Cassidy Perry, Takudzwa Madzima, Renay Aumiller. Elon University, Elon, NC.

BACKGROUND: The interaction between physical demand and the visual aesthetic of dance has grown more complex as society moves toward combining physical and mental fitness to encourage body positivity. Dancers have historically monitored their weight and body shape to optimize performance; however, this study aims to investigate correlations between a dancer’s training, body composition, and overall performance. The results will encourage a separation between physicality and aesthetics that will foster a more positive body image and efficient movement patterns. METHODS: This project requires a mixed methods approach. Quantitative data will be collected from professionally trained female dancers ages 18 to 30 years old via body composition (fat mass, fat-free mass, body water, etc.) and strength, flexibility, control, and power tasks. A dynamometer will be used to measure the force created in key muscles, including the quadriceps and biceps. Dancers will be tested for control with a star excursion balance test, flexibility with a sit and reach, and power with a vertical jump test. Additionally, a qualitative performance study will assess deliberately selected movements to highlight the transferability of skill onto a simple movement phrase. ANTICIPATED RESULTS: Preliminary data suggest that ballet dancers will have greater flexibility measures while modern and West African dancers may have higher strength measures. Broadway jazz will likely occupy the middle of the range for all of the criteria because it is composed of influences from the other styles being studied. Performatively, ballet technique will result in a much more lifted and effortless quality, while the other dance styles will demonstrate more forceful and weighted movement. The different performance qualities from each dance genre highlight the biomechanical variance from one dancer to another due to their learned movement patterns.

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