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Differentials in Turnout Among Professional Classical Ballet Dancers

Isobel Washington, Susan Mayes, Charlotte Ganderton, Tania Pizzari
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 31 Number 3: Page 160 (September 2016)

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Abstract: BACKGROUND: Screening and training of professional dancers is commonly based around beliefs that a large range of turnout is more advantageous in the ballet industry. This belief leads dancers who have limited hip external rotation to compensate by forcing turnout at the knee and ankle, which has been linked to injury. OBJECTIVE: To examine if there is a difference in degree of turnout between three levels of dancers (corps, soloist, principal) in a professional classical ballet company. An additional aim was to establish average values for the range of turnout and hip rotation present in the dancers. METHODS: Forty-five professional dancers from The Australian Ballet (25 female, 20 male) participated in the study. Active and passive hip external rotation (hip ER) was measured in supine using inclinometers, and functional turnout in ballet first position (lower limb external rotation, LLER) was measured using foot traces utilising bony landmarks. Below-hip external rotation (BHER) was also calculated. RESULTS: No relationship was found among level of dancer and passive hip ER, active hip ER, LLER, and BHER. Professional dancers had on average 50.2° of passive hip ER range, 35.2° of active hip ER, and 133.6° of functional turnout position. In addition, no correlation was found between LLER and hip ER, but significant correlations were found between LLER and BHER. CONCLUSIONS: Hip rotation range of motion is similar across all levels of professional dancers. Average values for passive and active hip ER and functional turnout were established.

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