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By World Book Encyclopedia
World Book IncCopyright © 1961 World Book Encyclopedia
All right reserved.
I WANT TO BE AN ACROBAT
You are in for a lot of hard work--but don't be put off! Spend some time on warm-up exercises and then start putting different movements together. Work on routines that you can use in a show to entertain your friends. These could be a mix of jumps, tumbles, cartwheels, and balances. The more variety you get into your act, the better.
Before you do any acrobatic routines you should do some warm-up exercises first.
When you are standing still, keep your head up, shoulders back, and your back straight. This will come naturally after a while.
A hoop or jump rope is good for beginning your warm-up routine. Some background music may help to get a rhythm going. Don't spend too much time on one exercise. You need to loosen up every part of your body!
This is a good exercise for your hips. Squat down with your back straight and head up. Stretch each leg out to one side in turn.
Running in place
Gently jogging in place will soon make you feel warm all over. A few minutes should be enough before moving on to another exercise.
Swing your arms in wide circles, forward and backward. Your arms should swing close to your ears. Thisexercise will help loosen up your shoulders.
UP IN THE AIR
How high can you jump? And how far? Try making up your own jumps by altering the position of your arms and legs in midair.
Thinking of different jumps for a routine shouldn't be a problem. There are so many to choose from. You can leap from one foot to another, jump from two feet to two feet, or from one foot to two feet. Or you can hop from one foot to the same foot! Try putting different combinations together in a routine.
* You can do some jumps from a standing position. Others will need a running start to give more height.
* A perfect jump includes a safe landing. Land on the balls of your feet, then the heels, with knees and hips slightly bent.
This is an upward jump with arms and legs stretched wide. Start from a standing position and jump as high as you can!
Have you ever played leapfrog? Here's a way you can play it in your act to get a good laugh! The leaper runs up as if to leap over the "frog" who is bending down. But the "frog" is not as low as usual.
As the leaper jumps, the "frog" catches the leaper's legs and runs off with her piggyback!
Twist and turn
You'll need to jump high for this one! Once you are airborne, turn full circle so that you land facing the direction from which you started.
UP AND OVER
Acrobats often use props in their acts. For example, a jump rope is useful and inexpensive! Another handy item is a large wooden or plastic hoop. Start jumping!
Once you have mastered plain jumping you can try some tricks. Try jumping with a partner using just one rope, or turning your rope at double speed so that it makes two turns for every jump. Instead of jumping in the same position, try moving around.
As your rope reaches its highest point, do your best split jump. Keep one leg stretched out in front and the other leg back. Make sure the rope clears both legs!
You will need a partner to do this. Stand facing him with your rope behind you and toes nearly touching. As you jump, your partner should mirror your movements.
Grip the hoop lightly on the top with two hands. Now start jumping in place. When you have mastered this on your own, try doing it with a partner.
Here's another good use for a jump rope. Fold your rope in half and then in half again. Place your foot in the rope and raise your leg. Stretch your leg as far as you can without losing your balance.
Excerpted from An Acrobat by World Book Encyclopedia Copyright © 1961 by World Book Encyclopedia. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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