Acro dance is a style of dance that combines classical dance technique with precision acrobatic elements. It is defined by its athletic character, its unique choreography, which seamlessly blends dance and acrobatics, and its use of acrobatics in a dance context. It is a popular dance style in amateur competitive dance as well as in professional dance theater, such as Cirque du Soleil. Acro dance is known by various other names including acrobatic dance and gymnastic dance, though it is most commonly referred to simply as acro by dancers and dance professionals.
Acrobatic dance emerged in the United States and Canada in the early 1900s as one of the types of acts performed in vaudeville. Although individual dance and acrobatic acts had been performed in vaudeville for several decades prior to 1900, it was not until the early 1900s that it became popular to perform acts that combined dance and acrobatic movements. Since the decline of the vaudeville era, acrobatic dance has undergone a multi-faceted evolution to arrive at its present-day form. The most significant aspect of this evolution is the integration of ballet technique as the foundation for dance movements, thus bringing into acro dance a precision of form and movement that was absent in vaudeville acrobatic dance.
Tap dance is a form of dance in which the shoes worn by the dancer, known as tap shoes, are used as percussive instruments. The percussive sounds are made by metal "taps" on the heel and toe of each shoe.
Napoleon and Tabitha D'umo, also known as Nappytabs, are husband and wife choreographers who are often credited with developing the new style of hip-hop dance known as lyrical hip-hop. They have been working together in the dance industry since 1996 and are best known for their choreography on the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. They were subsequently nominated for a 2009 Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for their work on season four. In addition to So You Think You Can Dance, Tabitha and Napoleon are supervising choreographers on MTV's America's Best Dance Crew and own Nappytabs urban dancewear.
Napoleon and Tabitha started their career in Las Vegas while still in college choreographing industrial musicals for large businesses. After moving to Los Angeles, they began teaching dance classes and choreographing for professional basketball and football dance teams including the Orlando Magic and the Dallas Cowboys. Their career improved to choreographing music videos, commercials, films, television shows, and concerts. They have worked with entertainers such as Missy Elliott, Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Kanye West, Ricky Martin, and Jennifer Lopez. They also appeared in the dance documentary MOVE and choreographed three different productions of Cirque du Soleil, two of which included guest performances on Dancing with the Stars and America's Got Talent. Although Napoleon and Tabitha still choreograph and teach classes, they have moved toward directing tours and live events.