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Do Increases in Selected Fitness Parameters Affect the Aesthetic Aspects of Classical Ballet Performance?

Emily A. Twitchett, Manuela Angioi, Yiannis Koutedakis, Matthew Wyon
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 26 Number 1: Page 35 (March 2011)

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Abstract: Research has indicated that classical ballet dancers tend to have lower fitness levels and increased injury rates compared to other athletes with similar workloads. The aim of the current study was to examine the effects of a specifically tailored fitness training programme on the incidence of injury and the aesthetic quality of performance of classical ballet dancers compared to a control group. Proficiency in performance was evaluated at the beginning and end of the intervention period for both groups through a 4-min dance sequence using previously ratified marking criteria. The intervention group (n = 8) partook in a weekly 1-hr training session that included aerobic interval training, circuit training, and whole body vibration (WBV) All dancers' performance proficiency scores increased from pre-intervention testing to post-intervention. The intervention group's overall performance scores demonstrated a significantly greater increase (p = 0.03) than the equivalent for the control group. It was concluded that supplementary fitness training has a positive effect on aspects related to aesthetic dance performance as studied herein; further research is recommended on a larger and more varied sample. Practical applications from this study suggest that supplemental training should be part of a ballet dancer's regime, and minimal intervention time is required to have observable effects.

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