Rigid Body Dynamics of Swing Dancing


Did you ever wonder how does the human body move on the dance floor with grace and elegance instead of crashing down with clunky sounds like a robot in the video your friend sent you at 3am? A dance teacher may tell you about posture, rhythm and connection but these are not the topics you were looking for.

This lecture covers balance, control, and redundant dynamical systems by dissecting the properties of classical dynamical models such as inverted pendulum and spring-mass-damper systems. It delivers some key equations of dynamical models but also hands on experience of these concepts through dancing. Kinematics and dynamics will no longer be just terms you’ll never get to use outside of the class room.

The lecture slides are available here:

This lecture was delivered as part of the Festival of Creative Learning at the University of Edinburgh (February 2019).


Photo by Susann Schmidt, Hector and Sonja