Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Leg-Length in Relation to Selected Ballet Performance Indicators

C.C. Karpodini, M.A. Wyon, N. Comoutos, Y. Koutedakis
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 32 Number 3: Page 165 (September 2017)

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Abstract: It is unclear whether the modern ballet body stereotype of long limbs is advantageous in dance performance. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between leg-length and selected dance movements representative of power, dexterity, and range of motion in ballet dancers at different competence levels. METHODS: The total of 10 recreational, 24 vocational, and 10 professional ballerinas volunteered. They were subjected to: a) lower limb-length measurements, b) power tests (vertical jump-sautés and unilateral countermovement jump-temps levé), c) dexterity tests (tendus and double battement frappes), and d) flexibility tests (lateral active and passive-développé à la seconde). RESULTS: For power, regression analyses revealed negative leg-length relationships in recreational dancers (p<0.05) and positive leg-length relationships in vocational dancers (p<0.05). We also found negative relationships between leg-length and dexterity in the vocational group (p=0.01). No significant predictions of leg-length on power, dexterity, and range of motion were found in professional dancers. Multiple comparisons revealed significant differences between groups only for dexterity (p<0.01) and range of motion (p<0.01). CONCLUSION: Based on selected movements representative of power, dexterity, and range of motion, the present exploratory data indicate that lower limb length is not a determinative criterion for ballet success. Further studies should investigate whether body stereotypes, such as long limbs, are linked to dance injuries.
https://doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2017.3027

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