|What is Calisthenics|
Calisthenics is one of the fastest growing artistic sports - unique to Australia. Children of all ages thrive on the variety and challenges offered in the many facets of Calisthenics - a combination of controlled exercises and gymnastics, marching, singing, simplified ballet, folk and modern dance.
All items are costumed, choreographed, set to music and presented by our teams on stage at competitions in the ACT (and interstate) and at our club concert.
All participants, regardless of their experience or ability, compete in the majority of items.
After several generations of exclusive female membership, calisthenics now accepts boys in the younger age groups.
The Benefits of Calisthenics
Calisthenics encourages its participants to be fit, happy and active at a level appropriate to their needs and capabilities. At Action, we encourage all participants to strive for their personal best and aim to ensure that all classes are an enjoyable learning experience.
Calisthenics helps participants with self-esteem and confidence in a friendly and caring environment. Due to the nature of calisthenics, participants learn how to be a member of a team, to savour the pride of winning and to show dignity in defeat. Most importantly we hope that all participants meet new friends and enjoy themselves throughout the year.
Calisthenics (Greek: "Kallos" for beauty and "sthenos" for strength).
Calisthenics is a uniquely Australian sport that originated in Victoria in the Gold Rush of the 1800’s. It was derived from European physical culture or gymnastics, initially designed to keep men, women and children residing in the city healthy. These exercises were often combined with apparatus to keep the wrists, elbows and shoulders supple. It was practised in church halls and the drills were executed to musical accompaniment and words of command. Musical accompaniment gradually enhanced performances and it slowly became an integral part of the sport.
Public classes began in the 1880’s. By 1903 the Royal South Street Society introduced calisthenics to its famous Eisteddfod in Ballarat. The competition in Ballarat is still the focus for many clubs in Australia. Calisthenics was introduced into Victorian State Schools in the 1930s.
Calisthenics has come a long way since these humble beginnings. The first and second World Wars saw the gradual disappearance of male competitors. Calisthenics as we know it today evolved in the late 1940’s. The 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne exposed calisthenics teachers to the international trends of gymnastics presentations. This exposure led the way for the incredible growth and development within the sport.
Calisthenics became so popular that calisthenics clubs spread rapidly, although mostly in Victoria and South Australia. It achieved national attraction when Victorian and South Australian coaches began moving throughout Australia. Calisthenics came to the ACT in the mid 60’s when Florence Curtis started classes in Belconnen.
Calisthenics is an enjoyable team and solo sport that encourages physical development, co-ordination and self-discipline through a series of light dance, march, ballet and gymnastic routines. Some items incorporate the use of apparatus, all of which are musically choreographed and may include singing and acting. Calisthenics routines are performed on a theatre stage for an adjudicator, and audience much like an Eisteddfod.
Calisthenics promotes team work and friendship; it also helps improve participant’s deportment and overall grooming, which continues to help them throughout their life.
Calisthenics participants develop an appreciation for music, rhythm and melodies of all kinds. Performances at competitions involve wearing stunning costumes, helping to make each performance dynamic and exciting both for the participants and the audience.
Participants learn between 5 and 8 routines each year. Each routine lasts between 1.5 - 4 minutes, dependent on the age of the participant. All routines are taught and performed with the emphasis of teamwork and uniformity and are designed to develop strength, flexibility, fitness, poise and confidence.
There are many different disciplines or routines that are taught in Calisthenics, and this is why it is considered such a diversified sport.
Calisthenic core items, which are taught every year and form the basis of Calisthenics skills are: Figure March, Free Exercise, Rods, Club Swinging and Aesthetics.
Figure March develops rhythm, core stability, extension and deportment of the body. It involves a team executing intricate patterns on the stage.
Free Exercise displays team strength and flexibility. It is a series of movements involving flexibility, strength, control and uniformity performed with no apparatus.
Rods is similar to Free Exercise but is performed with a long rod. Participants twist, manipulate, and flash the rod to develop the shoulder, arm and wrist, whilst incorporating leg and dance work.
Club Swinging involves the swinging of wooden clubs in unison with rhythm and uniformity. Clubs are often swung in different directions and doing different movements. (Not performed by Tinies).
Aesthetics is a ballet influenced discipline and is performed with a long flowing skirt. The team interprets the music through graceful, flowing body movements and includes facial expression.
The remaining disciplines are Folk/Character Dance, Song and Dance, Song with Actions, Rhythmical Aesthetics, Calisthenic Revue, and Dance Rods. These are called our “Fancy Items” and are usually highly costumed, theme based and favoured by all calisthenics participants. Not all of these items are performed every year or by every age group.
updated 28 Feb 2013 CM