This study determined how dancers regulated angular and linear impulse during the initiation of pirouettes of increased rotation. Skilled dancers (n = 11) performed single and double pirouette turns with each foot supported by a force plate. Linear and angular impulses generated by each leg were quantified and compared between turn types using probability-based statistical methods. As rotational demands increased, dancers increased the net angular impulse generated. The contribution of each leg to net angular impulse in both single and double pirouettes was influenced by stance configuration strategies. Dancers who generated more angular impulse with the push leg than with the turn leg initiated the turn with the center of mass positioned closer to the turn leg than did other dancers. As rotational demands increased, dancers tended to increase the horizontal reaction force magnitude at one or both feet; however, they used subject-specific mechanisms. By coordinating the generation of reaction forces between legs, changes in net horizontal impulse remained minimal, despite impulse regulation at each leg used to achieve more rotations. Knowledge gained regarding how an individual coordinates the generation of linear and angular impulse between both legs as rotational demand increased can help design tools to improve that individual’s performance.
Zaferiou and McNitt-Gray are with the Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Wilcox is with the Department of Psychology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. McNitt-Gray is also with the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.