Frequency of upper body muscular actions in ballet and contemporary dance performance

Conference item


Farmer, C. and Brouner, J. 2022. Frequency of upper body muscular actions in ballet and contemporary dance performance. International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) 32nd Annual Conference. Limerick, Ireland 28 - 31 Oct 2022 IADMS.
TitleFrequency of upper body muscular actions in ballet and contemporary dance performance
AuthorsFarmer, C. and Brouner, J.
Abstract

Purpose
The purpose of this study was to ascertain the occurrence of skills that utilise upper body muscular strength and strength endurance within ballet and contemporary performances.
Literature review
To date there has been little research into upper body muscular strength and endurance in dance. It has been proposed that ballet, predominantly, requires use of the lower body and does not significantly engage the upper body musculature. Conversely, modern dance requires partner lifts, controlled falls to the floor and inversions such as handstands. Prior research has recorded 0.14±0.29 assisted lifts per minute in ballet performance and 0.02±0.07 in contemporary, with 0.97±2.53 and 0.12±0.23 solo lifts respectively. However this does not provide detail of other upper body requirements including throws, catches and inversions, nor detailed positioning of lifts which effects training requirements and biomechanical requirements. Understanding these demands on upper body musculature during performance is therefore required. By assessing the current demands of ballet repertory and contemporary dance, training programmes can be designed to help dancers increase physical tolerance and reduce risk of injury to the upper body.
Methods
Manual performance analysis of 22 randomly selected UK and international digital dance performances was carried out by the lead researcher. Four dancers (2 = M, 2 = F) were analysed per performance totalling 46 individual ballet performances and 38 individual contemporary performances with an average duration of 60.61±45.49 mins and 57.84±28.35 mins respectively.
Analysis focused on the frequency of discrete skills relating to upper body engagment; lifts, assisted lifts, weight bearing movements involving ground contact with the hands. Each discrete skill was converted to number of occurrences per minute and compared between genre and sex for differences.
Results and discussion
Data will be added to the abstract ahead of the meeting.
Conclusion
It is hypothesised that contemporary performance will utilise more weight bearing skills such as inversions, and that frequency of these occurances will be more evenly distributed between male and female dancers than in ballet performance. The authors anticipate that the results of this study will be utilised to inform training practices in order to sufficiently prepare for the demands of performance.

Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
Research GroupDance group
LanguageEnglish
ConferenceInternational Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) 32nd Annual Conference
Proceedings TitleIADMS 32nd Annual Conference
PublisherIADMS
Publication dates
Print31 Oct 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited18 Nov 2022
Accepted11 May 2022
Completed31 Oct 2022
Output statusPublished
Book title2022 32nd Annual Conference Proceedings: abstract book
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