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Open Access Lower Extremity Kinetics in Tap Dance

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Tap dance is a unique performing art utilizing the lower extremities as percussion instruments. In a previous study these authors reported decreased injury prevalence among tap dancers compared to other dance and sports participants. No biomechanical analyses of tap dance exist to explain this finding. The purpose of the current pilot study was to provide a preliminary overview of normative peak kinetic and kinematic data, based on the hypothesis that tap dance generates relatively low ground reaction forces and joint forces and moments. Six professional tap dancers performed four common tap dance sequences that produced data captured by the use of a force platform and a five-camera motion analysis system. The mean vertical ground reaction force for all sequences was found to be 2.06 ± 0.55 BW. Mean peak sagittal, frontal, and transverse plane joint moments (hip, knee, and ankle) ranged from 0.07 to 2.62 N·m/kg. These small ground reaction forces and joint forces and moments support our hypothesis, and may explain the relatively low injury incidence in tap dancers. Nevertheless, the analysis is highly complex, and other factors remain to be studied and clarified.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Sports Medicine, Pace University, Pleasantville, New York 10570, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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