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The influence of classical dance training on preferred supporting leg and whole body turning bias

A rightward turning bias has been more frequently noted during adult classical dance practice than during spontaneous rotations. Training could play a role in inducing a preferred direction. We observed the preferred direction for executing four spontaneous whole-body full turns (pirouettes), with eyes open or closed, in pre-pubertal untrained girls and classical dance students. Of untrained girls, 58% showed a leftward turning bias (LTB) and 42% a rightward turning bias (RTB), independently of vision, lateral preferences, and supporting leg. Only one dancer showed a consistent LTB while the majority showed a RTB, with a tendency to use the left leg to turn towards the right. These results suggest that the role of the vestibular and visual systems is minimal for untrained girls, and suggest a training influence for dancers. The dance students' choice of a supporting leg for turning may exploit some biomechanical properties facilitating the pirouette. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)