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What is Calisthenics?

Calisthenics Australia

The word calisthenics comes from the Greek words ‘kallos’ for beauty and ‘thenos’ for strength. Indeed, the components of the sport aim at achieving those physical attributes, but the sport also influences the emotional and social development of girls and boys through friendship and teamwork.

Calisthenics Australia is a unique artistic sport. It combines dance, gymnastics, singing, apparatus manipulation and ballet. It involves a team of pupils learning routines choreographed to music – each of about three to four minutes duration – and presenting those routines at competitions. Pupils learn approximately six routines concurrently throughout a year and this is where the diversity of the sport is seen.

In addition to team work, participants can compete in solo and duo items.

Calisthenics Australia can be categorised as both sport and art. As a sport it encourages physical development, coordination, self-discipline and team spirit. As an Art it develops an appreciation of music and rhythm, the beauty of line and the excitement of presenting on stage.

Calisthenics is the perfect sport for those who want to do everything! The variety of genres performed in Calisthenics gives students the opportunity to develop both strength and flexibility whilst performing a variety of routines reflecting classical ballet, gymnastics, modern dance, singing and acting. Some genres are performed annually and the remaining on a rotational basis between age groups.

Calisthenics Genres

A team genre performed in formations around the stage in a series of intricate pattern choreographed to music.


A team genre involving gymnastic style strength and flexibility movements with an emphasis on detail and uniformity.


A challenging genre, based on exercise movements with the additional challenge of manoeuvring a long rod effortlessly and consistently. The rod is the focal point of routines; however the body and legs are also incorporated in the performance.


Club swinging is a team genre that requires coordination and concentration involving performers swinging clubs in a perfect circle. Highly skill performers execute complex moves in perfect unison.


Calisthenic revue may include singing, dancing or any other calisthenics component and is only limited by the coach’s imagination. Cali Revue provided coaches with an opportunity to express their creativity and demonstrate their enthusiasm for the art of Calisthenics.


Song and dance is a combination of singing and modern dance of which the theme is expressed through the lyrics, steps and costume combined. Students demonstrate dancing, singing and acting ability through facial expressions.


A team genre performed with an accurate representation of a specific region of the world. Students learn traditional steps and dance techniques and wear costumes that accurately reflect their chosen region.


Aesthetics: Closely aligned with classical ballet, Aesthetic involved soft, flowing movements with an emphasis on demonstrating poise, strength and flexibility. Routines are beautiful and graceful and flow perfectly.

Rhythmics: As with Aesthetic, Rhythmical Aesthetic also reflects Classical Ballet requiring graceful dancing, strength and poise with the addition of elevation. This genre is usually choreographed to classical music and finished with beautiful costumes. Rhythmical Aesthetic is only performed by older age sections.


Information courtesy of Australian Calisthenics Federation and videos from Calisthenics Victoria.


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