A preliminary exploration of back muscle activation while performing an eight-count phrase of ballet / Carys Anne Swanton (2019)

A preliminary exploration of back muscle activation while performing an eight-count phrase of ballet

Author: Carys Anne Swanton

Course: MSc Dance Science

Year: 2019

Keywords: Ballet dancers, Dance -- Education and training, Dance--Physiological aspects, Dancers -- Anatomy,

Abstract

Research into performance enhancement aims to explore the dancer’s body to produce efficient methods of training to help dancers meet the increasing physical demands being placed on them. To date, research has focused mainly on the lower body, core muscles and the chest and triceps with little research examining the muscularity of the back. Ballet dancers are encouraged to engage their back muscles to maintain technique and aesthetic performance, however, research into the back is separated, back muscles being studied in conjunction with other areas of the body. The aim of the present study is to deepen our understanding of the musculature of the back and its activation while performing movement specific to ballet class and performance.

Ten dancers (M=24.5± 3.8years) with ballet training (M=15.9± 6.9 years), recruited from a vocational dance school were asked to perform a choreographed eight-count phrase of ballet specific movement while wearing ten electromyography (EMG) sensors on chosen back muscles. The phrase of movement was then split into four sections for further analysis. EMG data was collected bilaterally from the upper trapezius, posterior deltoid, lower trapezius, erector spinae and multifidus with maximum voluntary contractions taken for normalisation of data. Ensemble averaging was used to create one graphic representation for each muscle across all participants, illustrating variability found between participants. This showed erratic bursts of activity across the phrase and a spike in muscular activation across all muscles in movement four. Few significant differences were found in mean magnitudes of activation between movements for each muscle and no significant differences were found between left and right-side muscles.

The erratic nature of the EMG recordings suggests lack of consistency in muscular control and warrants further study. Further research is necessary to expand our understanding of the back muscles to explore physiological and aesthetic effects of strengthening.

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APA
Swanton, Carys Anne. (2019). A preliminary exploration of back muscle activation while performing an eight-count phrase of ballet (Masters’ theses). Retrieved https://researchonline.trinitylaban.ac.uk/oa/thesis/?p=1214