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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Books: Physics of Ballet

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It is interesting to read though one needs to have basic physic skills to get something out of it. It's certainly worth reading when you want to do a biomechanics project :wink:

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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.)


There is a new edition that will be released soon. DD's friend was one of the models for the photos. I don't know if there is a DVD though.

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Ken Laws is a retired phsics professor at Dickinson College. His interest in dance began when his daughter took ballet at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She dropped out, he began classes! He worked with Sean Lavery to study the science of turns. He gave classes to beginning partnering students and lectures on the sceince of turning to CPYB students. In the past 6 years he worked with several CPYB students who were scientifically oriented on the role of physics in ballet and produced a great interactive exhibit at the Whitaker Center for Science and Art in Harrisburg, PA.


His website for the science of dance is http://physics.dickinson.edu/~podance/podance_homepage.html


Physics and the Art of Dance: Understanding Movement (Paperback)

by Kenneth Laws (Author), Martha Swope (Photographer)

Paperback: 256 pages

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; New Ed edition (March 4, 2005)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0195149165

ISBN-13: 978-0195149166



He is a wonderful of a teacher!

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This begs the question, rshevin, does knowing the physics help you in your dance? That could be a whole new set of after-hours or lunchtime classes at SIs, if given by someone who could translate into "kid", and something that would at least give them a reason/excuse (LOL) for why they are having a hard time with that double or triple! :wink::(

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Does knowing physics help me dance? ABSOLUTELY. The understanding of how muscles balance and stabilize joints is probably the biggest help. If I have a weird sore muscle, I often use physics to determine where my weight placement is going wrong (or right) to cause the change. I figure out which muscles to engage for what movement using physics, anatomy, and biomechanics. I had some great teachers in some recreational classes a while back that really got me started looking at these things. It also helps prevent injuries. Knowing how the knee joint is supposed to function instantly tells you that a forced turnout is going to be a quick killer of your tendons. I can SEE how the forces would be distributed in proper and improper alignment. It's fun, helpful, and safe. Cool! I could go on forever I think.


I think it's a great way to continue encouraging girls in science and math. Ballet can be considerably less threatening (which is sad but an entirely different subject).

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Hi. This is just a neat little side note: I am actually a Dickinson College graduate. I was in the college dance company while I was there and also studied at CPYB at the same time. Professor Laws (That's what we called him) sometimes took our company class as well, which I often taught in my Senior Year. I remember him always being enthusiastic and wanting to discover new ways to "address" how dancing works/happens. This was in 1990, well after the book had first been published.

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