial arts. Acrobatics is most often associated with activities that make extensive use of gymnastic elements, such as acro dance, circus, and gymnastics, but many other athletic activities — such as ballet and diving — may also employ acrobatics. Although acrobatics is most commonly associated with human body performance, it may also apply to other types of performance, such as aerobatics.

History[edit]

A female acrobat depicted on an Ancient Greek hydria, ca. 340-330 BC.

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 circa 2000 BC contains depictions of acrobatic feats on the backs of bulls. Ancient Greeks and Romans practiced acrobatics[citation needed], 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 Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Acrobatics were part of village harvest festivals.[2] 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.[3] 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, and Acrobats in a Paris suburb by Viktor Vasnetsov.

Education[edit]

Traditionally, acrobatic skills were kept within families and passed from parents to children. This is still true especially among family circus groups, although most acrobats are now taught by larger scale education systems as circuses are now made up of many more professionals than they used to be.[citation needed]


Examples of acrobatic activities
Acrobat performing with Cirque du Soleil 
High wire act 
Korean tightrope-walking, Jultagi 
Acrobats performing a high wire act 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ἀκροβατέω, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  2. ^ redpanda2000
  3. ^ Pasadena.edu

External links[edit]