Acrobatic Gymnastics (Acro) - Why YOU are missing out if YOU are not paying attention to this SPORT!
*** PART 1 in the 2 part series ***
Imagine the most beautiful ballerina dancing across a large mat in an eye-catching leotard full of bright sparkles while being tossed into the air in a graceful yet dynamic double back flip. Then her strong base catches her at the precise moment to maintain momentum and launch her immediately into another explosive twist and turn landing in a beautiful hand balancing pose. The pair goes on to dance and tumble to a beautiful piece of music in perfect synchronization while telling the most heartfelt story with perfect body and facial expressions. You become completely intrigued by the exquisite dance and performance. You are speechless watching the extreme flexibility and exceptional grace. This is just one example of what you’d see when watching the amazing sport of Acrobatic Gymnastics.
Acrobatic Gymnastics, or better known as “acro”, is not the most well known sport in the US but one that most would agree is simply amazing. It is the sport perfectly executed in the famous Cirque Du Soleil shows that millions attend throughout the world. Acrobats have had great success in competitions such as “America’s Got Talent” and similar events. You have probably even seen “Chinese Acrobats” at Walt Disney World or on television. Who doesn’t LOVE to watch jaw-dropping acrobats?!
Acro is a unique and phenomenal sport for both boys and girls, young and old. It requires great strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, as well as exceptional teamwork and trust. Some athletes choose to use their talents by performing for an audience. Others, prefer to compete. Competitive events include: women’s pairs, men’s pairs, mixed pairs, women’s trios, and men’s fours. Beginning levels compete with one routine that combines balancing skills as well as dynamic tosses and catches. More advanced athletes perform two or three routines highlighting either balance, dynamic, or a combined routine.
Aerial’s Athletics has been offering this amazing sport to youth in southern Ohio for 25 years! Since 1994, it has been common for the athletes at Aerial’s who participate in Acro to greatly increase flexibility, become much stronger, and learn many exciting new skills. In addition to the many other wellness benefits, the athletes learn to commit to a partner or partners, build trust, overcome challenges, manage their time wisely, and achieve success through teamwork. Outside of competition, team bonding occurs when the group performs at local events as well as in major venues. Aerial’s has performed for many years at The Ohio State University basketball games, Dayton Dragons baseball games, was invited to be on America’s Got Talent, and also is contacted frequently by television producers for other opportunities. Since the program started in 1994, Aerial’s team members have been traveling throughout the state and across the country to compete against the best in the nation. The Aerial’s team has included numerous Local, State, & National Champions. In 2017, the trio of Megan Conover, Kealey James, and Sammi Shepherd earned the BRONZE medal at the Vegas Acro Cup - Aerial’s first time attending an International Meet. Also, in recent years, Aerial’s has had 9 athletes on the USA National Team and one trio (Kiley Allen of Blanchester, Jayme Maynard of Hillsboro, and Grace Vance of Wilmington) compete at the Senior Elite Level which is the highest level of competition in the World.
Despite the amazing sport and success of Aerial’s athletes, up until recent years there was little opportunity to continue the sport during college years. Athletes would have to make the tough choice of continuing to compete into their 20’s or stop at 18 and go to college. Some chose to pursue a competition cheerleading program. From 2004-2006, Aerial’s athletes went on to cheer at small DIII schools as well as the University of Cincinnati and The Ohio State University. Fortunately, there are now 26 colleges and universities across the US offering Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling as a women’s varsity sport. Many of these programs offer hefty scholarships to talented athletes. These college programs ideally field teams of 25 or 30 athletes. Currently, there are an estimated 750 collegiate positions to fill within the sport yet few high school age participants. Better news yet, 10 of those colleges & universities (see list below) are within 300 miles of Aerial’s yet there are only 4 gyms in the same area offering competitive Acrobatic Gymnastics. This ratio creates FANTASTIC odds for Aerial’s athletes to earn a college scholarship!
Adrian College (Adrian, Michigan)
Alderson-Broaddus University (Philippi, West Virginia)
Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, West Virginia)
Fairmont State University (Fairmont, West Virginia)
Gannon University (Erie, Pennsylvania)
Georgetown College (Georgetown, Kentucky)
Glenville State College (Glenville, West Virginia)
Urbana University (Urbana, Ohio)
West Liberty University (West Liberty, West Virginia)
West Virginia Wesleyan College (Buckhannon, West Virginia)
Although we recognize Acro may not be the favorite sport of every child, it should at least be a consideration for most. At Aerial’s we offer a Performance Team (pre-team) program for athletes to try the sport. This Performance Team option is a low commitment, 1-day a week (3 hour class), that teaches not only acro skills but also includes an hour of tumbling. The Performance Team is open to most skill levels and ages and the group is included in many of the local and most prestige performances. It is a great opportunity for athlete’s to try the sport before making a larger commitment to the year-round Acro Team. For those interested in the competitive Acro Team, tryouts are held once a year in late summer. If you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities in the Acro Program, feel free to call the Aerial’s gym at 937-383-5700 or email Team Director - Angie Layne at email@example.com.
*** Keep an eye out for Part 2 in the series which will highlight Aerial’s Acro Coaches and specifically what makes Aerial’s program one of the top in the country! ***