Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Theatre and Dance

First Advisor

Jennifer Deckert

Second Advisor

Margaret Wilson

Abstract

Lateral bias (also referred to as lateral preference) is defined as an “innate bias for one side or the other” (Kimmerle, 2010). “Side” of the body is a reference to whether a movement is right dominant or left dominant in its execution. Although all human beings develop a functional lateral bias that is reinforced by the habits in their daily lives, it has been suggested that dance training increases asymmetry because of its over-emphasis on the right side of the body (Mertz et al., 2011). Despite this hypothesis that dance training could be a proponent of lateral bias toward right dominant movement, dancers are encouraged to be symmetrically proficient in their ability to perform movements that are both right dominant and left dominant to avoid choreographic limitation and injury.

While it is difficult to determine if asymmetries are pre-existing in a dancer, there is strong evidence that dancers have a highly-developed proprioceptive sense that allows them to accurately identify relatively minute differences in their own laterality (Jola et al., 2011). The objective of this research was to determine if university dance students’ perception of their lateral bias correlates with their actual lateral bias. This information will help dance researchers to understand the effect of lateral bias on dance training and performance, as well as assist dance teachers in making informed choices about how to develop well-rounded dancers.

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