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Effects of Instructional Focus on Learning a Classical Ballet Movement, the Pirouette

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This study investigated how changes in the focus of instruction might affect the learning by individuals who are not trained dancers of a complex classical ballet movement, the pirouette. Seventy-two volunteer college students were divided into six groups according to the focus of instruction: 1. head, 2. arms, 3. trunk, 4. knees, 5. feet, and 6. controls. In the acquisition phase, all groups performed 160 trials, over 2 consecutive days. At the beginning of each day, they received verbal instruction regarding some of the general principles involved in performance of the pirouette and viewed a video that illustrated those principles. Each group (head, arms, etc., exclusive of controls) was then given specific directions for controlling focus on its body part while performing the movement. After a week, all participants were asked to complete a retention test, with no additional instruction. The trials were videotaped with two cameras (frontally and laterally), and the results were analyzed by 10 specially trained examiners, utilizing Movement Pattern and Error of Performance measures. They revealed that all groups improved in the acquisition phase, and the improvement was maintained in the retention test. No differences were revealed between groups. It was concluded that generalized instruction in basic principles of the movement was more effective than focus on specific body parts in the teaching and learning of the pirouette.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, Av. Mello Moraes, 65, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. CEP 05508-030. 2: School of Physical Education and Sport, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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