Calisthenics is a uniquely Australian sport which helps to develop discipline of mind and body, team work, a competitive spirit and a sense of commitment.
Calisthenics is a dynamic combination of Gymnastics, Dance, apparatus (Clubs &Rods) Marching, Singing and Acting. There are thousands of participants throughout Australia.
Calisthenics has a strong focus on deportment and presentation, helping participants to develop confidence in movement and performance and to enjoy the thrill of competing on stage in front of an audience several times a year. Participants learn to appreciate and interpret different styles of music with different styles of movement and dance. There is a strong focus on flexibility, strength and control, grace and poise, expression through both the body and the face and simply just enjoying different forms of dance and movement.
Unlike gymnastics, calisthenics competitions are held in a theatre – participants perform routines choreographed to music, on stage with costumes and lighting.
It involves a team of pupils learning routines choreographed to music – each of about three to four minutes duration – and presenting those routines at competitions. Pupils learn approximately five routines (three for Tinies teams) concurrently throughout a year and this is where the diversity of the sport is seen.
Below is an explanation of the Team items performed in our unique, artistic and competitive sport.
Figure March (All sections)
Correct deportment is the emphasis throughout this item as the team strives to create many intricate formations and patterns. Uniformity of style is a fundamental requirement as rhythm and precision within the team must be identical and as with all Calisthenics items, good teamwork is essential.
Free Exercises (All sections)
Free Exercises involves a series of strong movements showing flexibility, control and uniformity of rhythm. These fast paced routines test stamina and often display imaginative choreography and include gymnastic style movements. Teamwork, equality in execution and control are important to this item. Team members perform with ‘free arms’ that is, holding no apparatus.
Clubs (All sections except Tinies)
Club Swinging is considered to be the hardest item to achieve correctly. It involves swinging clubs smoothly, with perfect rhythm, timing and planing. This item has become more challenging over time with team members often being required to move through formations and execute dance steps while performing intricate swings.
Rods (All sections except Tinies)
A Rods routine has the same key elements of precision and uniformity as Free Exercises and Figure March. The quick and constant manipulation of the rod combined with footwork and flexibility demonstrate high levels of co-ordination, and make this item exciting to watch. The rod is made of metal and is approximately 5-10mm in diameter.
Song & Dance (All sections)
Singing and dancing have equal value in this cabaret and jazz inspired item, though it does extend across all genres of dance. Teams sing, dance and perform their routines to their chosen song or theme. The singing and dance styles included must also be in keeping with the theme. Uniformity of technique, rhythm and style are important as is vibrancy and expression.
Dance Arrangement (Juniors, Inters & Seniors Only)
This item is purely a dance section. Choreography is limited only by the coaches imagination.
Aesthetic (All sections)
Aesthetics is a ballet influenced item which displays the team’s ability to interpret music and perform with grace and elegance. It shows soft and flowing movements, enabling facial and body expressions to be shown. Creative choreography and interpretation gives this item the ability to evoke emotion and empathy from the audience.
Rhythmical Aesthetic (Inters & Seniors Only)
A combination of the Aesthetic Exercises and Rythmical Interpretation; this item must include a balance between elevated and stationary movements.
The basis of this item consists of a routine of equal balance half rods and half dance.
National Dances from all over the world are performed and interpreted theatrically. Pupils are expected to display correct steps in unison, while also conveying national character, agility and vitality.
Calisthenics Revue (All sections except Tinies)
Creativity and entertainment are the keys to this item which allows great freedom in choreographic creativity. Items are often complex and clever and can represent mini-productions. Teams are encouraged to combine aspects of calisthenics with dancing, singing, acting, comedy and clever costuming – all designed to delight and entertain the audience.
THERE ARE MANY BENEFITS . . . .
Physical - Body alignment - Co-ordination - Flexibility - Rhythm - Cardiovascular fitness - Toned graceful body - Develops large repertoire of exercise movements, dance, gymnastics and ballet skills.
Intellectual - Discipline for alertness and instruction - Concentration span - Memory for movement sequences - Improves academic performance - Works both sides of brain - Musical understanding and appreciation.
Emotional - Pride in appearance - Control of Emotions - Self-awareness - Self-confidence - Self-discipline - Self-assurance - Positive Self-esteem.
Social - Develops new relationships - Sense of belonging - Teamwork - Mime and pretend play development - Social awareness.