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Date of Award
Dr. Qin Lai
Dancers are notorious for embodying an extraordinary amount of drive to improve in their art form as artistic athletes. Because they execute highly demanding movements, they require a neurological system that is especially fine-tuned, and that includes balance. Their balance skills must surpass that of the general public. The purpose of this study was to determine if a relationship exists between Pilates and Balance in dancers. Previous research in Dance Science has investigated the effects of Pilates on the posture imbalances commonly found in dancers and concluded that their imbalances decreased as a result. The topic of balance, however, has not been researched as much. A total of 20 dancers ages 11-25 participated in this study. The methods included two functional tests and two computerized laboratory tests. The two functional tests included the Pointe Airplane Test, a functional test (well-known in the dance world) that determines a dancer’s level of Pointe-readiness, and a Standing Leg Test, which requires the dancer to stand on their dominant leg with their eyes closed. The two computerized tests were administered on the Balance Master System, known as the Unilateral Stance Test and the Forward Lunge Test. The Balance Master Machine is a computerized force-plate technology comprised of “load cells” that transmit force information to the computer at a speed of 100 times per second. This allows the Balance Master to calculate precise measurements like Center of Pressure, Postural Sway, and Center of Gravity. The Forward Lunge test resulted in a 2 (Pilates & Non-Pilates) x 2 (Pre & Post Tests) ANOVA with repeated measures on Test found significant difference on test for left leg [F(1,18) = 7.79, p < .05], and interactions (p <.05) on contact time for left and right leg and force impulse for left leg. SNK Post-Hoc test indicated Post Test had more range of motion for left forward lunge. A simple mean effect indicated Pilates group has more contact time and force impulse compared to Non-Pilates group on Post-Test only. The Unilateral Stance resulted in a 2 (Pilates & Non-Pilates) x 2 (Pre & Post Tests) ANOVA with repeated measures on Test found no difference (p >.05) in the COG sway velocity for both right and left sides with eyes open or closed. For the Functional Tests, A 2 (Pilates & Non-Pilates) x 2 (Pre & Post Tests) ANOVA with repeated measures on Test revealed interactions on PAT (F(1,18) = 28.17, p<.01], and Test difference on SLT (F(1,18) = 13.9, p<.01]. A simple mean effect indicated only Pilates Group improved PAT performance across tests. SNK Post-Hoc Test indicated both groups improved SLT performance across tests. The present results indicated that Pilates Training only produced effects on the Functional Tests. It appears that the 6-wk Pilates facilitated dancers’ balance performance with contestable function tasks but not standard laboratory motor tasks.
Haralambis, Maria, "Effect Of Pilates Technique On Dancers' Balance: Biomechanical & Functional Analyses" (2020). Wayne State University Theses. 772.