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Dancing Through Physics



blog-0013553001367521014.jpgHave you ever wondered how and why dancing is so unique and special? Well believe it or not, a lot of it has to do with some basic physics concepts like velocity, force, and momentum. Some basic defenitions for your knowledge...

Velocity; the rate in which an object is going in a certain direction.

Force; lack of better terms a push or pull.

Momentum; the mass of an object times its velocity.

There are many forces that act on a dancer. For example, examine this picture.


In this picture of a girl dancing gravity is pulling her down keeping her from falling as well as the support from the floor pushing upwards on her and finally the friction from the surface of the floor acting in a sideways motion. Newtons third law says that for every force there must be an equal and oppositie force. In this case, this dancer is able to keep balance because of the equal and opposite forces acting upon her.

Lastly, have you ever wondered how ballerinas and broadway professional dancers can spin so many times in one prep? And how in the world can they spin so fast?! Well physics also has the answer to that. A couple of things come into play here. Angular velocity is how fast an object spins and angular momentum is rotational interia times angular velocity. Therefore, if an object(in this case the dancer) has a larger angular momentum, then it is harder for the spinning motion to stop and or slow down. Therefore the momentum equation ties this all together: p=mv. Momentum = mass x velocity. So to figure out the momentum behind those amazing broadway performers say in the show Newsies can dance and spin you can use this equation to figure it out; I'm sure Corey Cott the lead in the Newsies wouldn't mind if you asked him his mass :). Just kidding don't do that!

Physics is EVERYWHERE!

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