An overview of important vision skills for Dance

Dance

 

Just as many people don’t think “sport” when dance comes up, most people don’t realize just how important vision is for a dancer, especially those who dance at competitive levels. Dance is a sport in which precision, balance, and awareness of what’s around you are extremely important, and each of these is tied to vision skills.

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Core Visual Skills For Dance

While there are a number of vision skills that are important for dancers, some are more crucial to performance than others.

Core vision skills for dancers include:

  • Visualization: Believe it or not, visualizing yourself performing a particular feat does help you physically accomplish it. In dance, better visualization gives a performer increased ability to carry out more difficult and daring moves.
  • Hand-eye-foot coordination: Dance is a sport in which precise control over every body movement is essential, and this must all be done while in motion. Improving hand-eye-foot coordination is essential in order to see improvement in dance overall.
  • Vision-balance integration: It should be obvious that balance is a key component of dance. What might be less obvious is that vision is a key component of our ability to balance. Improving this skill will have a major impact on a dancer’s ability to maintain balance while going through all the complex motions.

Secondary Visual Skills For Dance

Secondary visual skills for dancers aren’t necessarily any less important than core visual skills, though they are not quite as central to what is needed for a dancer to be successful.

Secondary visual skills for dancers include:

  • Visual attention: Visual attention is the ability to remain focused on a visual task despite outside distractions. Especially for a sport like dance, being able to completely “tune out” other things that might be on one’s field of view, such as the judges or audience, is a vital skill for dancers performing at high levels.
  • Dynamic visual acuity: This is the skill that enables someone to maintain clear vision while in motion. With dance, the performer is often carrying out complex motions at speed, so being able to clearly focus on one’s surroundings is a useful skill to ensure that no missteps are made.
  • Anticipation timing: This is a skill which enables one to better time key motions. In dance, this especially helps when the dancer goes airborne, and needs to properly time the landing.
Secondary Visual Skills For Dance
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Dr. Zurcher

Originally from Arizona, Levi received his Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology from Northern Arizona University and his Doctorate in Optometry from Pacific University in Oregon. He is board certified in developmental vision and vision therapy by COVD. He purchased the practice from the Inversos in 2012. He likes spending time with his family (wife and two children,) mountain biking, and undertaking creative projects. He wrote the vision therapy software used by the clinic, retinal camera software, and the computerized eye-chart used for exams.

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