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Comparison of Physiological and Biomechanical Characteristics between Full Time, University Students and Professional Ballet Dancers

To achieve excellence in dance performance, avoid injury re-occurrence, and increase performer’s longevity, dancers must possess great artistry and exceptional physiological characteristics. This cross-sectional study will compare specific physiological, biomechanical, and performance characteristics of thirty-six ballet dancers (N=36) with different levels of dancing experience and backgrounds. The dancers will be divided into three groups: full time dance students (n=12), university dance students (n=12) and classical ballet professionals (n=12). Each dancer will be assessed with the following tests: 1) Body composition and bone mineral density will be quantified with the use of dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). 2) Bone strength of the lower limb will be examined with quantitative peripheral computed tomography pQCT scans. 3) Jumping performance will be assessed with the use of a countermovement jump test performed on a force plate to determine peak force, peak velocity, and peak power and jump height. 4) Reactive strength will be assessed with the performance of a drop jump test performed onto a force plate in order to determine peak force, peak velocity, peak power and jump height. 5) Isometric lower limb strength, will be assessed by executing an isometric squat on top of a force plate, to quantify peak force and the peak rate of force development. 6) Anaerobic capacity will be evaluated with the use of a one-minute Bosco test performed on a force plate. 7) Aerobic capacity will be investigated by applying a dance specific test to establish maximal oxygen consumption. 8) Three dimensional biomechanical motion analysis of a saut de chat leap will be performed with the use of a Vicon motion analysis system to quantify hip and knee joint kinematics. 9) In addition to the quantitative measurements, a qualitative dance performance competence evaluation will be conducted to assess the skill level of each group.

The outcomes of this study will help to establish: 1) A better understanding of the physiological and biomechanical characteristics that influence dance performance. 2) Determine if specific physiological and biomechanical characteristics significantly differ between the groups of dancers with varying levels of training experience.

Project duration

2012-2015


Researchers

Mrs Penelope Blanco Ochoa
Associate Professor Greg Haff
Dr Sophia Nimphius

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