Schottenbauer Publishing

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Scientific Analysis of a Ballet Plie Jump

The plie jump is one of ballet's best moves for demonstrating basic physics. Essentially, the jump consists of a straight up-and-down motion. The jump begins from a legs-bent position, and ends in a similar stance, usually with foot position reversed. 

The slides below show a plie jump and the resulting graph of motion. A video of the move and analysis is available on YouTube.

Discussion Questions
  1. Where is the origin of the x-y axis in these pictures?
  2. Redraw the graph with the origin at (a) the center of the feet, (b) the lower left corner of the page, (c) the initial position of the head, and (d) one other point on the picture.
  3. What is the height of the jump?
  4. How high is the jump, compared to the height of the person? What is the proportion of the height of the jump to the height of the person?
  5. What forces are relevant for understanding the motion of the jump?
  6. What occurs at the beginning and end of the jump?
  7. What equation describes the free motion of the vertical component of the jump (e.g., the component of the jump when the person is not touching the ground)? 
  8. What practical advice would improve the height of the jump?

Graphs such as the ones above can be found in the following book series:

  • The Science of Yoga, Pilates, & Ballet
    • Volume 1: Force & Acceleration
    • Volume 2: Biophysics
    • Volume 3: Video Analysis

Anthologies of 28 Graphs
    • The Science of Yoga
    • The Science of Dance & Ballet

    Related books, appropriate for younger students, include the following:

    Geometry Workbooks
    • The Geometry of Yoga
    • The Geometry of Ballet 

    Additional information on these and related book series is available on the author's blog on Sport Science Education.

    Additional Information

    Schottenbauer Publishing