The goal of this study was to examine the influence of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic delivery modes of Franklin Method images (anatomical bone rhythms, metaphorical image, and tactile aid, respectively) on the performance of college dancers’ plié arabesques by assessing its influence on three measures: plié depth; maintenance of rotation; and simultaneous use of hip, knee, and ankle (Tri-fold). Eighteen participants performed a series of plié arabesques during three visits over a period of two months; at each visit, pliés were performed before and after an image intervention, and the change in mean Likert scale rating was calculated for each measure. In 130 out of 162 ratings, plié arabesque scores were higher following the image interventions. Based on t-test comparisons, the visual mode produced significant positive improvement for all three measures (p ≤ 0.001 for each), while the kinesthetic mode produced increased ratings for the Rotation (p=0.012) and Tri-fold (p=0.019) measures. The auditory mode was associated with increased ratings in the Tri-fold measure only (p < 0.001). One-way ANOVA suggests no one image modality performed significantly better or worse than the others for the Rotation or Tri-fold; however, the Visual mode did have a noticeably stronger positive effect for Plié (p = 0.003). We also explored possible relationships between years of experience dancing and preferred learning styles (as measured by the VARK, VAK, and MIQ-R assessment tools) to performance outcomes, and observed highly varied relationships but no definitive pattern of correlations. Dancers’ anecdotal comments about their perceived success with the imagery were qualitatively compared to their performance outcomes. This exploratory study suggests that Franklin Method imagery employing various delivery modalities can be successfully used to improve aspects of the Plié Arabesque, although some modalities may have a stronger effect. We offer recommendations for both the pedagogical application of Franklin Method based on aspects of technique as well as design of future studies to further explore learning styles and other personal aspects of imagery abilities.
©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston