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My favorite activity is dancing, whether it is ballet or contemporary dancing. I started ballet at the age of 2, and have been dancing ever since then. Because I dance practically every day of the week, I was able to observe how physics plays into my dancing.
In every Ballet class, when doing combinations “across the floor” (combinations to the other side of the studio), we are told to “travel” a lot. Rather than dancing small, you are considered a better dancer if you are able to travel a larger distance in the given choreography across the floor. Therefore the term distance, which is how much an object travels, is used in this scenario; traveling a large distance is a strong component in determining how well your dancing is. When I am just traveling in one direction across the floor, and ending on the opposite side, I can also say that larger the displacement, the better. However, if I had a combination across the floor where instead of ending in the other side I would come back to my original spot, my displacement would be 0, which is another physics term. This is because in the end result, the difference of my beginning position and my ending position is the same. Also, speed is a large component in dancing. Again, in the across the floor combinations, the distance I travel on the floor divided by the time it takes me to do chene turns across the floor gives me my speed, or how fast I moved. Velocity would also give me how fast I moved during the choreography; however, like I stated before, if there was a combination that required me to come back to my original spot, my velocity would be 0. This is because my displacement is 0, due to the fact my initial and final position is exactly the same. As velocity = displacement/time, 0 divided by any number would give me 0. Furthermore, one can see acceleration when I do grande battement at the barre for ballet. (Grande battement is when you kick one of your legs from a standing first position, high as you can with your leg turned out). If I measure my initial velocity of my leg and the final velocity when my leg is in the highest point in the air—when it is next to my head– the velocity should be different. This is because when doing grande battements, the speed of my leg becomes gradually faster. In order to calculate this, I would have to have my leg in front of a tall straight ruler as I kick. Let’s say that I always lift my leg up 1.5 m. One person would have to measure my initial velocity by timing the time it takes for my leg to reach 0.3 meters off the ground and another person to measure my final velocity by timing the time for my leg to pass 1.2-1.5 m. Also, I would need a third person to measure the whole time it takes for my leg to reach 1.5m. If I used the equation a= (Vf-Vi)/t I would be able to find the acceleration of my leg when I do a grande battement. Moreover, even projectile motion is used in ballet technique as well. When doing a grande jete, the dancer must use both a horizontal and vertical motion to create the parabolic movement, just like the shape of a projectile motion. During this movement, the weight is transferred from one leg to the other while jumping high and far at the same time, meaning my body is moving in a both horizontal and vertical direction. The fact that gravity is upon the dancer at all times which adds to why this ballet movement connects to projectile motion.
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