Raising the barre: how science is saving ballet dancers

Could new science and high-tech training protect dancers from the injuries that end so many of their careers far too early?

At the Royal Opera House in London, home of the Royal Ballet, art is fusing with science to revolutionise the way dancers prepare. In the glass-panelled healthcare suite, ballerinas are standing on high-tech force platforms which analyse their leg power, and gripping barbells fitted with linear encoders to track their lifting velocity. This is how modern dancers fortify their joints and boost the dazzling height of their grands jetés. With their hair in buns and pink pointe shoes poking out of their gym bags, the ballerinas shift weights with such power that staff have installed padding to spare the nerves of the costume department below.

Principal dancers Marianela Nuñez and Alexander Campbell glide past. More arrive in white tutus, fresh from rehearsals for Swan Lake; a graceful, giggling wave of youthful energy, chatting about barbecues and Instagram. Some complete bespoke cardio drills, calibrated using oxygen-uptake tests, to get fit for quick-tempo allegro routines. Others strengthen their soleus calf muscles, which on-site electromyography (EMG) analysis suggests can help stabilise their ankles. Every workout is uploaded to Smartabase, a data-analysis platform also used by the US military. Meanwhile, fatigued dancers apply Game Ready leg wraps, which harness Nasa space-suit technology to deliver tissue-repairing cold therapy, and learn how adding omega-3-rich anchovies to their salads can reduce muscle inflammation.

Read the full article on The Guardian 

More From the Blog

Moving from a Culture of Testing to a Culture of Fitness in the Military

MOVING FROM A CULTURE OF TESTING TO A CULTURE OF FITNESS IN THE MILITARY

By Tricia Sterland and Dave Grant   Force readiness and lethality are two of the military’s most important aims. To …

Useful Force Plate Metrics for Athletic Performance

USEFUL FORCE PLATE METRICS FOR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE

By Jesse Green Force plates can be useful in many facets of human performance, including baseline assessments, return to performance …

HPO Battle Cards for Sports

HUMAN PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZATION BATTLE CARDS FOR SPORTS

GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring were two of the first technologies to go mainstream in elite sports. Since then, …

HPO Battle Cards - Military

HUMAN PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZATION BATTLE CARDS FOR MILITARY

For many years, the main performance aims in the military were to ensure service members stayed consistent with physical training …

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Ⓒ 2022 Fusion Sport Inc. dba Smartabase. All rights reserved.

Click to access the login or register cheese