Outreach & EducationPhysics & Dance

Dance, and in particular ballet, connects to a multitude of disciplines, spanning the curriculum. There is math in working with music, choreography and pattern of movement. There is language arts and storytelling in the performance of a work. There are history and social studies connections to be made with the historical context in which works were created or focusing on composers and famous dancers of the past. As you can see, the connections are there, a little research at the library or on the internet can unlock and create many activities for your classroom. In this packet, we are going to concentrate on a few areas in which physics and dance can be observed together in action, but this is only the beginning.

Physics and dance represent remarkably complementary approaches to human body movement - the scientific approach of classical mechanics, and the aesthetic approach of the popular art form of dance. People involved with dance, those having some familiarity with science, and those who might be unfamiliar with both topics can all find intriguing and challenging food for thought.

The science of physics deals with motion and interaction of forces and bodies. Many classroom experiments are available in which students use a variety of manipulatives to explore these forces and interactions, but they may also be explored while actively observing a ballet performance.