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Title: Evaluation of physical fitness in relation to performance and injury severity in contemporary dance
Author: Angioi, Manuela
ISNI:       0000 0004 2688 7594
Awarding Body: University of Wolverhampton
Current Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Date of Award: 2010
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Dance has attracted little scientific interest on the effects of physical fitness improvements on performance and injury severity, particularly with respect to contemporary dance. The main aims of the current work were: a) to observe the physical demands of dance performance; b) to develop a reliable dance-specific performance tool; c) to assess the association between selected physical fitness parameters and performance in contemporary dance by using a new reliable method (AC test); d) to assess selected physical fitness parameters in relation to injury severity in contemporary dance; e) to study the effects of increased fitness parameters on performance through a randomized controlled trial. A total of 50 performances, performed by 20 dancers, were monitored by using a portable accelerometers (SWA armbands) and heart rate monitors while 45 performances in DVDs were video analysed. Six dancers and two dance teachers were recruited to test a newly developed performance tool. A sample made of 41 dancers were recruited and assessed for aerobic fitness (DAFT), lower body muscular power (jump height test), upper body muscular endurance (press-ups test), flexibility (active and passive hip ROM), body composition (skinfolds), performance (n=17) and injury severity (n=16). In order to investigate the effects of the supplementary fitness training on performance, 24 of the total 41 dancers, were randomly assigned to either an intervention (n=12) or control (n=12) group. The intervention group undertook a specifically designed exercise-training programme (circuit and WBV training) lasting six weeks. Both groups were re-tested for physical fitness levels and performance at the end of the intervention period. Results revealed that performance intensities varied from light to moderate while these were observed with the use of pliés and jumps as well as lifting other dancers. Based on the seven most frequently used criteria by selected pre-professional contemporary dance institutions and companies, a novel performance tool (AC tool) was developed with an inter-rater reliability of r=0.96. There was a significant correlation between aesthetic competence (AC) scores and jump ability (r=0.55) and press-ups (r=0.55), respectively. Stepwise backward multiple regression analysis revealed that the best predictor of AC was press-ups (R2=0.30, p=0.03, 95% confidence intervals=0.11–1.34). Univariate analyses also revealed that the interaction of press-ups and jump ability improved the prediction power of AC (R2=0.44, p=0.004, 95% confidence intervals=0.009–0.04). Pearson’s correlation coefficients detected significant negative correlations between the mean score recorded for injury severity (expressed as TDO) and lower body muscular power (r=-0.66; p=0.014); backward regression analysis also revealed that, from all studied parameters, the strongest predictor of TDO was lower body muscular power (p=0.014). For the intervention group repeated measures ANOVA revealed significant increases (pre vs. post) in aerobic fitness (p<0.05), lower body muscular power (p<0.05), upper body muscular endurance (p<0.05) and performance (p<0.05). Linear regression analyses indicated that the only significant predictor of AC was aerobic capacity (F=7.641; p=0.03); the interaction of press-ups and aerobic capacity (F=6.297; p=0.036), and lower body muscular power with aerobic capacity (F=5.543; p=0.05) demonstrated an improved prediction power. These results show that the observed contemporary dance performance is an intermittent type of activity of moderate intensity. Given the reliability of the AC tool, it is concluded that upper body muscular endurance and jump ability best predict AC of contemporary dancers. Reduced lower body muscular power is associated with increased severity of injuries. Finally, supplementary exercise training significantly increases lower body muscular power, upper body muscular endurance and aerobic fitness, which in turn are beneficial to improve AC of contemporary dancers.
Supervisor: Wyon, Matthew A. ; Koutedakis, Yiannis ; Metsios, Giorgos S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fitness ; Aesthetic competence ; Contemporary dance ; Injury ; Performance ; Aerobic ; Anaerobic ; Muscular strength ; Muscular power ; Body composition