AcroArmy marches into finals on 'America's Got Talent' TV show15/09/2014
Four years after Acro troupe Spelbound stunned Britain's TV audience, the U.S.'s AcroArmy, which includes 2014 World bronze medallists Kylie Boynton and Ryan Ward, are bringing enthusiasm for the lesser-known gymnastics discipline stateside with their performances on the television show "America's Got Talent."
The members of AcroArmy, all competitors at the 2014 World Acro Championships and World Age Group competitions, performing at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Below, videos of their routines on "America's Got Talent."
The troupe, led and choreographed by two-time World Acro champion Arthur Davis, is one of 12 acts that have qualified for the reality TV show's final, which will be televised in the U.S. on September 16. It's a proud encore for Davis, who with Shenea Booth won the U.S.'s first World title in Mixed Pairs in 2002. The duo successfully defended their World title in 2004, and Davis now coaches in California.
“America's Got Talent” is a reality series featuring all types of performers, who compete at New York City's famed Radio City Music Hall for a grand prize of 1 million dollars. Contestants are evaluated by celebrity judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and former Spice Girl Mel B, but winners are picked by audience vote, including those watching at home, who vote by phone. Acts that have won the show since its 2006 debut include several singers, a ventriloquist and a pair of dog trainers, but in AcroArmy, the TV audience has been introduced to something else entirely.
The group is cognizant that their performances make them something of "AcroAmbassadors" for the sport, which, partly because it is not an Olympic sport, does not enjoy the name-recognition of Artistic, Rhythmic or Trampoline Gymnastics. Rather than be daunted by the task, AcroArmy members are excited how each performance is a potential opportunity to spread knowledge about one of gymnastics's lesser-known disciplines.
"It is amazing to see how people have reacted to AcroArmy and the sport of Acrobatic Gymnastics," said Ward. "America has voted us through each round and have really been supportive to what we do as a group! Our goal as AcroArmy is to not only bring light onto what Acrobatic Gymnastics is, but to also inspire all the people who watch our performances. We are consistently inspired by the people around us, the talent of others, and the beautiful world around us; our goal is to also inspire others to work towards fulfilling their dreams and to prove that through hard work, determination, and vigilance that anything is possible! We also feel so honored to be ambassadors of this sport and hope to make everyone in the Acro community proud!"
The 18-person troupe has earned a standing ovation and rave reviews from the show's judges for the unique blend of dance, acrobatics and showmanship in their performances, which feature Acro elements adapted from their competition routines. The gymnasts hail from all regions of the U.S. and represent five different clubs. All have represented the U.S. at the World Acro Championships or the Acro World Age Group Competitions. The top six acts on this season of America's Got Talent will perform in the grand finale, to be televised in the U.S. on Tuesday night.
"It has a tough competition season for the group," commented Tonya Case (USA), a member of the FIG Technical Committee for Acro. "Not only did they have to qualify for the France, they also had to participate in regional competitions, the World Team selection event, and USA National Championships," which took place a week after the World Championships. "It's a lot of dedication, but it is great for Acro in the USA."
Related: Meet the members of AcroArmy here: http://www.acroarmy.com/