J09 Peak angular momentum of pirouettes by a university-level contemporary dance cohort


  • Jessica Talbot University of Chichester
  • Edel Quin University of Chichester
  • Penny Hudson University of Chichester




Turning movements are an important movement to master in many dance styles. For advanced or professional dancers, the pirouette (completing one or more turns with a specific stylistic form) is difficult to master and increasing the revolutions heightens difficulty further. The purpose of this study was to investigate peak angular momentum generation (PAM) of completing single- and attempting triple-revolution pirouettes for contemporary dance students. Adaptations made by dancers whilst rotating and imbalances within the centre of mass over the base of support were identified. Ethical approval was received. Seven female university-level contemporary dance students completed five successful single-revolution pirouettes en dehors (PeDh) and attempting to complete five successful triple-revolution PeDh whilst being recorded using a three-dimensional VICON motion capture system. PAM and torso lean (TL) and a two-dimensional foot vector (FV) were then calculated using a six degree of freedom model (Visual3D). A one-way ANOVA (P < 0.05) compared mean variance between single-, double-, and triple-revolution pirouettes. Significant effects were determined for all variables in each pirouette condition. A Tukey post-hoc test (P < 0.05) determined overall significant differences between PAM (F2, 37 = 15.8, ⍵² = 0.426), TL (F2, 37 = 3.4, ⍵² = 0.108), and FV (F2, 30 = 4.9, ⍵² = 0.192) for the midpoint turn of each pirouette condition. Independent samples T-Tests (𝛼 < 0.05) were conducted to compare PAM (t11 = 1.8, d = 1.026), TL (t11 = 0.1, d = 0.030), and FV (t6 = 0.6, d = 0.433) between successful and unsuccessful double pirouettes, with no differences reported. This test was repeated for successful and unsuccessful triple pirouettes. Again, no differences were observed for PAM (t15 = −2.2, d = −1.093), TL (t15 = −1.6, d = −0.802), and FV (t15 = −1.3, d = −0.648). This study concluded that PAM increased as the number of pirouette revolutions increased. Furthermore, a minimum threshold for PAM was calculated to produce successful double (0.597 kg·ms2⎺¹) and triple (0.637 kg·ms2⎺¹) pirouettes. Observations from the pirouette trials and FV data illustrated that dancers ‘hop’ when an imbalance is sensed, in an attempt to regain balance and continue pirouette revolutions. However, this method predominately produced unsuccessful pirouettes as the initial PAM was not achieved. This research can be applied to dance coaching as it provides an initial insight into mechanisms to support successful pirouette technique.