Ever wondered about the science behind a pirouette or a grande jeté? Perhaps you always wanted to know how a dancer is able to perfectly execute a chaîné turn?
A new video from Super Deluxe explains exactly this. Ballet dancers Sam and Stephanie use multiple muscles at once to push into the ground. They have to make sure they do this hard enough, so that the upward reaction can in turn exceed the force of gravity, allowing their bodies to accelerate and soar.
Phew! Got all that?
There’s more. On the way down, Sam needs to hold Stephanie closer to his centre of gravity, to ensure a graceful landing instead of toppling over.
How about relevé en pointe? This move requires impressive balance and coordination. The body mass needs to be located, in this case, directly above the tip of the pointe shoes, which serve as the area of support. The dancer can maintain their balance only when these two are aligned on a vertical axis.
Another interesting aspect covers the changes a dancer, Liz, experienced in her body. She got thickened toenails and callouses because structure and function are closely related together. “If what you do demands a change in your body, your body will change.”
The video also looks at one of the most complex moves in ballet, called the fouette turn. Think Swan Lake and the move being executed 32 times repeatedly. The dancer needs to be in complete control in this situation and reconfigure her body continuously. She also has to push into the ground only in certain ways to ensure that her centre of gravity remains above her foot.
The dancer, of course, may be oblivious to the physics. But that doesn't make it any less, well, scientific.