Dancer Perceptions Of The Force Reduction Of Dance Floors Used By A Professional Touring Ballet Company
J Michael Ryan
Faculty of Education and Arts
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) / ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
The mechanical properties of dance floors have the potential to influence dancers' performance and injury risk. Little information is available that describes dancers' preferences for dance floor mechanical properties. Investigation of dancers' perceptions of varied dance floors can serve to enlighten governing bodies, floor manufacturers, and the dance community. The aim of this study was to assess the perceptions of dancers from a touring professional ballet company regarding four floors with varied force reduction (FR) that were created to replicate those used by the company in normal dance training and performance. A specialized questionnaire was developed that incorporated a series of qualitative and quantitative measures that could be used by participants to express their perceptions of the custom built dance floors. Floor FR was quantified with reference to the protocols specified by European standards. Dancer perceptions were in general agreement with floor FR values; however, some discrepancies were observed. Dancers expressed a preference for floor FR within the mid to upper limits (57% to 72%) of the European standards, although a minority preferred low FR (approximately 36%) floors. A limited ability to perceive inconsistencies in FR across test floors was observed, which may have implications for injury risk. Investigation of the perceptions of dancers from more diverse backgrounds, on floors that provide a closer representation of typical dance studio and stage sizes, over longer periods of time, would provide further insight into the perceptual and adaptive responses of dancers to varied floor mechanical properties.