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J Dance Med Sci. 2012 Mar;16(1):36-8.

Effects of kinesthetic versus visual imagery practice on two technical dance movements: a pilot study.

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Department of Biobehavioral Sciences, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York 10017, USA.


Motor imagery is a type of mental practice that involves imagining the body performing a movement in the absence of motor output. Dance training traditionally incorporates mental practice techniques, but quantitative effects of motor imagery on the performance of dance movements are largely unknown. This pilot study compared the effects of two different imagery modalities, external visual imagery and kinesthetic imagery, on pelvis and hip kinematics during two technical dance movements, plié and sauté. Each of three female dance students (mean age = 19.7 years, mean years of training = 10.7) was assigned to use a type of imagery practice: visual imagery, kinesthetic imagery, or no imagery. Effects of motor imagery on peak external hip rotation varied by both modality and task. Kinesthetic imagery increased peak external hip rotation for pliés, while visual imagery increased peak external hip rotation for sautés. Findings suggest that the success of motor imagery in improving performance may be task-specific. Dancers may benefit from matching imagery modality to technical tasks in order to improve alignment and thereby avoid chronic injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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