Publications by authors named "Emma Redding"

27 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Performing arts as a health resource? An umbrella review of the health impacts of music and dance participation.

PLoS One 2021 10;16(6):e0252956. Epub 2021 Jun 10.

Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine, Hannover University for Music, Drama and Media, Hannover, Germany.

An increasing body of evidence notes the health benefits of arts engagement and participation. However, specific health effects and optimal modes and 'doses' of arts participation remain unclear, limiting evidence-based recommendations and prescriptions. The performing arts are the most popular form of arts participation, presenting substantial scope for established interest to be leveraged into positive health outcomes. Results of a three-component umbrella review (PROSPERO ID #: CRD42020191991) of relevant systematic reviews (33), epidemiologic studies (9) and descriptive studies (87) demonstrate that performing arts participation is broadly health promoting activity. Beneficial effects of performing arts participation were reported in healthy (non-clinical) children, adolescents, adults, and older adults across 17 health domains (9 supported by moderate-high quality evidence (GRADE criteria)). Positive health effects were associated with as little as 30 (acute effects) to 60 minutes (sustained weekly participation) of performing arts participation, with drumming and both expressive (ballroom, social) and exercise-based (aerobic dance, Zumba) modes of dance linked to the broadest health benefits. Links between specific health effects and performing arts modes/doses remain unclear and specific conclusions are limited by a still young and disparate evidence base. Further research is necessary, with this umbrella review providing a critical knowledge foundation.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0252956PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8191944PMC
June 2021

Fit to Perform: A Profile of Higher Education Music Students' Physical Fitness.

Front Psychol 2020 5;11:298. Epub 2020 Mar 5.

Centre for Performance Science, Royal College of Music, London, United Kingdom.

The physical demands of music making are well acknowledged, but understanding of musicians' physical and fitness profiles is nonetheless limited, especially those of advanced music students who are training to enter music's competitive professional landscape. To gain insight into how physical fitness is associated with music making, this study investigated music students' fitness levels on several standardized indicators. Four hundred and eighty three students took part in a fitness screening protocol that included measurements of lung function, flexibility (hypermobility, shoulder range of motion, sit and reach), strength and endurance (hand grip, plank, press-up), and sub-maximal cardiovascular fitness (3-min step test), as well as self-reported physical activity (IPAQ-SF). Participants scored within age-appropriate ranges on lung function, shoulder range of motion, grip strength, and cardiovascular fitness. Their results for the plank, press-up, and sit and reach were poor by comparison. Reported difficulty (22%) and pain (17%) in internal rotation of the right shoulder were also found. Differences between instrument groups and levels of study were observed on some measures. In particular, brass players showed greater lung function and grip strength compared with other groups, and postgraduate students on the whole were able to maintain the plank for longer but also demonstrated higher hypermobility and lower lung function and cardiovascular fitness than undergraduate students. Seventy-nine percent of participants exceeded the minimum recommended weekly amount of physical activity, but this was mostly based on walking activities. Singers were the most physically active group, and keyboard players, composers, and conductors were the least active. IPAQ-SF scores correlated positively with lung function, sit and reach, press-up and cardiovascular fitness suggesting that, in the absence of time and resources to carry out comprehensive physical assessments, this one measure alone can provide useful insight into musicians' fitness. The findings show moderate levels of general health-related fitness, and we discuss whether fitness is enough for people undertaking physically and mentally demanding music making. We argue that musicians could benefit from strengthening their supportive musculature and enhancing their awareness of strength imbalances.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00298DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7066496PMC
March 2020

Relationship Between Performance Competence and Cardiorespiratory Fitness in Contemporary Dance.

Med Probl Perform Art 2019 Jun;34(2):79-84

Occupational Performance Research Group, Institute of Sport, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 6PE, UK. Tel +44 (0)1243 816348.

Aims: While a foundation of basic cardiorespiratory fitness is beneficial for coping with the physiological demands of dance training and performance, the extent to which cardiorespiratory fitness levels are related to performance ability is not all-together clear. This study aimed to directly compare aerobic capacity (VO2peak) and anaerobic threshold (AT) to an aesthetic competence measure (ACM) in student contemporary dancers.

Methods: Participants were 18 contemporary dance students and all undertook a one-off treadmill test to volitional exhaustion in the week leading up to a performance to determine VO2peak and AT. In the same week, a final rehearsal for the performance was filmed to allow retrospective analysis of specific performance competence.

Results: Mean VO2peak values of 47.67 ± 5.84 ml/kg/min and AT values of 43.18 ± 7.72 ml/kg/min (90.68 ± 11.87 %VO2peak) were recorded, and the mean total ACM score was 52.67 ± 8.74. No significant correlations were found between cardiorespiratory fitness variables and ACM scores. Regression analyses revealed experience level to be the only significant predictor of total ACM score (p<0.05, R2=0.12, SEE=11.91).

Conclusions: The range of choreography used for assessment may limit the present study; nevertheless, as level of experience did significantly predict ACM total score, it is suggested that vocational dance training may be developing the performance and technical skills of students but not sufficiently developing their physical conditioning.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2019.2014DOI Listing
June 2019

Biopsychosocial Characteristics of Contemporary and Irish University-Level Student Dancers A Pilot Study.

J Dance Med Sci 2019 Jun;23(2):63-71

School of Allied Health, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, and Sports Spine Centre, Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.

In addition to the difficulties encountered by non-dancing university students, university-level dancers may encounter a range of challenges due to their status as aesthetic athletes. This pilot study compares the biopsychosocial characteristics of contemporary dance (CD) and Irish dance (ID) university students. CD (N = 30) and ID (N = 27) participants from institutions in Ireland and the United Kingdom were screened using a host of subjective and objective tools to establish baseline biopsychosocial characteristics. Participants also provided extensive information regarding their injury history over the previous year. The groups were compared using simple descriptive statistics, independent t-test or Mann Whitney U tests and chi-square tests as appropriate. CD participants danced for significantly more hours each week (p < 0.001) than the ID group, who spent significantly less time warming up (p < 0.001) and more time engaged in weekly non-dance-related physical activities (p = 0.022). CD participants performed significantly better that the ID group on the Star Excursion Balance Test (p = < 0.001), plank-hold (p = 0.004), and fitness test (p = 0.045). Substantial rates of injury were reported by both groups, with no significant difference in terms of number of injuries or days lost to injury (p > 0.05). Indications of a shared dancer mentality including ego-driven motivation, passion for dance, and lower mood were present and required vigilance on the part of teachers and coaches to mitigate possible negative physical and psychological consequences. Additionally, CD participants demonstrated higher levels of catastrophizing (p = 0.019) and reported significantly more subjective health complaints (p = 0.010) than the ID group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313X.23.2.63DOI Listing
June 2019

Dance exposure, wellbeing and injury in collegiate Irish and contemporary dancers: A prospective study.

Phys Ther Sport 2018 Nov 14;34:77-83. Epub 2018 Sep 14.

School of Allied Health, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland; Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar. Electronic address:

Objectives: Dance exposure and determinants of wellness in Irish dance (ID) and contemporary dance (CD) are under-investigated in pre-professional, collegiate cohorts. This study prospectively investigated these variables in ID and CD participants for one year.

Design: Prospective study.

Setting: University-level institutes of dance, United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland.

Participants: Fifty (ID = 21, CD = 29) full time students of dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, (UK) and the University of Limerick, Ireland.

Main Outcome Measures: Weekly hours of dance, general health, sleep quality, injury defined as "any pain or injury that impacted upon their ability to dance".

Results: Dance exposure varied considerably for both genres across the year. CD participants danced for more hours weekly (p < 0.001). Overall injury incidence (time-loss and non-time-loss) was 10.6 and 8.4 injuries per 1000 h dancing for ID and CD groups respectively. 70.4% of injuries were non-time-loss. Better sleep (p = 0.007) and general health (p < 0.001) scores were negatively correlated with days lost/impacted by injury. CD participants reported a significantly higher dance exposure in the week prior to a time-loss injury than during the previous four weeks (p = 0.044).

Conclusions: Dance exposure is erratic in these cohorts with dancers frequently performing when injured. Poor sleep, general health, and increased dance exposure may be associated with injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ptsp.2018.09.006DOI Listing
November 2018

Expertise in Evaluating Choreographic Creativity: An Online Variation of the Consensual Assessment Technique.

Front Psychol 2018 24;9:1448. Epub 2018 Aug 24.

School of Psychology, Cognition Institute, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom.

In contemporary dance, experts evaluate creativity in competitions, auditions, and performances, typically through ratings of choreography or improvisation. Audiences also implicitly evaluate choreographic creativity, so dancers' livelihoods also hinge upon the opinions of non-expert observers. However, some argue that the abstract and often pedestrian nature of contemporary dance confuses non-expert audiences. Therefore, agreement regarding creativity and appreciation amongst experts and non-experts may be low. Finding appropriate methodologies for reliable and real-world creativity evaluation remains the subject of considerable debate within the psychology creativity research field. Although considerably variant in methodological operationalisation, the Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT) asks individuals to use an implicit definition to assess creativity in others' work. This study aimed to investigate the role of experience and expertise in the evaluation of choreographic creativity, with a secondary aim of testing the feasibility of an online snowballing methodology for large-scale dance-specific research, informed by the methodology of the CAT. We filmed 23 Contemporary Dance students each performing a 3-min peer-choreographed solo and then recruited 850 online evaluators with varying degrees of expertise and experience in dance and creativity. Evaluators viewed at least one randomly selected video and rated creativity, technical ability, appreciation and understanding of the work, each using a seven-point Likert scale. A one-way ANOVA showed a significant difference in creativity ratings across the 23 videos, and creativity correlated significantly with the other variables. We then categorized evaluators on nine aspects of their dance and creative experience and entered the data into a repeated-measures linear mixed model. Two of the fixed effects yielded differences in creativity evaluations: (i) contemporary choreographic experience and (ii) self-reported creative expertise, as did the random effect of the video. The results indicate that personal experience of the choreographic process impacts creativity assessment, above and beyond experience in dance class participation. Implications for creativity assessment within creativity research and practice are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01448DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6117233PMC
August 2018

Influence of Movement Quality on Heart Rate While Performing the Dance-Specific Aerobic Fitness Test (DAFT) in Preprofessional Contemporary Dancers.

Med Probl Perform Art 2018 06;33(2):77-81

Codarts University of the Arts, Kruisplein 26, 7th floor, 3012 CC Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Tel +31 10 217 1045.

Objectives: To explore whether movement quality has influence on heart rate (HR) frequency during the dance-specific aerobic fitness test (DAFT).

Methods: Thirteen contemporary university dance students (age 19 ± 1.46 yrs) underwent two trials performing the DAFT while wearing a Polar HR monitor (Kempele, Finland). During the first trial, dancers were asked to perform the movements as if they were performing on stage, whereas during the second trial, standardized verbal instructions were given to reduce the quality of movement (e.g., no need to perform technically correct pliés). The variables measured at each trial were HR for all five stages of the DAFT and HR recovery (1 and 2 min after finishing the DAFT), movement quality (MQ) score, and rate of perceived exertion score (RPE).

Results: There were significant differences in HR between Trial 1 and Trial 2. For all stages and the resting period, HR was lower during Trial 2 (p<0.001). Also, the RPE score was significantly lower and the MQ score was significantly higher, indicating a poorer performance, during Trial 2 (both p<0.001).

Conclusion: The results suggest that DAFT performance with lower movement quality elicits lower HR frequency and RPE during the DAFT. We recommend that specific instructions be given to participants about executing the movement sequence during the DAFT before testing commences. Also, movement quality must be taken into account when interpreting HR results from the DAFT in order to distinguish if a dancer's low HR results from good aerobic fitness or from poor performance of the movement sequence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2018.2012DOI Listing
June 2018

Changes in Energy Demand of Dance Activity and Cardiorespiratory Fitness During 1 Year of Vocational Contemporary Dance Training.

J Strength Cond Res 2018 Mar;32(3):841-848

Dance Science, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, United Kingdom.

Beck, S, Wyon, MA, and Redding, E. Changes in energy demand of dance activity and cardiorespiratory fitness during 1 year of vocational contemporary dance training. J Strength Cond Res 32(3): 841-848, 2018-Previous literature has demonstrated that the intensity of dance class as well as its discontinuous nature is not sufficient to elicit an aerobic training response and that the aerobic capacity of dancers is relatively low. These findings have raised questions on the suitability of training, through class and rehearsal, as adequate preparation for the physical demands of performance and a sustained, successful career in dance. The aim of this study was to describe changes in aerobic fitness and energy cost of dance movement occurring throughout 1 year of training. Subjects were 13 female dance students; 7 first-year undergraduate (UG) students, and 6 postgraduate (PG) students. At 3 time points (TP1, TP2, and TP3) during 1 academic year, each subject completed a treadmill test to determine V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak (ml·kg·min) and lactate threshold (LT) (ml·kg·min and %V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak) and a standardized 4-minute dance sequence, where the mean demand was expressed as V[Combining Dot Above]O2 (ml·kg·min), heart rate (b·min), %V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak, and %LT. Both groups displayed an overall decrease in mean V[Combining Dot Above]O2peak throughout the year, despite a peak in fitness at TP2 in the PG students. No significant changes in LT were noted over time for either group. A significant reduction in the relative intensity of the dance sequence, particularly in relation to mean VO2 (ml·kg·min) and %LT data, was observed over time in both groups, although the degree of change was less in the UG group than the PG group. Apparent adaptations during a rehearsal period in the PG group are presented in contrast to previous research findings. Recommendations for future research include further investigation into the energy demand of rehearsal and cardiorespiratory adaptation during rehearsal periods as well as further reporting of measures related to LT and movement economy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002357DOI Listing
March 2018

Fit to Perform: An Investigation of Higher Education Music Students' Perceptions, Attitudes, and Behaviors toward Health.

Front Psychol 2017 10;8:1558. Epub 2017 Oct 10.

Centre for Performance Science, Royal College of Music, London, United Kingdom.

Making music at the highest international standards can be rewarding, but it is also challenging, with research highlighting pernicious ways in which practicing and performing can affect performers' health and wellbeing. Several studies indicate that music students' perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors toward health and healthy living are less than optimal, especially considering the multiple physical and psychological demands of their day-to-day work. This article presents the results of a comprehensive screening protocol that investigated lifestyle and health-related attitudes and behaviors among 483 undergraduate and postgraduate students (mean age = 21.29 years ± 3.64; 59% women) from ten conservatoires. The protocol included questionnaires measuring wellbeing, general health, health-promoting behaviors, perfectionism, coping, sleep quality, and fatigue. On each measure, the data were compared with existing published data from similar age groups. The results indicate that music students have higher levels of wellbeing and lower fatigue than comparable samples outside of music. However, they also reveal potentially harmful perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors toward health. Specifically, engagement in health responsibility and stress management was low, which along with high perfectionistic strivings, limited use of coping strategies, poor sleep quality, and low self-rated health, paints a troubling picture both for the music students and for those who support their training. The findings point to the need for more (and more effective) health education and promotion initiatives within music education; in particular, musicians should be better equipped with mental skills to cope with constant pressure to excel and high stress levels. In part, this calls for musicians themselves to engage in healthier lifestyles, take greater responsibility for their own health, and be aware of and act upon health information in order to achieve and sustain successful practice and performance. For that to happen, however, music educators, administrators, and policy makers must play an active role in providing supportive environments where health and wellbeing is considered integral to expert music training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01558DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641399PMC
October 2017

Energy intake and energy expenditure of pre-professional female contemporary dancers.

PLoS One 2017 17;12(2):e0171998. Epub 2017 Feb 17.

Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle, NE2 4HH, United Kingdom.

Many athletes in aesthetic and weight dependent sports are at risk of energy imbalance. However little is known about the exercise and eating behaviours of highly trained dance populations. This investigation sought to determine the energy intake and energy expenditure of pre-professional female contemporary dancers. Twenty-five female contemporary dance students completed the study. Over a 7-day period, including five week days (with scheduled dance training at a conservatoire) and two weekend days (with no scheduled dance training at the conservatoire), energy intake (self-reported weighed food diary and 24 h dietary recall) and expenditure (tri-axial accelerometry) were recorded. Mean daily energy intake and expenditure were different over the 7-day period (P = 0.014) equating to an energy deficit of -356 ± 668 kcal·day-1 (or -1.5 ± 2.8 MJ·day-1). Energy expenditure was not different when comparing week and weekend days (P = 0.297). However daily energy intake (P = 0.002), energy availability (P = 0.003), and energy balance (P = 0.004) were lower during the week compared to the weekend, where energy balance became positive. The percentage contribution of macronutrients to total energy intake also differed; with higher fat (P = 0.022) and alcohol (P = 0.020), and lower carbohydrate (P = 0.001) and a trend for lower protein (P = 0.051) at the weekend. Energy balance and appropriate macronutrient intake are essential for maintaining the demands of training, performance and recovery. Whilst aesthetics are important, female contemporary dancers may be at risk of the numerous health and performance impairments associated with negative energy balance, particularly during periods of scheduled training.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0171998PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315282PMC
August 2017

Methodological considerations for documenting the energy demand of dance activity: a review.

Front Psychol 2015 6;6:568. Epub 2015 May 6.

National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science London, UK ; Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Performance, Institute for Sport, University of Wolverhampton Wolverhampton, UK.

Previous research has explored the intensity of dance class, rehearsal, and performance and attempted to document the body's physiological adaptation to these activities. Dance activity is frequently described as: complex, diverse, non-steady state, intermittent, of moderate to high intensity, and with notable differences between training and performance intensities and durations. Many limitations are noted in the methodologies of previous studies creating barriers to consensual conclusion. The present study therefore aims to examine the previous body of literature and in doing so, seeks to highlight important methodological considerations for future research in this area to strengthen our knowledge base. Four recommendations are made for future research. Firstly, research should continue to be dance genre specific, with detailed accounts of technical and stylistic elements of the movement vocabulary examined given wherever possible. Secondly, a greater breadth of performance repertoire, within and between genres, needs to be closely examined. Thirdly, a greater focus on threshold measurements is recommended due to the documented complex interplay between aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Lastly, it is important for research to begin to combine temporal data relating to work and rest periods with real-time measurement of metabolic data in work and rest, in order to be able to quantify demand more accurately.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00568DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4422004PMC
May 2015

Multidisciplinary predictors of adherence to contemporary dance training: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training.

J Sports Sci 2015 2;33(15):1564-73. Epub 2015 Jan 2.

a Department of Performing Arts and English , University of Bedfordshire , Bedfordshire , UK.

Little is known about the predictors of adherence in a dance context. The aim of this study was to investigate adherence to a dance talent programme using a multidisciplinary set of variables representing psychological correlates of adherence, maturation and physical factors relating to dance talent. Psychological (passion, motivational climate perceptions, eating attitudes), physical competence (vertical jump height, handgrip strength, hamstring flexibility, external hip rotation, aerobic fitness), and maturation-related (age of menarche) variables were gathered from female students enrolled on a dance talent programme. Participation behaviour (adherence/dropout) was collected from the talent programme's records approximately two years later. Logistic regression analysis of 287 participants revealed that greater levels of harmonious passion predicted greater likelihood of adherence to the programme, and greater ego-involving motivational climate perceptions predicted less likelihood of adherence. Neither measures of physical competence nor maturation distinguished adhering from dropout participants. Overall, the results of this study indicate that psychological factors are more important than physical competence and maturation in the participation behaviour of young talented dancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2014.996183DOI Listing
March 2016

A longitudinal examination of the relationship between perfectionism and motivational climate in dance.

J Sport Exerc Psychol 2014 Aug;36(4):382-91

Department of Performance and Training, Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.

The present study examined the relationship between dance-related perfectionism and perceptions of motivational climate in dance over time. In doing so, three possibilities were tested: (a) perfectionism affects perceptions of the motivational climate, (b) perceptions of the motivational climate affect perfectionism, and (c) the relationship is reciprocal. Two hundred seventy-one young dancers (M = 14.21 years old, SD = 1.96) from UK Centres for Advanced Training completed questionnaires twice, approximately 6 months apart. Cross-lagged analysis indicated that perfectionistic concerns led to increased perceptions of an ego-involving climate and decreased perceptions of a task-involving climate over time. In addition, perceptions of a task-involving climate led to increased perfectionistic strivings over time. The findings suggest that perfectionistic concerns may color perceptions of training/performing environments so that mistakes are deemed unacceptable and only superior performance is valued. They also suggest that perceptions of a task-involving climate in training/performing environments may encourage striving for excellence and perfection without promoting excessive concerns regarding their attainment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jsep.2013-0245DOI Listing
August 2014

Fit to dance survey: a comparison with dancesport injuries.

Med Probl Perform Art 2014 06;29(2):102-10

Brigham Young University, 173 Richards Building, Provo, UT 84606, USA. Tel 801-422-1628.

The Fit to Dance survey has been conducted twice previously, in 1993 and 2002, without dancesport participants. The purpose of this present online survey was to supplement a comparison of dancesport against the earlier results. The current study had a greater percentage of male respondents than previous studies (43% vs 24% and 26%). The dancesport participants were older (28% at 40+ yrs vs 3% and 1%) and more likely to have normal (69% vs 57%) to overweight BMI (18% vs 2%). Dancesport participants spent more time in various non-dancing conditioning activities than previous surveys (5.2 ± 3.9 hrs SD vs 1.9 ± 2.5 and 2.2 ± 2.7). Muscles and joints were the most common type of injury in all the surveys. The knee was the top injury site in this survey, with lower back in previous surveys. The main perceived cause of injury was repetitive movements, whereas fatigue and overwork were cited in the previous surveys. Physiotherapists were the most common type of medical professionals from whom the dancers sought treatment for their injuries in all surveys. The first survey included recommendations that the present survey results agree with, including: dancers should be physically fit, dancers should warm up and cool down, dancers should never have to work in unsuitable environments, and dancers should receive immediate high-quality treatment for injuries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21091/mppa.2014.2021DOI Listing
June 2014

Trunk muscle endurance and low back pain in female dance students.

J Dance Med Sci 2014 ;18(2):62-6

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, UK.

Low back pain (LBP) is often cited as a common condition at all levels of dance. Evidence suggests that reduced endurance of the trunk muscles can predispose an individual to LBP. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in trunk muscle endurance in a sample of tertiary level dance students with and without LBP. Seventeen full-time female dance students were divided into two groups: dance students with LBP (N = 11), and without LBP (N = 6). All participants provided informed consent, and the study was approved by an institutional ethics review board. Participants performed four isometric tests that assess trunk muscle endurance: the right and left side plank, double straight leg raise (DSLR), and the Sorensen test. A modified version of the Osaka City University test was used to assess the presence of LBP. A significant difference (p < 0.05) between groups was observed for the right and left side plank, as well as the DSLR test, and students with LBP displayed lower levels of endurance compared to those without. No other significant differences were found. This study offers some evidence that reduced trunk muscle endurance is present among dancers with LBP and provides direction for future research into back health among dancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313X.18.2.62DOI Listing
January 2015

The effect of an eyes-closed dance-specific training program on dynamic balance in elite pre-professional ballet dancers: a randomized controlled pilot study.

J Dance Med Sci 2014 Mar;18(1):3-11

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, UK.

Visual conditions for a dancer vary greatly between theatrical performance environments and dance studios, and this variability may be detrimental to their dynamic balance performance, particularly under stage lighting. In order to maintain balance control, dancers reportedly rely heavily on visual input, yet those who rely more on proprioceptive strategies for balancing have been found to be more stable. The purpose of this study was to assess the capability of an eyes-closed, dance-specific training program to nurture in dancers proprioceptive mechanisms that may facilitate their dynamic balance control. Eighteen elite pre-professional ballet dancers were randomly assigned to either a control (eyes open) or experimental (eyes closed) group for the intervention. The balance abilities of all subjects were tested using five dance-specific variations of the Star Excursion Balance Test before and after a 4 week balance intervention. Reach distance and time to complete the tests were recorded separately as indirect measurements of dynamic balance. The intervention consisted of dance-specific, eyes-closed exercises integrated into the dancers' daily ballet class and designed progressively to challenge the dancers' balance. During the intervention period, the control group undertook the same exercise program with their eyes open. Results revealed significant improvements in time to complete the three "timed" balance tests, and distances reached significantly improved in one of the two "reach" balance tests. No significant improvements were observed in the control group for any variation of the tests. These results indicate that dancers can be trained to adopt proprioceptive strategies to maintain dynamic balance, which consequently improves their balance performance. Such findings could encourage use of eyes-closed training in daily dance classes due to its potential to improve dancers' balance control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313X.18.1.3DOI Listing
March 2014

Fatigue effects on quadriceps and hamstrings activation in dancers performing drop landings.

J Dance Med Sci 2013 Sep;17(3):109-14

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, UK.

Fatigue may reduce a dancer's ability to maintain the muscle synergies required for stable human movement. Therefore, fatigue presents as a potential risk factor for injury in dancers. Activation patterns of the quadriceps and hamstrings muscle groups in athletic populations have been consistently reported to alter in response to fatigue during landing tasks. It is unknown whether dancers demonstrate similar muscle activation patterns, nor if dancers respond to fatiguing protocols, with regard to muscle activation, in the same manner as their athletic counter-parts. The purpose of this study was to assess quadriceps and hamstrings activation levels in a cohort of dancers performing drop landings before and after completion of a dance-specific fatigue protocol, the High Intensity Dance Performance Fitness Test. Quadriceps and hamstrings co-contraction ratios significantly increased between pre- and post-fatigue conditions in a similar fashion to that reported in the literature. Therefore, the neuromuscular activation of the knee extensors and flexors in dancers changed in response to the dance-specific fatiguing protocol. Furthermore, quadriceps and hamstrings co-contraction ratios were substantially greater than previously reported in other athletic populations, due to low hamstrings activation levels. Future investigation of dancer biomechanical adaptations to fatigue would be beneficial to further examine the potential implications for injury risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313x.17.3.109DOI Listing
September 2013

A bibliographic review of medicine and science research in dancesport.

Med Probl Perform Art 2013 Jun;28(2):70-9

Research Center for Exercise, Sport and Performance, University of Wolverhampton, Walsall WS1 3BD, UK.

DanceSport is the competitive form of ballroom dancing, and even though it has more participants worldwide than ballet and modern dance, there is less peer-reviewed research. A review was conducted to identify all relevant literature to help researchers and clinicians gain an enhanced understanding of dancesport. Eight databases were searched, with 34 articles found in topics including participation motives, psychology, exercise physiology, fitness training, injuries and injury prevention, biomechanics, menstrual dysfunction, and substance use. Our results indicate that researchers have been inconsistently recording and reporting anthropometric and dancesport data; for example, 31 studies separated participants by gender, 21 included the competition classification of dancers, 19 reported which style of dancesport participants competed in, and 13 described the participants as a dance couple. Common injuries affected the neck, shoulder, spine, knee, lower leg, and foot. Dancesport is in the very heavy to extremely heavy category in energy expenditure (mean heart rate: male 175.2 ± 10.7, female 178.6 ± 8.6 bpm) and utilizes both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Alpha-beta and heart rate variability intervention techniques are reported to successfully enhance performance in dancers. Dancesport participants also appear less likely to smoke cigarettes, but have little knowledge about anti-doping rules. During events, professionals danced farther (30 m) and faster (0.3 m/sec) than junior dancers. Female competitors were more likely to be eumenorrheic. Dancesport is a physically and mentally demanding competitive sport, but there is a need to standardize measurements in future studies to allow comparison.
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June 2013

Acute effects of warm-up stretch protocols on balance, vertical jump height, and range of motion in dancers.

J Dance Med Sci 2013 ;17(1):34-40

University of Bedfordshire, Park Square, Luton LU1 3JU, UK.

The aim of this study was to examine the acute effects of static stretching (SS), dynamic stretching (DS), and a combined (static and dynamic) stretch protocol on vertical jump (VJ) height, balance, and range of motion (ROM) in dancers. A no-stretch (NS) intervention acted as the control condition. It was hypothesized that the DS and combination stretch protocols would have more positive effects on performance indicators than SS and NS, and SS would have negative effects as compared to the NS condition. Ten trained female dancers (27 ± 5 years of age) were tested on four occasions. Each session began with initial measurements of hamstring ROM on the dominant leg. The participants subsequently carried out a cardiovascular (CV) warm-up, which was followed by one of the four randomly selected stretch conditions. Immediately after the stretch intervention the participants were tested on VJ performance, hamstring ROM, and balance. The data showed that DS (p < 0.05) and the combination stretch (p < .05) produced significantly greater VJ height scores as compared to SS, and the combination stretch demonstrated significantly enhanced balance performance as compared to SS (p < 0.05). With regard to ROM, a one-way ANOVA indicated that SS and the combination stretch displayed significantly greater changes in ROM than DS (p < 0.05). From comparison of the stretch protocols used in the current study, it can be concluded that SS does not appear to be detrimental to a dancer's performance, and DS has some benefits but not in all three key area's tested, namely lower body power (VJ height), balance, and range of motion. However, combination stretching showed significantly enhanced balance and vertical jump height scores and significantly improved pre-stretch and post-stretch ROM values. It is therefore suggested that a combined warm-up protocol consisting of SS and DS should be promoted as an effective warm-up for dancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12678/1089-313x.17.1.34DOI Listing
September 2013

The value of health screening in music schools and conservatoires.

Clin Rheumatol 2013 Apr 16;32(4):497-500. Epub 2013 Feb 16.

Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.

Interest in musicians' health and well-being is growing, reflected by increasing numbers of investigations into the physicality and psychology of musical performance. Within sport and dance, screening and profiling programmes, especially of the musculoskeletal system, have furthered understanding on not only physical and psychological capabilities and demands but also musculoskeletal injury mechanisms and susceptibility. This article engages with questions relating to the development and delivery of musician-specific health screening programmes. Effective screening can offer a variety of benefits for musicians, providing informed recommendations for sustaining performance-related fitness across educational and professional contexts. Employing an interdisciplinary approach when developing screening programmes is essential, as is the ecological appropriateness of the measures used. The implications inherent in delivering and sustaining successful screening programmes in schools and conservatoires are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10067-013-2203-9DOI Listing
April 2013

The relationship between postural stability and dancer's past and future lower-limb injuries.

Med Probl Perform Art 2012 Dec;27(4):197-204

Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada.

In an effort to address dance-related injuries, screening programs are typically employed to assess injury susceptibility. The aim of this study was to explore for potential links between postural stability and dancers' previous lower-limb injuries and susceptibility to future lower-limb injuries. Eighty-five contemporary dance students were recruited at a UK dance conservatoire. Information concerning previous injuries was collected by self-report survey. The participants completed two balance tasks, one static and one dynamic, performed on a RS Scan Footscan pressure pad to calculate postural sway. Injuries in the participant cohort were then tracked for a 10-month period to assess injury susceptibility. The participants exhibited significantly less postural sway when balancing on the left leg than their right, and the women exhibited less postural sway than the men. A one-way ANOVA revealed that participants who had experienced a lower-limb injury in the 12 months prior to testing exhibited more postural sway than participants who had not experienced a lower-limb injury, with some of the differences attaining significance (p <0.05). No significant links were found between either postural sway or previous injury and future injury susceptibility. The results suggest that assessments of postural stability via centre of pressure measurements are a reliable method for assessing dancers' balance ability. While reaffirming the importance of comprehensive, multidisciplinary screening programs, the results also highlight the necessity of developing a greater understanding of both dancers and the environments in which they dance and work to fully ascertain injury susceptibility.
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December 2012

A mixed methods investigation of dropout among talented young dancers: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training.

J Dance Med Sci 2012 ;16(2):65-73

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Creekside, London SE8 3DZ, UK.

The aim of this study was to understand reasons for dropout from a dance-talent program in the UK, using a mixed methods design. In-depth interviews were conducted with ten dropout students to explore the influencing factors in their decision to leave the program. In order to triangulate these findings, reasons for dropout were then examined from descriptive records of 147 young dancers who had withdrawn from the talent program over a four-year period. Overall, the most frequently cited reasons for dropping out were conflicting demands, change in aspirations, course content, difficulty making friends, and lost passion. Injury, financial factors, low perceived competence, and teacher behavior emerged as minor reasons. Intervention strategies that focus on changes in course content may be the easiest to implement and most effective means to enhance student retention.
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October 2012

Correlates of disordered eating attitudes among male and female young talented dancers: findings from the UK centres for advanced training.

Eat Disord 2011 May-Jun;19(3):211-33

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, England.

Correlates of disordered eating attitudes were examined with a mixed-sex sample of 347 young talented dancers aged 10-18 years from all UK Centres for Advanced Training. Equal proportions of females (7.3%) and males (7.6%) were symptomatic for disordered eating but correlates differed: for females, self-evaluative perfectionism, waking up > twice/night and hours of non-dance physical activity were predictive while for males, only the combination of self-evaluative and conscientious perfectionism was significant. Differences between menstrual status groups were evident, with young dancers (pre-menarcheal/within first year of menarche) reporting the least disordered eating attitudes and those with dysfunctional menses reporting the most.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10640266.2011.564976DOI Listing
September 2011

Considerations for dance educators.

Authors:
Emma Redding

J Dance Med Sci 2010 ;14(2):43-4

Dance Science at Laban, Creekside, London, United Kingdom.

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July 2010

The development of a high intensity dance performance fitness test.

J Dance Med Sci 2009 ;13(1):3-9

While there is currently a validated dance-specific exercise method of measuring aerobic fitness, no such test has been developed to measure high intensity capabilities in dance. The purpose of this study was to initiate an intermittent high intensity dance-specific fitness test. The test was designed to be able to observe changes in heart rate (HR), thereby allowing for a measurement of physical fitness at high intensities. Sixteen professional dancers (4 males and 12 females) volunteered to take part in this study. The fitness test protocol consists of movements that are representative of contemporary dance, and contains exercise and rest periods that mimic the intermittent nature of dance. The participants performed four trials. The physiological variables measured were HR (b.min(-1)) for each one minute bout of the four minute test for all trials, oxygen uptake (VO(2)) throughout the test, and end blood lactate (BLa mmol.L) for each trial. In addition, five of the participants undertook a maximal oxygen uptake treadmill test, and the scores obtained were compared with those from the dance test. Results show HR consistency across each one minute bout of the test and across each of the four trials of testing for all participants, indicating that the test is reliable. There was good reliability between bouts of each trial (typical error as % of CV = 1.5), intraclass "r" = 0.8, and good reliability between the four trials (typical error as % of CV = 2.1), intraclass "r" = 0.82. There were no significant differences between the maximal VO(2) and BLa scores established in the treadmill and dance tests, demonstrating validity. Thus, the results of this study indicate that the high intensity dance-specific test is a reliable and valid means of assessing and monitoring the cardiovascular fitness of dancers. The test allows dancers to be assessed within an environment that they are accustomed to (the studio), using a mode of exercise that is relevant (dance), and it is of adequate intensity to be representative of performance.
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June 2009

Physiological monitoring of cardiorespiratory adaptations during rehearsal and performance of contemporary dance.

J Strength Cond Res 2005 Aug;19(3):611-4

School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK.

Previous research has shown that dance class and rehearsal stress different cardiorespiratory energy systems than dance performance. The aim of the present study was to monitor the physiological parameters of a number of dancers during a 12-week rehearsal period and an 8-week performance schedule. Seventeen dancers (8 men and 9 women) from 2 companies undertook the multistage dance specific aerobic fitness test before the rehearsal period, before the performance period, and after the performance period. Heart rate data were collected throughout the test; the mean heart rate during stage 5 and blood lactate levels were measured at the end of the test. No significant changes in heart rate or lactate parameters were noted between the prerehearsal and preperformance tests, but significant decreases during the preperformance and postperformance tests were shown in both parameters (p < 0.01 and p < 0.01, respectively), which suggests an increase in the subjects' aerobic capacities during the performance period. Implications from the present study suggest that dancers are not adequately physiologically prepared to perform to the same degree to which their skills are honed. The study suggests that supplemental training is required to bridge this physical gap and better prepare the dancer for performance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1519/14233.1DOI Listing
August 2005

Oxygen uptake during modern dance class, rehearsal, and performance.

J Strength Cond Res 2004 Aug;18(3):646-9

School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom.

The aim of the present study was to examine whether the workload, expressed in oxygen uptake and heart rate, during dance class and rehearsal prepared the dancer for performance. Previous research on the demands of class and performance has been affected by equipment limitations and could only provide limited insight into the physiological demands placed on the dancer. The present study noted that dance performance had significantly greater mean oxygen uptake and heart rate than noted in both class and rehearsal (p < 0.05). Further analysis noted that, during class and rehearsal, heart rates were rarely within the aerobic training zone (60-90%HRmax, where HRmax is the maximum heart rate). Dance performance placed a greater demand on the aerobic and anaerobic glycolytic energy systems than seen during class and rehearsal, which placed a greater emphasis on the adenosine triphosphate-creatine phosphate system. Practical implications suggest the need to supplement training within dance companies to overcome this deficit in training demand.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1519/13082.1DOI Listing
August 2004
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