Ballet science: combining pedagogical tradition with modern innovations to create injury resistant dancers


Our motivation for conducting this research was to further understand the postural and muscular deficiencies present in pre-professional ballet dancers and to utilize science-based training solutions to address these issues and mitigate injury.

This study was approved by an institutional review board and conducted with consent of participants.
By conducting a postural analysis and Functional Movement Screen (FMS) on each dancer six times annually, we recorded postural and muscular deficiencies, and applied correctives for common faults. These treatment plans have been overseen by our dance medicine practitioner and given during ballet technique and Pilates mat class.

Results and Discussion
We have found a correlation between the weak posterior gluteus medius and low FMS scores. Additionally, upon improving this weakness through targeted treatment, we have seen improvement in overall postural and muscular strength.
The movement session will demonstrate a full FMS and Postural Analysis. Participants will physically move through ballet technique and Pilates mat correctives with a fascial focus. These exercises target common balletic postural imbalances and muscular weaknesses.

Conclusion and Mission Relevance
In addition to seeing an increase in FMS scores and more neutral joints in dancers, anecdotally we see an improvement in technique, and the overall ballet aesthetic. We continue to develop and adjust training modalities by infusing the ballet technique exercises with Pilates and fascial components.
By furthering this line of inquiry, we are developing universal training modalities which will assist in the development, exploration, and advancement of strong, injury resistant ballet dancers in higher education.