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Ballet study reveals key to avoiding injury

Technique is everything: Ballet study reveals key to avoiding injury

April 21, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. –  A 10-week course could protect ballerinas from knee injury. Ballet can be stressful on the dancer, particularly to the ankle and knee joints. 

Professor of Health and Human Performance Darren Dutto, Ph.D., studied knee mechanics in ballerinas to determine the influence on injury prevention. 

On April 23, Dutto will present his research, “The effect of instruction on leg joint kinetics during simple ballet movements” in a virtual Eastern Oregon University Colloquium.

Dutto’s primary field of interest is in biomechanics with an emphasis on joint movement in humans and horses. He worked alongside Morris Levy, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, to analyze the whole athlete and determine how to improve their performance. 

A 10-week course determined if dancers could change the direction and timing of forces to the lower limb joints in a way that would reduce the stresses to those joints. 

Researchers assessed how intermediate-level dancers performed a demi-plie and demi-plie releve at the beginning and end of the course. With planted heels and bent knees, a demi-plie prepares dancers to spring into jumps and turns. The movement progresses to a demi-plie releve when a dancer rises to their toes. 

Professional dancers experienced less stress on their joints than the intermediate-level dancers. 

“This study reinforces the importance of learning correct techniques,” Dutto said. 

Dutto’s next area of research will focus on how this data transfers to other sports to analyze how athletes’ control capabilities differ. 

The Colloquium presentation begins at 4 p.m., Thursday and will be held over Zoom at eou.zoom.us/j/282918952 or 346-248-7799‬. The Meeting ID is 282918952.

The event is free and open to the public.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.