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Med Probl Perform Art. 2012 Sep;27(3):143-55.

Electromyographic comparison of grand battement devant at the barre, in the center, and traveling.

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  • 1Department of Dance, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3, Canada.


This study examined utilization of the trunk and lower extremity muscles during grand battement devant in three conditions: at the barre (supported stationary condition in 1st position), in the center (unsupported stationary condition in 1st position), and traveling through space. Forty dancers (age 30.0 ± 13.0 yrs, height 1.63 ± 0.06 m, weight 59.0 ± 7.4 kg, and 13.9 ± 13.3 yrs of training in ballet and/or modern dance) volunteered and were placed in three skill level groups: beginner (n = 12), intermediate (n = 14), and advanced (n = 14). Dancers executed five grand battement devant in each of the three conditions in randomized order. We examined muscle activation bilaterally in eight muscles (abdominals, abductor hallucis, erector spinae, gastrocnemius, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and tibialis anterior) using surface electromyography, a three-dimensional video biomechanical tracking system to identify events, and force plates. All data were analyzed in four events: stance, initiation, peak, and end. Analysis was done using a linear mixed effects regression model with condition, event, muscle, level, and side as the fixed effects, and subject as the random effect. There were significant effects for muscle x event x condition (p<0.01) and for level x side x muscle (p<0.01). Muscle use varied according to the combination of event and condition that was executed, and these differences were also influenced by the level of training of the dancer and the side of the body used. It is recommended that dance educators consider the importance of allocating sufficient time to each of the three conditions (barre, center, and traveling) to ensure development of a variety of motor strategies and muscle activation levels for dance practice.

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