Movement Patterns in Dancers: Analysis of Pelvis and Hip Movement in Elite Ballerinas




Patterson, Rita
Mirochnitchenko, Alissa
Surve, Sajid
Hershberger, Nathan
Balyakina, Elizabeth
Thomas, Andrew


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Purpose: Ballet dancers place extreme demands on their bodies throughout their careers. To reduce injury risk and prolong a ballet dancer's career, attention must be paid to correct positioning and joint biomechanics. The specific aim of the Movement Patters in Dancers study was to observe changes in posture and movement throughout the ballet performance season. Methods: The study sample consisted of five male and five female professional ballet dancers. Using motion capture technology, each dancer was filmed completing barre exercises at three different times during the performance season. Movement of the pelvis was analyzed in three planes of motion: medial/lateral, flexion/extension, and torsion about a longitudinal axis. Additionally, the hip angle, defined as the angle between the femurs, was calculated. Results: Dancers demonstrated consistency in pelvis movement in all planes throughout the performance season. The degrees of motion observed in each plane varied with the direction in which the movement was performed (side, front, and back). No significant changes were observed between visits. Hip angle varied between the left and right side in both male and female dancers, with female dancers demonstrating larger differences between legs. Conclusions: The pelvic stability demonstrated in this study was reflective of dancers' level of proficiency and training. The difference in hip angle between the left and right legs could be explained by dancers having a dominant leg. Further analyses of the collected data can contribute towards creating a model to assess dancers at different levels of training and assist dancers recovering from injury.