What is calisthenics?
Calisthenics is an artistic sport unique to Australia, and is a great alternative to dancing. Calisthenics offers routines choreographed to music and performed on stage in costumes.
Pupils learn several routines in their weekly class. These can incorporate modern dance, singing, acting, exercises with and without apparatus, marching, simplified ballet, and modified gymnastic movements. Calisthenics truly has something for everyone!
Benefits of Calisthenics
Calisthenics offers many benefits to the participant: core strength, flexibility, confidence, rhythm, music appreciation, friendship, fun, co-ordination, grace, improved memory… in fact the list is endless!
The wide variety of calisthenics items
Each year girls will participate in a combination of some of the following items, depending on their age group and competition division:
- Figure March: Teamwork and deportment
While the marching, the team executes many intricate floor patterns, deportment and uniformity. Teamwork and rhythm is very important in this item as the team moves around the stage in complex patterns and formations.
- Free Exercises: Flexibility, control and uniformity of rhythm
A team of pupils perform a series of strong movements involving high levels of flexibility, control and uniformity of rhythm. Routines test pupil’s stamina, flexibility and timing and have become more challenging and complex over time.
- Rods: Apparatus control and manipulation
A team of pupils perform similar movements to free exercises, with the added complication of an apparatus in their hands – that a long rod which is manipulated constantly throughout the routine.
- Clubs: Coordination and rhythm
Teams are required to swing clubs in unison with perfect rhythm and uniformity in a circular action. The test has become more challenging over time with pupils often being required to move through team formations and execute leg movements, as well as perform intricate club swings.
- Aesthetics: Grace and expression
A team performs graceful movements. Their task is to interpret music with feeling and softness, as reflected throughout their body and facial expressions.
- Folk Dance: Dances from all over the world
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. This item is also performed mostly by younger age groups.
- Action Song: Singing, acting and dancing
Team members join together to present a musical item comprising singing, acting and choreographed movement. This item is performed by the younger age groups.
- Calisthenic Revue: Theatrical combinations of dance, free exercise elements and acting
These routines can combine dancing, singing, gymnastics, balletic movements, comedy and in some cases, many costume changes in the wings, to make a breathtaking theatrical item.
- Dance Arrangement: Jazz-style dance performance