Dancer injury rates, perceptions and landing mechanics on dance floors with varied mechanical properties

Luke Stephen Hopper

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    1061 Downloads (Pure)


    Dance is a popular form of physical activity. Elite dancers spend many hours training in the pursuit of technical excellence. Dance related injury is commonplace, particularly to tissues within the ankle joint complex. The mechanical properties of the floor surfaces used by dancers have been suggested to influence the incidence of injury. A paucity of research is available to support these assertions and limited industry standards are available concerning the manufacture of dance floors. In the first study of this thesis, the injury rates in a professional ballet company were compared to the mechanical properties of the floor surfaces regularly used by the company. Injury rates were greatest on the surface with the greatest intra-surface variability and none of the touring venue stages conformed to European sport surface standards. In a second study, the perceptions of professional and student dancers on varied dance floors were examined and compared with the quantified mechanical properties of the floors. Dancer perceptions were relatively independent of experience and dancers demonstrated a preference for floor surfaces different to that of European sports surface standards. Specific discrepancies were also identified between the perceptual and mechanical test outputs. In the final study, the landing mechanics of dancers on varied dance surfaces were examined. Mechanical changes at the ankle joint between surfaces suggested a change in the mechanical demand during landings which may be indicative of the high incidence of injury in dancers to tissues that cross the ankle joint.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    • Ackland, Tim, Supervisor
    • Alderson, Jacqueline, Supervisor
    • Elliott, Bruce, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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