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Intra- and Inter-individual Movement Variability of Upper Limb Movements of Ballet Dancers

Yui Kawano, Mayumi Kuno-Mizumura
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 34 Number 3: Page 132 (September 2019)

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This study examined intra- and inter-individual variability in upper limb movements of ballet dancers when performing flapping swan-wing movements, and it assessed differences in joint angles of upper limbs between dancers of different skill levels. METHODS: 23 female ballet dancers (3 professional, 6 advanced, and 14 intermediate dancers) and 21 age-matched females without previous dance experience participated in this study. Thirty-three reflective markers were attached to each participant's trunk and upper limbs, and the flapping upper limb motions from Swan Lake were subsequently captured with eight optical cameras. Peak values of upper limb joint angles (shoulder, elbow, and wrist joint) were obtained, and intra- and inter-individual movement variability of each joint angle were compared between groups. RESULTS: In joint angles of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, there were few differences among professional, advanced, and intermediate groups. The intra-individual movement variability in upward arm movements was significantly larger for professional and control groups than for advanced and intermediate groups, while in downward arm movement, variability became significantly smaller as technical level increased. Moreover, inter-individual movement variability was larger in the upward arm movement as technical level increased, and smaller in the downward arm movement for the professional group. The results suggested that the upward arm movements reflect dancers' individual expression, while the downward arm movements reflect their technical competence at this swan-like movement. CONCLUSION: The complicated swan-like movements performed by skilled dancers in this study indicate that they execute expressive and technical components in sequence.

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