CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Sports Med Int Open 2019; 03(01): E1-E5
DOI: 10.1055/a-0798-3570
Clinical Sciences
Eigentümer und Copyright ©Georg Thieme Verlag KG 2018

The Physical Attributes Most Required in Professional Ballet: A Delphi Study

Moira Cameron McCormack
1   Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
2   The Royal Ballet Company, Healthcare, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Howard Bird
1   Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Akbar de Medici
1   Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Fares Haddad
1   Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Jane Simmonds
1   Institute of Sport Exercise and Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 27 March 2018
revised 30 September 2018

accepted 02 November 2018

Publication Date:
20 December 2018 (online)


Background It is commonly accepted that dancers are undoubtedly athletes, with ballet perhaps the most demanding dance form. No previous study has sought to define the physical attributes most desired for classical ballet by professional companies and vocational schools. These are likely to include both aesthetic features and attributes that reduce the risk of injury as well as enhance performance.

Method An initial survey question using the modified Delphi technique was sent using Opinio Survey Software to a selected international expert panel. This was drawn both from those involved in selection of elite professional ballet dancers, and the international medical professionals involved in the care of dancers. The first questionnaire was open-ended to scope for all the physical attributes most favoured by the professional experts.

Results There were 148 responses from the panel of international experts. In total 34 physical attributes were suggested. The 2 most recommended physical criteria for selection into the profession were overall flexibility and overall strength. These results are discussed in the context of the published literature on the mechanics, anatomy and physiology of ballet.

Conclusion Flexibility and strength are the 2 features most sought after in elite ballet dancers.

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