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Two experiments investigated the role of motor performance, and the role of music in the retention and recall of ballet sequences by young expert dancers. Experiment 1 examined 11-year-old expert (N=8) and novice (N=8) dancers, to determine the influence of motor performance in the recall of ballet steps. Subjects were presented with two conditions, either structured choreographed or unstructured sequences. All sequences consisted of eight steps or elements. Subjects recalled both types of sequences motorically by simply performing the steps. Verbal recall was also assessed for structured sequences. Results from analyses of variance indicated main effects of skill, recall condition, and serial position across elements. Experts recalled more than novices, structured sequences were recalled better than nonstructured, and the last sequence element was recalled less. An interaction of Skill X Recall Condition x Serial Position revealed that although experts and novices performed the same on unstructured trials, their performances differed for motor versus verbal structured trials, particularly on the last elements. Experiment 2 examined only expert dancers (i¥=8) on structured sequences and determined whether the presence of music at time of recall aided retention. Correlated t tests revealed that with music, recall was maintained across all eight elements; without music, recall of the last element suffered.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Janet Starkes, School of Physical Education & Athletics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1 Canada.