Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Preventing Injury in Dance

Did you know that in Connecticut it is illegal to pirouette while crossing the street? To be fair, this is not simply a ballet bias, you're not allowed to walk across the street on your hands either.

When I read articles like the one linked above, I am always left wondering what the story is behind such laws. How, exactly, did the question ever come up? Sometime in Connecticut's past, someone must have been injured while pirouetting in the street.

Which leads us to today's topic, preventing injury in dance. Coventry University is researching the biomechanics of ballet and Irish dance in order to devise ways of preventing injury. The link above will take you to a video about the program which uses some of the same computer technology that has been applied to animation and video games to chart the loads on various muscles during a pirouette or a grand jete. The researchers note that ballet and step dancers are especially prone to injury, and by scientifically charting what is happening to the body they hope to come up with says of preventing such problems.

[Note: the video requires the Quicktime plug-in. I was unable to get it to play in Firefox.]