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Dance Floors as Injury Risk: Analysis and Evaluation of Acute Injuries Caused by Dance Floors in Professional Dance with Regard to Preventative Aspects

Eileen M. Wanke, Helmgard Mill, Alice Wanke, Jaqueline Davenport, Franziska Koch, David A. Groneberg
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 27 Number 3: Page 137 (September 2012)

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Abstract: A dance floor is often the only support of movements in dance. A dance floor surface that shows deficiencies, can result in acute injuries and chronic problems. Although the significance of an adequate dance floor is well known, there is still a lack of differentiated analyses of dance floor-related acute injuries. OBJECTIVE: This study presents data on acute injuries exclusively caused by the dance floor. METHODS: The data were obtained from standardized work accident reports from consultants (F 1000), documentary accident records from all Berlin theatres, a state ballet school (n=2,281), and case records from the Berlin State Accident Insurance (UKB) covering a period of 17 years. All analyses and descriptive statistics were conducted with Excel 2007 and SPSS 18. RESULTS: Dance floor surfaces were the causative factor in 12.8% of all accidents (n=291, female 183, male 108). Almost two thirds (62.6%) of all accidents in professional dancers happened on stage, and almost half (49.5%) occurred during performances. As for causative factors, 53.1% of the professional dancers (P) and 42.5% of the dance students (S) claimed that the floor had been "too slippery," with "getting stuck" or "tripping" as the second most common problem (P 18.4%, S 11.3%). Of the injured dancers, 41.8% were older than 30 years and can therefore be categorized as experienced. CONCLUSION: Dance floors play a significant role in the occurrence of acute injuries, even in experienced dancers. Performances on stage seem to be a particular risk. However, injury prevention measures should include all work locations (P) as well as non-dance-specific locations (S).

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