Ballet dancers have heightened balance skills, but previous studies that compared dancers to non-dancers have not quantified patterns of multi-joint postural coordination. This study utilized a visual tracking task that required professional ballet dancers and untrained control participants to sway with the fore-aft motion of a target while standing on one leg, at target frequencies of 0.2 and 0.6. Hz. The mean and variability of relative phase between the ankle and hip, and measures from cross-recurrence quantification analysis (i.e., percent cross-recurrence, percent cross-determinism, and cross-maxline), indexed the coordination patterns and their stability. Dancers exhibited less variable ankle-hip coordination and a less deterministic ankle-hip coupling, compared to controls. The results indicate that ballet dancers have increased coordination stability, potentially achieved through enhanced neuromuscular control and/or perceptual sensitivity, and indicate proficiency at optimizing the constraints that enable dancers to perform complex balance tasks.
- Cross-recurrence quantification analysis
- Postural control
- Relative phase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine