The Acro Invasion
(The) problem with Youtube culture is that it is creating a generation of students who believe that competitions are the endgame of dance. They think that winning with their three minute solo is the sum total of success. Yet, while many competitions provide useful experience and feedback for the contestants, dancing is not just about winning solos.
Furthermore, acro choreography of the sort seen on Youtube has very little to do with the professional dance world. It really only exists in amateur competitions. Very little professional choreography in today’s ballet or contemporary dance companies employs scorpions or backflips. Company directors are looking for dancers who can blend into their existing group and perform what the choreographer demands.
Paul Malek is concerned that children are learning acro at the expense of good dance technique. He is the artistic director Transit Dance & Origins Dance Company in Melbourne as well as a teacher and adjudicator. “I have auditioned a lot of dancers over the last seven years, and in these auditions, everyone is so capable of flipping, or kicking their face or jumping in second,” he says. “But the majority cannot draw their foot up their leg through retire with accurate articulation when you ask them to developpe to second. When they are learning choreography, they struggle to pick up any movement that is foreign to them and connect them with fluid and seamless transitions. This is extremely concerning when you think: where will they go on and dance as a professional if they are missing basic elements that are the base standard in the global professional dance industry?”