Advanced balance and postural control are essential attributes of expert ballet dancers. The majority of ballet technique requires dancers to perform feats of balance that require a high degree of skill. Standing balance is typically achieved through slight postural adjustments through the legs and torso, whereby the body continually adjusts the body posture to maintain balance over the feet. Balance in ballet technique is often taught under the proviso the that the body and legs are held taught and balance is achieved in a static rigid fashion. However in many of the skills demonstrated by expert ballet dancers, a rigid approach to balance is impossible and some postural control must be occurring. Ballet technique limits dancers' abilities to use typical postural control strategies such as that used in normal standing. The extreme extension of the ankles, knee and hips in many ballet tasks limit the ability of the legs to contribute to postural control. This project proposes to explore the postural control mechanisms that ballet dancers use to achieve balance in performance of advanced ballet techniques.
February 2017 – December 2019