Dance and gymnastics can easily be intertwined. They do have their differences, but once those are understood the similarities are overwhelming.
The vocabulary between dance and gymnastics remains quite different. Both activities include a multitude of poses, jumps and turns that are different in name only.
“So You Think You Can Dance” is a reality television show that claims to search for America’s favorite dancer. During the first season, they managed to have a diverse cast of dancers in the top twenty which kept each episode extremely interesting due to the subtle styling variations within the competition dance of the evening combined with the dancer’s background. The last several seasons have shown more streamlined top twenty that has a couple of token dancers: generally a hiphop, breakdancer, and ballroom dancer. The majority of dancers in the top twenty are all contemporary dancers who have moderate gymnastic backgrounds and those who make it to the top five or six typically have no style of their own which makes them more marketable in the dance world. If you do not have your own style, whatever company that you are able to sign with can mold you to dance like them.
The body placement is quite reversed from one sport to the other. Gymnastics has a more chest out, shoulders back, arms turned out, back slightly arched position for starting and ending routines whereas dance has a chest up, lower back and ribs tucked, arms turned in placement for the duration of routines.
That difference proves to be a positive thing because a person develops their body on a more diverse and well-rounded level. Using different muscles as the dominating ones or even just different muscles adds the creativity capacity of the performer.
Incorporating both activities adds dimensions and dynamics that many people still are not accustomed to seeing. When dancers do pirouettes into back walkovers and keep dancing, keeping everything just as fluid as it should be, jaws still drop. And when gymnasts add dance that works wonderfully with the music that accompanies their routines, audiences love them and feel like their learning a little bit more about the gymnast’s personality.
On the downside, both activities have a lot of participants with eating disorders, crippling injuries, abusive coaches and obsessed parents. Those types of things take the enjoyment out of sports that appear to be so much fun.
Strength, flexibility, balance, power and agility are encompassed in both gymnastics and dance. In order to find your body’s voice a strong sense of these things are necessary.
Both place you in informal group situations that can inadvertently develop your social skills, get rid of shyness, and to relieve stress.
Determination, discipline and endurance play key roles that can aid you when it comes to setting long term (reasonable) goals in life.
Gymnastics and dance are two activities that work well together when the performer has a balanced background in both fields (although that’s not necessary). Once the understanding of the body placement and terminology is decoded, a person enters a new realm of ‘gym-nance-stics’.