Perspectives of Ballet Dancers on Causes of Their Injuries and Implementation of Injury Preventive Measures by Ballet Teachers and Masters

Judith Elisa Kaufmann*, Janine H. Stubbe, Rob G.H.H. Nelissen, Maaike G.J. Gademan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Ballet dancers have a high injury risk. We aimed to gain insight into the causes for acute and overuse injuries in ballet dancers and the level of implementation of injury prevention by ballet teachers/masters, as perceived by dancers. METHODS: An international cross-sectional online-survey was based on the Fit-to-Dance Questionnaire and literature. Adult amateur, pre-professional, and professional ballet dancers reported the perceived causes of their injuries sustained in the previous 2 years. Multiple answers per injury were possible. Also, dancers rated the level of implementation of measures to prevent injury by their ballet teachers and ballet masters based on 21 items using a 5-point Likert scale. Causes were analyzed per-injury as well as per-dancer. RESULTS: 188 ballet ensembles and 51 dance organizations were contacted, from which 192 ballet dancers (mean age 27 ±7.8 yrs, 83% females) responded. 119 dancers (62%) reported 203 acute and 164 (85%) reported 469 overuse injuries. Fatigue was the most frequently perceived cause for acute injuries in the per-injury (n=89, 43.8%) and per-dancer analysis (n=63, 32.8%). For overuse injuries, pressure from the teacher/master was most frequently perceived as cause in the per-injury analysis (n=240, 51.2%), specifically in pre-/professional dancers (n=233, 61.3%). In the per-dancer analysis, fatigue/overtraining scored highest for overuse injuries (n=107; 55.7%). Other causes were previous/repetitive injuries (acute-per-injury 26.1%, acute-per-dancer 22.4%; overuse-per-injury 46.3%, overuse-per-dancer 53.1%) or erroneous dance technique (acute-per-injury 24.6%, acute-per-dancer 21.9%; overuse-per-injury 47.8%, overuse-per-dancer 45.3%). With regard to perceived level of implementation of injury preventive measures by ballet teachers/masters to prevent musculoskeletal injuries, 2 items received high ratings, 12 moderate ratings and 6 low ratings. CONCLUSIONS: Fatigue and pressure accounted for the majority of perceived causes for injuries. Perceived support by ballet teachers/masters regarding injury prevention was moderate to low. Future research should focus on the awareness, attitudes, and the important role of ballet teachers/masters for injury prevention in dancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-107
Number of pages15
JournalMedical Problems of Performing Artists
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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