Effect of different sporting heights on ballet pirouette performance

  • Antonio Cicchella Department for Quality of Life Studies, University of Bologna
  • Cioia Caminiti Department for Quality of Life Studies, University of Bologna
Keywords: dance, biomechanics, pirouettes, focus of attention


Having a focus of attention (FOA) in executing complex motor tasks can facilitate task execution. This behaviour influences subsequent movements. We studied the effect of different fixation points on the posture of ten experienced female dancers during the performance of a pirouette. Specifically, the shifting of forces between supporting and gesture legs during the preparation phase and the times of execution of the pirouette were studied. The preparation phase showed a closer placement of the feet than found in previous studies (28% vs 40% of the leg length) and preferred spotting height of 55% of the body height. Pirouettes with a lowspotting height showed a longer start and times to peak force of the supporting leg. No statistical differences were found for bending time on the pirouettes with different spotting heights. The hell landing forces for the gesture leg were different (p<0.01) between trials for the four different spotting heights. Finally, small adjustments in external FOA (<30 cm at 3.5 m of distance) did not influence the performance of the pirouettes significantly but greater gaps did.


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