Multi-segmental postural coordination in professional ballet dancers

Adam W. Kiefer, Michael A. Riley, Kevin Shockley, Candace A. Sitton, Timothy E. Hewett, Sarah Cummins-Sebree, Jacqui G. Haas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-80
Number of pages5
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2011



  • Ballet
  • Coordination
  • Cross-recurrence quantification analysis
  • Postural control
  • Relative phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

Cite this

Kiefer, A. W., Riley, M. A., Shockley, K., Sitton, C. A., Hewett, T. E., Cummins-Sebree, S., & Haas, J. G. (2011). Multi-segmental postural coordination in professional ballet dancers. Gait and Posture, 34(1), 76-80.