Musculoskeletal Injury in Professional Dancers: Prevalence and Associated Factors: An International Cross-Sectional Study

Clin J Sport Med. 2017 Mar;27(2):153-160. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000314.


Objective: The purpose of the study was to determine the prevalence and factors associated with injury in professional ballet and modern dancers, and assess if dancers are reporting their injuries and explore reasons for not reporting injuries.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Participants were recruited from nine professional ballet and modern dance companies in Canada, Denmark, Israel, and Sweden.

Participants: Professional ballet and modern dancers.

Independent variables: Sociodemographic variables included age, sex, height, weight, and before-tax yearly or monthly income. Dance specific characteristics included number of years in present dance company, number of years dancing professionally, number of years dancing total, and rank in the company.

Main outcome measures: Self-reported injury and Self-Estimated Functional Inability because of Pain.

Results: A total of 260 dancers participated in the study with an overall response rate of 81%. The point prevalence of self-reported injury in professional ballet and modern dancers was 54.8% (95% CI, 47.7-62.1) and 46.3% (95% CI, 35.5-57.1), respectively. Number of years dancing professionally (OR = 4.4, 95% CI, 1.6-12.3) and rank (OR = 2.4, 95% CI, 1.2-4.8) were associated with injury in ballet dancers. More than 15% of all injured dancers had not reported their injury and their reasons for not reporting injury varied.

Conclusions: The prevalence of injury is high in professional dancers with a significant percentage not reporting their injuries for a variety of reasons. Number of years dancing and rank are associated with injury in professional ballet dancers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dancing / injuries*
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Young Adult