Click of the Wrist – Dancing with the . . . Scientists?

Click of the Wrist – Dancing with the . . . Scientists?

With the finale of the popular hit show just around the corner, people are becoming increasingly interested in Dancing?and in dancing. But dance isn’t all glitzy visuals; there’s a lot of science behind all that moving and shaking, and dance is just as elemental elsewhere in the world (or universe) as it is in the ballroom. The following links might help you appreciate the beauty and art of dance all the more.

Have a Ball

Dancing pendulums? It’s hard to think of such a prosaic item as having artistic qualities, but That’s exactly what happened when a team of Harvard researchers put together a set of pendulums that, when released, created an intricate and mesmerizing dance. NPR has the video demonstration.

Strength and Balance

We all know it takes more than sparkly costumes and fancy footwork to make a good dancer. This ESPN clip describes some of the science behind dancing?including how the dancers? muscle use is akin to that required from other athletes, like basketball players and pole vaulters.

Reach for the Sky

How about dancing with the real stars?or perhaps their co-dwellers in the sky, the planets? This month, four of the brightest planets in our solar system are visible close together, grouped in what Sky and Telescope magazine calls ?fascinating and ever-changing patterns.? Click for a video of the planetary ?dance,? as well as instructions on how you can view the celestial spectacle yourself.

Shake Those Tail Feathers

Previously, scientists thought that the ability to dance?move in time with the beat?was exclusive to humans. However, a few years ago studies of parrots overturned this concept. NPR has the fascinating video?and a discussion of what this means for biology, neuroscience, and what we know about mimicry.

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