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 Post subject: Men hate ballet
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 12:32 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A family does ballet....and rally driving:

Cultureshock
Jenni Murray enjoys a combative relationship with her son, so after Charlie had taken her rally driving, she took him kicking and screaming to the ballet. Interviews by Lucy Atkins for The Guardian.

Jenni Murray: When we got to the ballet I realised I'd fallen into this big gender stereotype as we were surrounded by gorgeous pink floaty things. But I partly chose it because I knew Charlie would hate it. He's been once, and I did hope he might enjoy it more now he's 18. I thought he might at least go for the athleticism of it, and get swept away by the music, but it was a three-hour-long torture chamber for him.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 943
Location: Santa Barbara, CA USA
Driving a car fast and dancing aren't that far removed from each other. I've been itching to write something about that, showing useful links between the two, but haven't gotten around to it, yet.

Here's an easy example: when you dance socially with a partner, for a guy, or whomever is leading, your partner has a certain reaction time that you have to account for in your lead. Over time, you build up a sensitivity for this, and you can make your partner do some pretty cool things. A car is similar: when you turn the steering wheel, the car takes a bit of time to react and set before doing what you asked it to do. If you turn the steering wheel left, the car will start to lean to the right, and eventually take a set (the lean angle stops increasing), at which point it will start turning left. Knowing this and a few other things, you can get a car pretty fast through twisty roads.

The proprioception needed for dance --- balance and knowing where your extremities are --- along with the skill to make your body do something particular when you need it to do --- having a battement degage just so high off the ground, or placing your arms and legs so they form a nice line --- are skills you have to use to drive a car at a very high level. The sense of traction available is tied to one's sense of balance, the need to place a car consistently within inches of a certain part of the racetrack is tied to one's sense of proprioception, and even learning a racetrack is like learning choreography (albeit one where there are very few steps, like less than 20, but each step must be performed perfectly and consistently over a very long time period).

This may all sound very novel and surprising, but I think it's rather natural: human bodies can bend, flex, sense, and move in only so many ways, so it's not surprising that otherwise disparate human activities require and use the same set of basic physical skills.

--Andre


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:39 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 945
Location: Maryland USA
Andre, I can't wait to read your comparison in full. I'm sure it will be enlightening! :)
-Carol


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 6:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Andre Yew wrote:
Driving a car fast and dancing aren't that far removed from each other. I've been itching to write something about that, showing useful links between the two, but haven't gotten around to it, yet.

Here's an easy example: when you dance socially with a partner, for a guy, or whomever is leading, your partner has a certain reaction time that you have to account for in your lead. Over time, you build up a sensitivity for this, and you can make your partner do some pretty cool things.

And what a difference it makes for the person being led when the leader understands this! Not that everyone has to think of it -- some leaders just sense it naturally.

I'd like to read whatever else you have to say on the subject of driving and dancing.


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