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The Effect of Sprung (Suspended) Floors on Leg Stiffness During Grand Jeté Landings in Ballet

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This study compared stiffness of the landing leg in ballet dancers performing grand jeté on a sprung floor to leg stiffness during the same movement on a hard floor (wood on concrete). Leg stiffness was calculated as the ratio of vertical ground reaction force (in Newtons) to compression of the lower limb (in meters). Thirteen female dancers were measured for five repetitions each at the point of maximum leg compression while landing grand jeté on both of the surfaces, such that 20 milliseconds of data were represented for each trial. The stiffness of the landing leg at the point of maximum compression was decreased by a mean difference score of 6168.0 N/m ± 11,519.5 N/m on the hard floor compared to the sprung floor. Paired t-test yielded a one-tailed probability of p = 0.038. This effect was seen in 11 of the 13 participants. The finding of increased stiffness of the landing leg in the sprung floor condition suggests that some of the force of landing the leap was absorbed by the surface, and therefore did not need to be absorbed by the landing leg itself. This in turn implies that a sprung dance floor may help to prevent dance-related injuries.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Missouri State University, Springfield 2: Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, Missouri State University, Springfield 3: Program in Physical Therapy, Missouri State University, Springfield

Publication date: 2011-09-01

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