The Science of Spotting
Ballet dancers know that spotting is the secret to avoiding dizziness during a string of piqué turns or a coda of fouettés. And now, a team of neurologists at London’s Imperial College recently investigated this dancer-friendly tool. They hope that dance therapy, specifically classes that include turning, could become a viable treatment for patients with chronic dizziness. Dr. Barry Seemungal, who led the research, believes that through their constant training, dancers’ brains learn to suppress signals from the balance organs in their inner ears.
To break down the science of spotting, the team compared dizziness in female dancers and nondancers by spinning participants in a mechanical chair in a dark room. They were asked to pull a lever whenever they felt dizzy, and electrodes kept tabs on their eye movement—a key player in spotting. Additional brain scans proved that when nondancers became dizzy, they had stronger white matter in their cerebral cortex than the dancers, proving that spotting actually reshapes dancers’ brains and their sensory perceptions. Also, Seemungal found that the area of the cerebellum that processes sensory input from the inner ear was significantly smaller in dancers than nondancers. That’s solid proof that dance has the power to change your brain!
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.
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.
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:
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.