Visualisation of Dance Performance using 3-Dimensional Motion Tracking and Muscle Modelling Techniques

Barbara May, James Shippen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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    Motion analysis and muscle modelling provides a 3D visualisation tool to demonstrate best practice dance techniques to enhance performance and reduce injury risk. Mental rehearsal of dance movements primes the musculoskeletal system and the use of imagery can assist in the recall of ideal movements prior to their actual performance. Dancers practice or perform most days of the week and the literature has reported that heavy training, repetitive practice and any muscle imbalance adaptations may ultimately lead to injuries which affect approximately 70% of all dancers and can bring careers to an untimely and painful end. Performance anxiety can tighten muscles and joints causing a decrease in focus and detract from optimal performance. It may also ultimately cause injury to the dancer. 3-dimensional kinematic and ground reaction force data provides an objective tool to visualise dance movements. The data provides a comprehensive analysis of positions of segments of the body, joint angles, joint angular and linear velocities and accelerations and the position of centre of mass which is not possible with descriptive kinematics. Software has been developed in-house to calculate the muscle loadings and muscle timings in individual muscles within the dancer’s whole body throughout the duration of any dance movement and has been configured specifically for use by dance teachers and students. The model consists of 666 muscle units, 36 anatomical segments and 35 joints and is animated using dancers’ 3-D movement data. The output is presented as colour-coded graphics for visualisation of individual muscle activity and loading patterns.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationVisual and Performing Arts
    EditorsSteven Arbury, Aikaterini Georgoulia
    Place of PublicationGreece
    PublisherATINER (Athens Institute for Education and Research)
    ISBN (Print)978-960-9549-65-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Bibliographical note

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    • Dance
    • visualisation
    • 3-dimensional motion analysis
    • muscle modelling


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