Effect of Skilled Dancers' Focus of Attention on Pirouette Performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The extant attentional focus research largely examined movement tasks that are outcome-focused (e.g. height of jump, force production, number of successful tosses), with fewer investigations focusing the movement quality or form of an aesthetic task (e.g. dance, gymnastics, ice-skating). In this study, both movement form and outcome-based measures were used to assess the performance of a pirouette. Thirteen skilled dancers performed pirouettes on a force plate under 3 trial conditions – control (no focus instructions), external focus, and internal focus. The assessment of dancers’ performance was quantified by (1) the variability of postural sway (VPS), (2) the duration of balance sustained (DOB), and (3) the quality of movement form (QMF) that was rated by qualified dance teachers. To achieve a more holistic understanding of this study, dancers’ perspectives have been included in the study to corroborate with the quantitative findings. Statistical analysis showed that the effect of attentional focus was not present (VPS: F(2, 24)=.494, p=.616; DOB: X2(2)=1.077, P=.584; QMF: F(2,24)=2.71, P=.087), and that performance under an external or an internal focus did not differ in any of the measured dependent variables. The results were interpreted in the context of participants’ perspectives that reflected a perceived success with either the prescribed external or internal focus over the control conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalJournal for Dance Medicine and Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • attentional focus
  • external focus
  • internal focus
  • dance
  • dance training


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of Skilled Dancers' Focus of Attention on Pirouette Performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this