Melanie’s area of scholarship is the physics of dance. She studies the mechanics of balance in the pirouette, a turning technique in ballet. From different angles, Melanie videotapes dancers performing pirouettes on a wooden platform equipped with sensors that measure horizontal forces. She then analyzes the dancers’ movements to determine if balance is best achieved through subtle adjustments of a dancer’s center of mass (torso) or a dancer’s point of support (foot).
For Melanie, Bryn Mawr offers the perfect environment for individualized research and an opportunity to pursue graduate-level research in a nontraditional topic. In fact, faculty support of individualized research is one of the reasons Melanie chose to apply to Bryn Mawr’s graduate program in Physics.