News & Media

The Secret Science of Ballet…Blind Spotting

With a host of celebrities struggling with two left feet on Strictly Come Dancing, Your Life decided to find out how it was really done and how physics can help. Stars of Dance Mums, Tayluer Amos and Sam Dennis, are going head to head in our ballet challenge. We will see how science helps achieve amazing physical feats…

1. The challenge
Our dancers are competing to see who can spin round for the longest, while blindfolded, before falling over.

2. Blind spotting
Spotting is a technique used by dancers to prevent dizziness. They focus their sight on one point for as long as they can whilst the rest of their body rotates, then quickly whip their head round in one smooth motion to re-focus on the point.

3. Tricking the brain
Focusing on a single spot and whipping the head round quickly means most of the visual information sent to the brain is of a single point, tricking the brain into thinking you’re not rotating.

4. Ears help balance

Sight isn’t the only way to keep your balance. Inside your ears there is fluid and tiny hairs. When you move, fluid in the ears sloshes around and bends the hairs. The hairs are connected to nerve cells which tell your brain about the movement.

5. Keeping a straight head
The dancers need to keep their heads straight as any tilting could cause the fluid in their ears to tell their brain that balance has been lost.

 

Check out the video to see them compete and find out who wins!