Swing dancing is a high tempo, athletic form of dancing. In performing their physically rigorous jumps, lifts, and spins, dancers often talk about using the laws of physics. However, they do not have mathematical evidence to support these claims. Our goal was to determine whether expert swing dancers physically optimize their pose for a partnered spin. In a partnered spin, two dancers connect hands and spin around a single vertical axis. A biomechanical model built in Mathematica allowed comparisons of mathematically produced optimal poses to live dancers with the use of a motion capture system. We hypothesized that expert swing dancers would achieve a higher fraction of their optimal acceleration than beginners. We were unable to determine a statistically significant difference between the posses of expert and beginner dancers. However, the optimal pose predicted by the model was intuitively reasonable. Send Email

Faculty Sponsor: Sommer Gentry, Department of Mathematics, Mathematics, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis MD
gentry@usna.edu