CriticalDance Forum

Pirouetting Brains
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Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Dec 22, 2004 12:36 am ]
Post subject:  Pirouetting Brains

Why only dancers can do a mental pirouette

the Guardian

When a prima ballerina watches someone perform a pirouette, or a professional footballer watches a player bend it like Beckham, they use parts of the brain not used by amateur watchers.

Author:  kurinuku [ Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Pirouetting Brains

Human See, Human Do: Ballet Dancers' Brains Reveal The Art Of Imitation

by the Science Daily

Scientists have discovered that a system in our brain which responds to actions we are watching, such as a dancer's delicate pirouette or a masterful martial arts move, reacts differently if we are also skilled at doing the move. The University College London (UCL) study, published in the latest online edition of Cerebral Cortex , may help in the rehabilitation of people whose motor skills are damaged by stroke, and suggests that athletes and dancers could continue to mentally train while they are physically injured.

Author:  osiris661 [ Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:21 am ]
Post subject: 

Very Interesting;
I have been trying to tell my students about this for years. When I was in my training there was this guy that could consistently turn 7 or 8 times on command. 99% of the time he could just do the most beautiful 7 or 8 pirrouettes, I on the other hand was struggling with triples (still am depending on the day :roll: Anyway, I finally asked him one day about how he developed the ability to execute pirrouettes so effortlessly and here is what he said;
"get a video of white nights where Barishnikov does the 12 pirrouettes or any video of somebody who does nice pirrouettes, turn off all the lights in the room you are going to watch the video in and just watch the pirrouettes over and over again for atleast an hour."
I tried it myself and much to my surprise, it works, well. I have ran into quite a few dancers over the years who use this exact same technique to help enforce their turns.
As dancers we are constantly learning movement, choreography and technique by committing what we see to memory. If we see something repeated a couple of hundred times and really try to committ it to memory our bodies will eventually begin to mimic what is in our minds.
Then again there is no one exact way to do pirrouettes, IMHO of course, it is an individual thing, as I always tell my students, "whatever gets you around and practice makes perfect".

Author:  Andre Yew [ Thu Apr 28, 2005 12:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

I tried this last night with the 4 Men of ABT video at the section of the Mark Morris piece where the four of them start pirouetting consecutively (for higher pirouette density :wink: ), but only for 15 to 20 minutes instead of an hour. Perhaps as a result, I had one of my periodic dreams where I can turn (always en dehors for whatever reason) as many times as I like by just spotting one more time, even if I'm slowing down. Except last night was different: my standing foot felt huge, like I couldn't ever fall off of it, and I could close my eyes, and still keep turning no matter what, but the sensation of the turning torque was even more heightened with my eyes closed, almost like someone spinning me. It all felt too good to be true, and I even asked someone in the dream to pinch me to make sure I wasn't dreaming!

Anyway, even if my terrible turning doesn't improve, having dreams like that is no small consolation! :)


Author:  corrival [ Fri Apr 29, 2005 10:02 am ]
Post subject: 

Cooool. 8) I will try this with my sport/art (dressage). I often watch videos of riders I admire, but have never tried total immersion, an hour in a darkened room.

Author:  osiris661 [ Sat May 07, 2005 8:48 am ]
Post subject: 

dressage huh, can you get the horse to watch the video too :wink: lol. Some of my dancer friends who are golfers use this technique to practice their swing. Whatever works I guess.

Author:  Liscarkat [ Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:24 am ]
Post subject: 

This really is a fascinating topic. I wish I were still in training. But when I was (1970s), home video was nonexistent, or at least I didn't have access to it.

The dreaming experience Andre Yew mentioned is similar to a phenomenon I experienced. I would be having trouble with a movement, then I would dream about it, and afterward I would be able to do it better. That happened with entrechat six, and double tours en l'air. I still sometimes dream that I'm doing double tours, sometimes in slow motion. I guess it's a form of visualization. When I'm watching a dancer do a solo, I sometimes become aware that I'm tensing and relaxing my leg muscles. Maybe that's a result of those parts of my brain reacting as though I were doing the dance myself.

Author:  wannadance1 [ Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  WOW!

I hope that that's true if so than I must have ALOT of talent!!!

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