News & Media

The Secret Science of Ballet… Grand Jete

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 facing off to see who can perform the best grand jete. The winner is the one who gets closest to achieving full splits mid air.

2. Grand Jete
To perform a grand jete, our dancer leaps with one leg, moves into a splits position mid air, then lands with the other leg. Requiring speed, agility and muscle strength.

3. Vertical acceleration
In order to lift off the ground, a ballet dancer needs to exert a force against the floor that is greater than their weight.

4. Parabolic trajectory
Once the dancer is airborne, their centre of gravity will follow something called a parabolic trajectory. Travelling in an arc, the dancer’s vertical velocity decreases as they rise into the air into a splits position. When at the peak of the arc, their velocity has slowed to zero and will start accelerating back towards the floor.


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