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Thesis

"Screwing the knee:" Measurement of turnout components in dancers

1 May 1991

Abstract

This study addresses the need for quantitative research on the dance turnout by providing functional external rotation ranges of motion for the hip, knee, and ankle in the dance turnout. The subjects were thirty-two eclectically trained, beginning to professional dancers. Turnout was studied with a plumb line apparatus attached at the hip, knee, and ankle. Parallel position and ballet first and fifth positions were measured with straight legs and in demi-plie. In first position straight, the hip, knee, and ankle provided 51.2%, 21.4%, and 27.5%, respectively of total unilateral turnout. In first position, demi-plie, the hip, knee, and ankle contributed 76.9%, 7.4%, and 15.7%, respectively to total unilateral turnout. In fifth position right with legs straight, the right hip, knee, and ankle contributed 61.6%, 23.0%, and 15.4%, respectively, of total turnout on the right; the left hip, knee, and ankle contributed 51.8%, 17.4%, and 30.8%, respectively, to total turnout on the left. In fifth position right demi-plie, the right hip, knee, and ankle provided 78.4%, 7.4%, and 14.7%, respectively, of total turnout on the right; the left hip, knee, and ankle contributed 68.3%, 7.3%, and 23.8%, respectively, to total turnout on the left. There was a significant increase in hip rotation (first position p = 0.0174; fifth position p = 0.0609), and significant decrease in knee (first position p = 0.7637; fifth position p = 0.9179) and ankle rotation (first position p = 0.0025; fifth position p = 0.0001), when moving from straight to demi-plie. Dancers who began their training at an earlier age had greater total turnout in first position and in fifth right. The most frequently reported dance injuries were to the low back and knee, followed by foot injuries, and then ankle injuries. These results will help to provide a standard for safe biomechanical turnout in dancers.


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