What is Calisthenics?
The word Calisthenics comes from the Greek words 'kallos' meaning beauty and 'thenos' which means strength. The components of Calisthenics aim at achieving these physical attributes, but the sport also influences the emotional and social development of girls through friendship, self confidence and teamwork.
Calisthenics involves a team of participants learning routines choreographed to music and presenting these routines on stage at competitions or concerts. Pupils learn between two and five routines concurrently throughout the year. This is where the diversity of the sport is shown.
In addition to team items, participants can compete in solo and duo items.
Calisthenics can be categorised as both a sport and an art. As a sport it encourages physical development, coordination, self-discipline and team spirit. As an art it develops an appreciation of music and rhythm, the beauty of correct technique and the excitement of performing.
There are different levels of Calisthenics; some clubs are non-competitive, performing only at concerts and other non competitive events. Other clubs compete at a number of competitions throughout the year, performing on stage in costumes.
The best bit of all is that calisthenics offers something for everyone. Click the images below to take you through to video clips of each item.
Correct deportment is essential in Figure March as the team strives to create many intricate formations and patterns. Uniformity of style is another fundamental requirement as rhythm and precision within the team must be identical. As with all Calisthenics items, teamwork is important.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Graceful solos are often inspired by ballet and contemporary dance. They require elegance, poise, strong dance technique and interpretation. Graceful solos combine elements of the Aesthetic and Rhythmic items.
There are two types of solos which can be performed. The first is a Calisthenics solo which combines elements of Free Exercises, Dance and may also include Aesthetic and Rhythmic style movement. Team members can compete in Calisthenic solos from 8 years of age. Calisthenic Duos follow similar guidelines and can be performed by team members from 8 years of age.