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
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Dr. Ikeda

Dr. Ikeda, FCOVD, DPNAP, is a leading optometrist in the field of neuro optometric rehabilitation and developmental optometry. He has made profound contributions to the field over the years and uses these expertise to provide the highest quality of eye care to his patients. He was Past-President of the Optometric Extension Program Foundation (OEPF) and of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA). He received the “Founding Fathers Medal” for his continued service to NORA and he was recognized as “Physician of the Year” by the Rehabilitation Nurses Society. He is a clinical associate professor of the Western University of Health Sciences College of Optometry and was inducted as a Distinguished Practitioner into the National Academies of Practice (Optometry Academy).

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