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Does prior training affect risk of injury in university dance programs?

Bonnie J. Weigert
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 20 Number 3: Page 115 (September 2005)

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Abstract: Dancers in all settings are known to have high injury rates. Identifying risk factors is critical in developing strategies for preventing injury. At the university level, lack of prior training overall or in a specific technique may be cited as a potential risk for injury. As part of a larger study examining injury patterns in university- level modern dancers, the association between prior training in ballet, modern dance, and jazz dance and rates of injury was examined. The subjects were dance majors and minors enrolled in a modern technique class in a university dance program. Subjects completed a questionnaire at the beginning of the school year that asked them to list their years of experience in each discipline before their university training. They then were surveyed at the end of both the first and second semester and asked if they had an injury during the prior semester, the number of days they had to miss or modify class as a result, and the degree to which pain limited their participation at the time of the survey. The overall injury rate was 67% for the first semester and 77% for the second semester. No correlations were found between the presence or duration of prior ballet, modern dance, or jazz dance training and overall injury rates, number of days of class missed or modified, or total pain score. No differences were found when subjects were stratified by technique or academic level. Prior dance training, regardless of type or duration, does not appear to decrease the risk of injury in university-level modern dancers.

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