Practised by both men and women, Acrobatic Gymnastics (ACRO) is among the oldest known disciplines since already practiced at the ancient Egyptian period, as evidenced by certain frescos. But its name comes from the Greek acrobateo, meaning to rise or go forth.
This modern and artistic discipline, requires from the athletes that they develop courage and trust in their partner(s), in addition to all other qualities of a gymnast in general: flexibility, strength, control, stamina and expression.
As the exercises presented to the audience are choreographed to music, Acrobatic Gymnastics is a full expression of the world’s gymnastics cultures.
In official competitions, Acrobatic Gymnastics offers five different possibilities of partnerships to the athletes:
- Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Pairs
- Women’s Group (3 gymnasts)
- Men’s Groups (4 gymnasts)
The partnerships are constructed in function of the gymnasts’ physical and psychological qualities: the Top needs to be aerial, of small body feature, highly flexible and nimble, while the Bases need to be strong, of larger body frame, steady and powerful. A mixed pair therefore always must combine a male Base with a female Top.
The exercises presented in competitions by the pairs/groups have to include a certain number of required collective and individual elements and are of three different types: static (balance), dynamic, and combined.
While the static routine must present balanced pyramidal constructions and other elements of strength, flexibility and agility characteristics, the dynamic exercise is meant to show flight elements such as throws, pitches and catches as well as dynamic tumbling elements.