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Kinematics of the Lumbar Spine During Classic Ballet Postures

Veronique Feipel, Sandra Dalenne, Pierre-Michel Dugailly, Patrick Salvia, Marcel Rooze
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 19 Number 4: Page 174 (December 2004)

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Abstract: Postural characteristics and three-dimensional (3D) kinematics of the lumbar spine were examined during classic ballet gestures in 25 expert dancers (17 females, 8 males; mean age, 21 ± 4 yrs). The 3D displacements of the thorax to the pelvis were sampled with a 3D-electrogoniometer during right and left arabesque, développé à la seconde, and pied-en-main, and a photographic technique was used to calculate lower-limb elevation, shoulder inclination, and tragus or C7 displacement. The incidence of low-back (43%) and hip pain (40%) was large. Arabesque was characterized by lumbar extension (20-25°), ipsilateral bending (~20°), and contralateral rotation (~10°), and a 90° angle between the thighs. During pied-enmain and développé à la seconde, lumbar flexion (~30°), ipsilateral bending (10-15°), and contralateral rotation (~20°) occurred. The angle between the thighs was 150° and 120°, respectively. There was poor correlation between medical history, anthropometrical characteristics, and postural and kinematics variables, except for shoulder inclination, which differed significantly between dancers with hip or low-back problems and those without complaints. We conclude that no relationship exists between hip flexibility and the lumbar spine contribution to various ballet tasks, suggesting that lower-limb elevation during arabesque and développé à la seconde depends more on hip flexibility than on a lumbar contribution.

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