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Development and Assessment of an Incremental Fatigue Protocol for Contemporary Dance

Rosanne Coutts, Wendy Gilleard, Michael Hennessy, Aaron Silk, Gary Williams, Robert P. Weatherby
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 21 Number 2: Page 65 (June 2006)

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Abstract: Nine trained contemporary dancers performed a modality-specific, heart-rate-monitored, choreographed fatiguing dance protocol with an assumption of fatigue at volitional exhaustion (RPE 16). Postural stability was assessed as the variability of ground reaction forces and the centre of pressure during the performance of a flat-foot arabesque. Psychological response was assessed using self-reported fatigue, psychological distress (PD), and psychological well-being (PWB) (Subjective Exercise Experience Scale). After reaching RPE 16 in 15.7 ± 2.6 mins, heart rate decreased to the post-warm-up level within 64 ± 9 sec. Variability of ground reaction forces or the centre of pressure was not changed. There were no significant changes in fatigue, psychological distress, or psychological well-being. Within fatigue, there was a significant increase in the item tired (p = 0.04). As supported by the heart rate data and RPE, the protocol achieved an appropriate level of physical demand. No changes in the stability indices were observed, possibly
attributed to the rapid recovery in heart rate. The expression of only tiredness suggests the use of a disassociative attentional style by the dancers. The project represents pilot work toward the validation of a monitoring process that supports dancer health and awareness training.

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