Advice for Dancers

Why Can't Women Jump as High as Men?

Resistance training that strengthens your quads can help improve your jumps. Thinkstock

Why can't I jump as high as my male partner? We both have to perform the same series of jetés in a workshop performance and practicing isn't helping. I'm starting to panic.

—Amy, Cincinnati, OH


The gender gap between men and women for jump height is significant whether you're playing basketball or dancing ballet. Research shows that men naturally have a higher jump and more leg strength, force and power compared to women. Blame it on innate characteristics that start in puberty, when boys experience a spurt of muscle growth as hormones like testosterone surge, increasing their jumping ability. Some studies also suggest that males have a higher ratio of fast-twitch muscle fibers, along with a physiology that's more efficient at recruiting the muscles needed to jump.

Resistance training aimed at strengthening your quads can narrow the gap. However, no one expects you to jump like a man. Rather than placing unrealistic expectations on yourself, why not focus on qualities under your control, like musicality and artistic expression? The point is to perform the jetés beautifully, not compete with your partner.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

News
Teaċ Daṁsa in Michael Keegan-Dolan's Loch na hEala. Photo by Marie-Laure Briane, courtesy Walker Art Center

The 2019–20 season is here, and with it more performances than any one person could reasonably catch. But fear not: We polled our writers and editors and selected the 31 most promising tickets, adding up to one endlessly intriguing year of dance.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancers Trending
Taylor Stanley in Apollo. Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy New York City Ballet

You nominated your favorite dance moments so far in 2019, and we narrowed them down to this list. Now it's time to cast your vote to help decide who will be deemed our Readers' Choice picks for the year!

Voting is open until September 17th. Only one vote per person will be counted.

Keep reading... Show less
The USC Kaufman graduating class with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Gus Ruelas/USC

Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.

Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:

Keep reading... Show less
Original photos: Getty Images

We've been dying to hear more about "On Pointe," a docuseries following students at the School of American Ballet, since we first got wind of the project this spring. Now—finally!—we know where this can't-miss show is going to live: It was just announced that Disney+, the new streaming service set to launch November 12, has ordered the series.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox