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How Do I Become an Acrobat?

A tightrope walker, who is a type of acrobat, must be dedicated, patient, limber, and willing to practice his or her craft.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
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An acrobat is an athlete who is able to contort his or her body and perform tricks for an audience. This career requires dedication, extreme physical fitness, flexibility and a flair for performing. The best way to become an acrobat is to complete advanced training in gymnastics, gain related work experience and join a circus or acrobatic troupe.

To become an acrobat, you must be willing to travel extensively, perform on a regular basis and be dedicated to a very physically demanding activity. If you are very shy or afraid to perform in front of an audience, you likely will not be able to succeed as an acrobat without overcoming those issues. In addition to pure physical skill, you must be creative, be able to devise new movements and be able to choreograph a show that highlights specific skills and is enjoyable to the audience.

Formal training in gymnastics or dance is required to become an acrobat. These classes usually must begin before the age of 4 in order to obtain the level of skill and flexibility necessary. An acrobat's career is very short, with most retiring by their mid-20s because of the physical demands. Students with a natural aptitude and who enjoy acrobatic movements often are spotted by coaches and teachers, who often will work with the parents to arrange the courses required for this career.

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In order to become an acrobat, you most likely will need to audition for the role. In this process, you will have to perform an acrobatic routine or set of choreographed moves for a producer. The decision about which candidate to hire is often made on the same day, based on each candidate's performance. Professional reputation is very important, and acrobats who are punctual, dedicated and consistent are more likely to be successful.

Related work experience typically is focused on performing in front of an audience. Only through practice and repeated exposure to performing can you learn how to feel the mood of the audience, perform with confidence and overcome problems as seamlessly as possible. Gymnastic competitions, exhibitions and performances are a great way to learn these skills at a young age.

Employment opportunities for an acrobat generally are limited to circuses or acrobatic troupes. A position in this type of group does not offer a high rate of financial compensation, but it does give you a chance to perform. An acrobat sometimes will be spotted by a movie producer or television producer who can offer the performer a part in his or her latest project.

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