Evaluation of Professional Ballet Dancers Body Posture during Barre Movements

R. M. Patterson, N. Hershberger, E. Balyakina, W. Capell, A. Mirochnitchenko, S. Surve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ballet dancers have finite careers due to the demands placed upon their bodies throughout years of training, study, and performance. The average age a dancer retires is 34 due to persistent stress on their joints and injuries due to mechanical overload or overuse. Proper form is crucial to prevent injury. The aim of this study was to establish benchmarks for normal movement patterns among professional dancers. Ten professional ballerinas were studied. Reflective markers were placed on the pelvis, left and right anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS), and posterior iliac spine (PSIS) to evaluate motion during Barre movements: plié, grand battement, and développé. Pelvis flexion/extension, mediolateral rotation, and torsion were analyzed. These motions test different skills. The plié is a controlled coordinated motion using both legs. The grand battement and développé both require leg extension, one with a quick motion that creates momentum and one using controlled motion that requires strength. Each requires core and pelvis stability to perform accurately and with less injury. Dancers' motions were consistent. Maximum pelvis range of motion for the plié, grand battement, and développé were 8.0, 42, and 50 deg, respectively. This represents usable benchmarks with which other dancers may be compared, for example, those who are at different levels of training, injured, predisposed to injury, or recovering from injury. Early recognition of pathologic movement patterns could benefit professional and amateur dancers by helping to prevent injuries, and potentially improve the quality and length of their careers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031003
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2020


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