Infobox Occupation
name= Acrobat

caption= An arcrobat during a high wire act.
official_names= acrobat
type= performing arts
activity_sector= sport, busking, circus, show business
competencies= skills, manual abilities
related_occupation= see related jobs

Acrobatics (from Greek "Akros", high and "bat", walking) is one of the performing arts, and is also practiced as a sport. Acrobatics involves difficult feats of balance, agility and motor coordination. Nearly any performance or sport which involves full-body activity-- especially in short, highly controlled bursts of activity-- can be considered acrobatics. Typical examples are, first and foremost, all the subdivisions of gymnastics and trapeze work, but specialized activities like ballet and diving could also be included. In a narrow sense, the term "acrobatics" refers to "acrobatic gymnastics," a specialized subdivision of gymnastics.


Western history

Acrobatic traditions are found in many cultures. In the West, Minoan art from circa 2000 BC contains depictions of acrobatic feats on the backs of bulls, which may have been a religious ritual. [] ]

The court displays of the European Middle Ages would often involve acrobatic performances along with song, juggling and other activities.

Though initially the term applied to tightrope walking, 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/gymnastic activities became a competitive sport in Europe.

Acrobatics in Western history have become a key subject for fine art. An excellent example is "Acrobats at the Cirque Fernando (Francisca and Angelina Wartenberg)" by Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir which depicts two German acrobatic sisters. The painting resides at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Eastern history

In China, acrobatics (“Hundred Plays”) have been a part of the culture since the Western Han Dynasty, over 2500 years ago. Acrobatics were part of village harvest festivals. [ [ redpanda2000] ]

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. [ [] ] Today the performance art remains to be one of the most important performances offered within Chinese variety art, mostly referred to in the west as "Chinese Circus".


Traditionally, acrobatic skills were kept within families and passed from parents to children. This is still true especially among family circus groups nowadays. However, 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. Many schools specializing in acrobatics art are providing a constant resource of acrobatic artists. Some of these schools are independently operated, and some are supported and affiliated to circuses.

Acrobatic Gymnastics

Acrobatic gymnastics is a competitive sport involving gymnastics and acrobatics that is choreographed and rated by judges. There are five types of events (women's and men's pairs, women's and men's group, involving three and four partners respectively, and mixed pairs). The sport combines dance, tumbling and partnering skills that involves dynamic (aerial) and balance (posed) movements.


The first use of acrobatics as a specific sport was in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and the first world championships were in 1974. In addition to the current five categories, two additional categories for tumbling (men's and women's) were included until the 1999 World Championships, though some groups still involve tumbling events. [ [] ]


ee also

*Acro dance
*Aerial tissu
*Corde lisse
*Globe of death
*Pole climbing
*Salto del pastor
*Spanish web
*Synchronized swimming
*Tightrope walking


External links

Commercial acrobatic performers


Videos of acrobat talents

* []

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • acrobatics — [ak΄rə bat′iks] pl.n. [also with sing. v.] 1. the art, skill, or tricks of an acrobat 2. any difficult or intricate tricks requiring great skill or agility [mental acrobatics] …   English World dictionary

  • acrobatics — (n.) 1859, from ACROBATIC (Cf. acrobatic); also see ICS (Cf. ics). Earlier was acrobatism (1864). In early 20c. acrobacy (from Fr. acrobacie) sometimes was used …   Etymology dictionary

  • acrobatics — [n] athletic floor exercises balancing, feats, gymnastics, somersaults, stunts, tumbling; concept 363 …   New thesaurus

  • acrobatics — /ak reuh bat iks/, n. 1. (used with a pl. v.) the feats of an acrobat; gymnastics. 2. (used with a sing. v.) the art or practice of acrobatic feats. 3. (used with a pl. v.) something performed with remarkable agility and ease: the verbal… …   Universalium

  • acrobatics — n. 1) to perform acrobatics 2)(fig.) mental acrobatics * * * [ˌækrə bætɪks] (fig.) mental acrobatics to perform acrobatics …   Combinatory dictionary

  • acrobatics — ac|ro|bat|ics [ ,ækrə bætıks ] noun plural 1. ) the skills or movements of an ACROBAT 2. ) the skills that you use when you do something difficult or complicated very well, or when you deal with a lot of things at the same time: the acrobatics of …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • acrobatics — plural noun 1) staggering feats of acrobatics Syn: gymnastics, tumbling; agility; rare funambulism 2) the acrobatics required to negotiate an international contract Syn: mental agility, skill, quick thinking, fancy footwork, alertness,… …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • acrobatics — UK [ˌækrəˈbætɪks] / US noun [plural] 1) the skills or movements of an acrobat 2) the skills that you use when you do something difficult or complicated very well, or when you deal with a lot of things at the same time the acrobatics of balancing… …   English dictionary

  • acrobatics — [[t]æ̱krəbæ̱tɪks[/t]] N PLURAL Acrobatics are acrobatic movements …   English dictionary

  • acrobatics — ac•ro•bat•ics [[t]ˌæk rəˈbæt ɪks[/t]] n. 1) spo (used with a pl. v.) the feats of an acrobat; gymnastics 2) spo (used with a sing. v.) the art or practice of acrobatic feats 3) (used with a pl. v.) something performed with remarkable agility and… …   From formal English to slang

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