Purpose: The main objectives of the study were to analyse the predominant motor imagery modality used by professional Spanish dancers and to compare Spanish dancers' ability to perform mental motor imagery with that of non-dancers, and to analyse differences between male and female dancers. As a secondary aim, to compare the motor imagery ability between two styles of Spanish dance: classical Spanish dancers and Flamenco dancers. Methods: A total of 74 participants were classified into two groups: professional Spanish dancers (n = 37) and sedentary participants (n = 37). The professional Spanish dancer group was composed of two dance disciplines: flamenco dancers (n = 17), and classical dancers (n = 20). Results: Professional Spanish dancers used predominantly visual imagery modalities over kinesthetics to generate motor imagery, with a moderate effect size (p < .01, d = 0.68). Regarding the ability to generate motor imagery, significant intergroup differences between professional Spanish dancers and sedentary participants were observed in all variables, with a large effect size (p < .05, d > 0.80). Differences were obtained between men and women among non-dancers group (t = -3.34; p = .03; d = 0.5). No differences between Flamenco and classical dancers were observed. Conclusion: Visual motor imagery modality was easier than the kinaesthetic modality in the generation of motor imagery for professional Spanish dancers regardless of the dance style. Spanish dancers had a greater ability to perform motor imagery compared with non-dancer individuals, needing less time to perform these mental tasks. Men non-dancers had a greater ability to generate motor imagery than women. Reinforcing the training of kinaesthetic motor imagery might be useful for professional Spanish dancers.
Keywords: Motor imagery; Spanish dancers; mental chronometry.