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Books: Physics of Ballet


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Has anyone read the book "Physics and the Art of Dance: Understanding Movement " by Kenneth Laws? What did you think? I just found it at amazon.com and was wondering if anyone could recommend it? Thanks!

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  • Mel Johnson

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Mel Johnson

It's a good book, and a surprisingly easy read, even if you've been away from physics for years. Even I can do the math!

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It isn't always accurate in terms of technique, but it's interesting to read. It has many "fun facts" & tells you some things like why tall dancers can usually jump higher but short dancers usually move faster.

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Guest Doris R

Haven't seen it. Would it be something that my husband the physics teacher might be able to use with his students? Let me know what you think and maybe I'll get it for him.

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Mel Johnson

Well, he might find something in it to use, but it would be better if his students spoke ballet fluently.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm the proud owner of a copy of "Physics and the Art of Dance: Understanding Movement", by Kenneth Laws. I've found it very fascinating, and often useful.

 

Kenneth Laws has an earlier (out of print?) book "Physics, Dance, and the Pas de Deux", with Cynthia Harvey listed as a co-author. She is not listed as a co-author for the book I have, so I was wondering:

 

Does anyone know whether there is any material on pas de deux in the earlier book, which is not found in the book I have? (Apart from the video that sometimes comes with the older book.)

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  • 2 months later...
Guest MrWombat

Not too many, the Pas de Deux section is quite a bit smaller in the newest version (the one you have). There was also a section on ice skating in the older book. There is a still older version (the oldest) called The Physics of Dance. The content of all the books is quite similar. There are also no question sections at the end of chapters in the older books. As far as Cynthia's input is concerned, she has a chapter describing what doing a pas de deux is like in the older book, but that's about it. Most of the changes are mentioned in his preface.

Edited by MrWombat
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  • 2 years later...

I used it last year while working on a physics project for school. Its called Physics and the Art of Dance and its by Kenneth Laws if I remember correctly.

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here's how the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts lists the work: a book with an accomanying videocassette - i haven't heard if there was a re-issue beyond a second(?) printing some time soon after the first, and i haven't heard of any re-issue with a DVD:

 

Physics, dance, and the pas de deux / Kenneth Laws, Cynthia Harvey ; photographs by Martha Swope ; foreword by Kevin McKenzie.

New York : Schirmer Books ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, c1994.

xviii, 227 p. : ill. ; 24 cm. + 1 videocassette (28 min. : sd., col.)

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Thank you so much! I'm going to order it today. Just curious...Sparkles: what kind of physics project were you working on? I'm interested in the field of biomechanics and am wondering how physics/dance will help.

 

Thanks again!

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It was a biomechanical project and I focused mainly on projectile motion, torque during pirouettes/rotations/balance and friction. It was a lot of fun to "research". :)

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Well, I'm a career scientist (i.e. "a nerd") and I can tell you that learning to apply anatomy, physiology, physics, and math to ballet has been the most fun part of my classes. You ought to see my teacher roll her eyes when I mention generating torque from having the standing leg turned out in pirouette (sp) or insisting a certain formation is a rhombus. It's fun for me though.

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I have to say as a science educator and parent of the HS kid who HATES science (but not quite as much as math) I am intriguesd to look it up. May be it will inspire her next year in physcis.

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And questions like these are just why we have the little Amazon.com banner at the top of the page.

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