Ballet dancing is can be classified as both an art and a science as those familiar with it can testify. Although there are many in the general population who are familiar with ballet as an art, few know the physics of it. The art of ballet is based on the principles of physics. Anyone who is successful in ballet has learnt, albeit indirectly, to master some basic principles of physics. Balancing on ones toes or turning one’s body in the manner required is as a result of obeying certain basic principles of physics.
Perfect jete, fouettes and tournants are carried out only by applying these principles of physics. A dancer who is spun around in a â€˜pencil’ turn by her dance partner is a great example of this. This turn is made possible by applying torque; an external force that is off balance applied by pushing which causes the dancer to go into a spin. In order to maintain the angular momentum while spinning, the dancer can then either extend or retract his or her leg. Rotational inertia is increased when the leg is extended which in turn causes angular velocity to be reduced causing a slower spin. Doing the opposite and retracting the leg will then reduce rotational inertia and raise angular velocity, which makes the dancer spin faster.
A ballet dancer must engage his or her center of gravity in order to balance gracefully. The center of gravity is the point of balance where force and torque must both be zero, where force is a push, which would cause the dancer to fall over and torque is an off center force or push which would cause the dancer to spin. An equal countering force is created by the push of floor support against the pull of gravity causing this perfect balance. In order for the dancer to balance perfectly, the two forces will meet at his or her center of gravity. The place where the body of the dancer has made contact with the floor should be lined up directly with the dancer’s center of gravity giving the necessary stability.
Leaping like a gazelle, known as a grand jete, is made possible by the dancer jumping in a parabola. This must be done in such a way that the dancer’s movements seem fluid and beautiful. A dancer who wants to succeed must practice the movements as well as exercises taught before they can be able to perform them flawlessly.