Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Dr. Feng Yang

Second Advisor

Dr. Jianhua Wu

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Ingalls

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Pey-Shan Wen

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Madeleine Hackney


Ballroom dance has become increasingly more popular in competition, recreation, and rehabilitation settings. However, little is known about its movement pattern from the biomechanical perspective. This knowledge gap could impede the development of approaches for improving dance performance and the successful implementation of ballroom dance into rehabilitation programs. It is also unknown whether the biomechanics of ballroom dance differ between genders given gender-related anatomical differences. The overall goal of this study was to gain a better understanding of the movement patterns associated with ballroom dance movements. Two specific aims were explored in this project: 1) to quantify the kinetics, kinematics and muscle activity for five rhythm ballroom dance elements in professional ballroom dancers compared to recreational and inexperienced ballroom dancers, and 2) to compare the ballroom dance biomechanics between men and women within the three levels of participants. A total of 56 healthy individuals aged 18 to 42 were recruited for this study. Participants performed five rhythm ballroom dance elements – forward/backward step, side step, rock step, triple step, and a spot turn – both with and without a partner, followed by maximal voluntary isometric contractions at the ankle, knee, and hip. Lower extremity kinetics, kinematics, and muscle activity were collected using a nine-camera VICON motion capture system, two embedded AMTI force plates, and 10 Delsys Trigno wireless EMG sensors. Results from the primary variables illustrated greater external forces and decreased joint power in the inexperienced dance level compared to the more experienced levels, as well as greater joint power for males compared to females. This study expands our understanding of the biomechanical characteristics associated with ballroom dance, and provides a reference for developing approaches to improve dance performance, and improve mobility among various populations.


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