Does leg length play a determinative role for success in ballet?

A unique 2009 research project quantified (for the first time) the changes in elevation angles of ballet dancers’ legs between 1946 and 2004. Now a new study has examined (again for the first time) leg-length in relation to selected ballet performance indicators.

“The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationships between leg length and selected dance movements representative of power, dexterity, and range motion, in a sample of female ballet dancers ranging from recreational to professional standards.”

The researchers found that long legs (when thought of as long levers) :

“[…] are advantageous only when the associated muscles are strong enough to bring about their maximum function.”

Furthermore :

“A shorter leg can cope with inertia better than a longer one, as the later requires greater muscular strength in order to move.”

Thus, in conclusion :

“We found no clear evidence that leg length plays a determinative role for success in ballet.”

See: Leg-Length in Relation to Selected Ballet Performance Indicators in Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 32 Number 3: Page 165 (September 2017).

Also See: Attractiveness of Leg Length (updated)

The photo shows ballerinas Pierina Legnani as Medora (right) and Olga Preobrajenskaya as Gulnare (left) in the scene Le jardin animé from the ballet Le Corsaire, 1899.

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