• Association between selected physical fitness parameters and aesthetic competence in contemporary dancers.

      Angioi, Manuela; Metsios, Giorgos S.; Twitchett, Emily; Koutedakis, Yiannis; Wyon, Matthew A. (J. Michael Ryan, 2009)
      The physical demands imposed on contemporary dancers by choreographers and performance schedules make their physical fitness just as important to them as skill development. Nevertheless, it remains to be confirmed which physical fitness components are associated with aesthetic competence. The aim of this study was to: 1. replicate and test a novel aesthetic competence tool for reliability, and 2. investigate the association between selected physical fitness components and aesthetic competence by using this new tool. Seventeen volunteers underwent a series of physical fitness tests (body composition, flexibility, muscular power and endurance, and aerobic capacity) and aesthetic competence assessments (seven individual criteria commonly used by selected dance companies). Inter-rater reliability of the aesthetic competence tool was very high (r = 0.96). There were significant correlations between the aesthetic competence score and jump ability and push-ups (r = 0.55 and r = 0.55, respectively). Stepwise backward multiple regression analysis revealed that the best predictor of aesthetic competence was push-ups (R(2) = 0.30, p = 0.03). Univariate analyses also revealed that the interaction of push-ups and jump ability improved the prediction power of aesthetic competence (R(2) = 0.44, p = 0.004). It is concluded that upper body muscular endurance and jump ability best predict aesthetic competence of the present sample of contemporary dancers. Further research is required to investigate the contribution of other components of aesthetic competence, including upper body strength, lower body muscular endurance, general coordination, and static and dynamic balance.
    • Clinical anatomy and biomechanics of the ankle in dance.

      Russell, Jeffrey A.; McEwan, Islay M.; Koutedakis, Yiannis; Wyon, Matthew A.; University of Wolverhampton School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, Walsall, United Kingdom. jrussell@kardia.org (J. Michael Ryan, 2008)
      The ankle is an important joint to understand in the context of dance because it is the connection between the leg and the foot that establishes lower extremity stability. Its function coordinates with the leg and foot and, thus, it is crucial to the dancer's ability to perform. Furthermore, the ankle is one of the most commonly injured body regions in dance. An understanding of ankle anatomy and biomechanics is not only important for healthcare providers working with dancers, but for dance scientists, dance instructors, and dancers themselves. The bony architecture, the soft tissue restraints, and the locomotive structures all integrate to allow the athletic artistry of dance. Yet, there is still much research to be carried out in order to more completely understand the ankle of the dancer.
    • Dance biomechanics: a tool for controlling health, fitness, and training.

      Koutedakis, Yiannis; Owolabi, Emmanuel O.; Apostolos, Margo (J. Michael Ryan, 2008)
      The need for superior performance in dance has impelled teachers and choreographers to use increasingly effective and sophisticated methods of preparation. To that end, such modalities ofbiomechanics as advanced motion-capture, muscle-function and muscle-strength techniques are being used to provide useful information about which of the dancers' needs require special attention. This often involves improving aspects of dance technique, which, in turn, may help dancers to prevent disabling injuries, the most frequent cause of notoriously short dance careers. Biomechanics may also help dancers to assess fitness levels, to control overtraining or "burnout," and assist them and their teachers in the effective scheduling of practice and exercise sessions.
    • Does physical fitness affect injury occurrence and time loss due to injury in elite vocational ballet students?

      Twitchett, Emily; Brodrick, Anna; Nevill, Alan M.; Koutedakis, Yiannis; Angioi, Manuela; Wyon, Matthew A. (J. Michael Ryan, 2010)
      Most ballet dancers will suffer at least one injury a year. There are numerous causes of injury in dance, and while many investigators have documented risk factors such as anatomical characteristics, past medical history, menstrual history, dance experience, length of dance training, fatigue, and stress, risk factors related to body characteristics and nutrient intake, levels of conditioning, or physical fitness parameters have only recently received the same amount of attention. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to investigate correlations between ballet injury and body fat percentage, active and passive flexibility, lower limb power, upper body and core endurance, and aerobic capacity. Low levels of aerobic fitness were significantly associated with many of the injuries sustained over a 15-week period (r=.590, p=0.034), and body fat percentage was significantly associated with the length of time a dancer was forced to modify activity due to injury (r=-.614, p=0.026). This information may be of benefit to dancers, teachers, physical therapists and physicians in dance schools and companies when formulating strategies to prevent injury.
    • Isokinetic characteristics of knee flexors and extensors in male dancers, olympic oarsmen, olympic bobsleighers, and non-athletes

      Koutedakis, Yiannis; Agrawal, Arvind; Sharp, N. C. Craig (J. Michael Ryan, 1998)
      Quadriceps (PTQUAD) and hamstring (PTHAM) concentric peak torques — measured in Nm and Nm·kg-1 body weight — and hamstring/quadriceps peak torque ratios (PTHAM/QUAD) were studied in males engaged in different physical activities and having different levels of physical fitness. Both dominant and non-dominant legs of 20 professional dancers, 14 Olympic oarsmen, 11 Olympic bobsleighers, and 10 non-athletes were isokinetically assessed at 1.04, 3.14, and 4.19 rad·sec-1. The main findings were: 1. torque levels decreased with increasing angular velocity in all four groups of subjects; 2. with few exceptions, dancers and non-athletes demonstrated significantly lower PTQUAD and PTHAM (p < 0.01 to p < 0.005) at the three velocities than bobsleighers and rowers; 3. most of the differences between groups described above, disappeared (p > 0.05) when PTQUAD and PTHAM were standardized for body weight (Nm·kg-1); and 4. although PTHAM/QUAD for dancers and non-athletes were significantly lower than that of the two sports groups at 1.04 and 3.14 rad·sec-1, no such differences were noted at the relatively higher velocity of 4.19 rad·sec-1. We conclude that dissimilar physical training, modes of exercise, and/or different fitness levels have the same effect on muscle contractile characteristics.
    • The demands of a working day among female professional ballet dancers

      Twitchett, Emily; Angioi, Manuela; Koutedakis, Yiannis; Wyon, Matthew A. (J. Michael Ryan, 2010)
      Professional classical ballet dancers typically face long working days, and many complain of fatigue, particularly as a possible cause of injury. However, little information exists regarding the true physiological demands on dancers. The aim of the present study was therefore to ascertain the daily workload of professional female ballet dancers in terms of work intensity and rest data. Information regarding a single “work day” was obtained from 51 female dancers in one company using a multiple accelerometer. Data were examined for the amount of time spent at work intensities measured in metabolic equivalents (METS)deemed sedentary, low, moderate, and high, and the length of each period at rest. Results indicated significant differences between dancer rankings (corps de ballet, first artist, soloist, and principal) for mean exercise intensity and the percentage of time spent at sedentary intensity (< 3 METS), moderate intensity (3-6 METS) (p < 0.005), and vigorous intensity (6-9 METS) (p < 0.05). The ratios of time spent below 1.5 METS versus time spent above 1.5 METS (“rest” vs. “work”) were also significantly different (p < 0.001) between rankings. When rest periods throughout the working day were analyzed, 90% of dancers were found to spend less than 60 consecutive minutes resting at any one time; for 33.3% of dancers this was less than 20 minutes. Results also revealed significant differences (p < 0.05) between dancer rankings for the greatest amount of rest at any one time during the day. It was concluded that female professional classical ballet dancers’ ranking in their companies should be considered in devising work-rest schedules to help them to avoid fatigue and resultant injuries.
    • Video analysis of classical ballet performance.

      Twitchett, Emily; Angioi, Manuela; Koutedakis, Yiannis; Wyon, Matthew A. (J. Michael Ryan, 2009)
      Video analysis of classical ballet to date has been largely limited to examining the artistic elements of choreography. The aim this study was to employ a method of video analysis to describe the physiological demands of classical ballet performance and to examine differences between artists, soloists, and principal dancers. Forty-eight performances [male = 24, female = 24; artists (corps de ballet) = 16, soloists = 16, principals = 16] were analyzed in four fields: work intensity, body movement, partner work, and number of transitory movements occurring per minute. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences between ranks in two intensity bands: time at rest (p < 0.05) and time performing at moderate intensity (p < 0.05), with soloists and principals resting for 75.2 +/- 15.1% and 53 +/- 24.1% of the total performance, respectively (p < 0.05). Principals also spent a significantly greater percentage of time at moderate intensity than both soloists and artists (p < 0.05). Significant differences between males and females (p < 0.05) were seen in the number of lifting and supporting movements performed. It was concluded that classical ballet is an intermittent form of exercise, utilizing both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, a finding that supports previous studies. The demands of the performances analyzed varied according to role. Therefore, it was also concluded that video analysis can help provide a basis for rank-specific supplemental training.