(This page deals with Adagio and dance Acrobatics)
While the French call it Adage, the term Adagio is Italian in origin. Adagio is "any dance" (quote "any") dance or combination of steps done to slow music as contrasted or followed up with allegro. In ballet, adagio is a series of lessons designed to develop grace, balance and a sense of ones line. Adagio is part of the classic "pas de deux" as danced by the ballerina and her partner (the danseur.)
Allegro basically is the opposite of adagio, it is "any dance or combination of steps" done to a moderate or fast tempo. Is part of a ballet lesson usually following adagio while all forms of jumps, leaps, turns in the air are all part of allegro.
Adagio, as done by a couple or exhibition dancers is usually a very romantic type of dance routine which usually portrays a type of love affair but can be different in its performance. The dance when done correctly can make you cry, or make you stand and cheer as it does have in impact on the audience. It is beautiful to watch as well as breath-taking when done correctly.
Acrobatic dances are very similar to Adagio dances and many times use the same training and can contain elements of Gymnastics. Acrobatic basically means Lifts, Flips or Aerials done with speed and surprise and in which they are usually called "Tricks." Gymnastics (Rock and Roll, Swing etc.) can play a part as well. Acrobatic dances are done more in the rhythm dances such as Hustle, many forms of Swing such as Lindy, Jitterbug, European Rock and Roll plus other dances such as Latin, Ballroom and Tap dances, as well as smooth dances such as Waltz, Tango and Apache.
Originally dance acrobatics was just considered tumbling. Many of the best early dance acrobatic / tumblers were African American, such as Henry Bolden, Acott and Bailey, the Tomi Trio, The Crackerjacks, Gaines Brothers, and Rastus and Banks who worked on the ground doing Somersaults, Cartwheels, Flip-Flops, Knee-drops, Splits, Butterflies, flips and spins. One of the first to use Acrobatics with dance was Sherman Coates of the Watermelon Trust which consisted of two men (Grundy and Coates) and their wives (Lulu and ???) around 1900. Acrobatics and Adagio found their way into the couples dance world such as exhibition dancers in Theatres and Nightclubs. One such group was the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers who called their Acrobatic stunts "Air Steps." These acrobatics lend themselves to dance because of the relatively ease in which they could be done but required alot of practicing to prevent injury.
The lifts are dependent on the female knowing her part while the man is only the assistant (a helper.) Adagio is not dependent on the males "strength," although the appearances will be as such and it does help. It is more important that both male and female know their separate parts. An example is the picture to left of this page, it shows two ladies doing "Acrobatic Dancing" and as you can see the follower being much bigger than the leader. (Adagio was also called "acrobatic Dancing.") There were many female acrobatic dance couples in the early part of the century, a sort of novelty if you will.
Note: Lifts should not be done socially by untrained social dancers, followers can get extremely hurt as well as others around them. The Clip on the left shows Adagio dance lifts being done in the Hustle dance by Eddie Vega.
~A WORD of CAUTION if thinking of LIFTING a PARTNER 'SOCIALLY' ... 'DON'T DO IT'!