Functional Movement Analysis in Dance

  • Andrea Schärli
Reference work entry


Functional movement analysis is often adopted to better understand – and hence optimize – complex movement skills of athletes. This chapter aims to uncover the hitherto untouched potential of functional movement analyses for dancers. Both sports and dance involve complex movement skills acquired and refined over years of practice and training. The difference between dance and sports lies in the ultimate goal of this skill development: the dancer aims to “maximize” his or her aesthetic effect, whereas the athlete regularly aims to maximize some objective performance criterion. Functional movement analysis was originally applied to sports, like gymnastics and athletics, and focused mainly on the mechanical principles underlying top-level sports movements. The deepened mechanical understanding has helped athletes improve many a gymnastic and athletic skill. The scope of functional movement analysis has broadened in recent years to also include the athlete performing a movement and the context in which this takes place. Accordingly, the analysis no longer exclusively focuses on the mechanics of a movement but further considers anatomical, physiological, and psychological factors. The present chapter aims to show that dance can benefit greatly from functional movement analysis, both in its original narrow conception and particularly in its current broader one. This claim rests on the central argument that maximizing aesthetic effects and maximizing motor performance are often very closely related in dance, so that many fruits of functional movement analysis currently only reaped by athletes are there for the taking for dancers as well.


Dance teaching Functional movement analysis Dance performance Choreography Aesthetics Biomechanics Ballet Breakdance Sub-actions Modalities Functional assignment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Sport ScienceUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sebastian I. Wolf
    • 1
  1. 1.Movement Analysis LaboratoryClinic for Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery; Center for Orthopedics, Trauma Surgery and Spinal Cord Injury;Heidelberg University HospitalHeidelbergGermany

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