The purpose of this study was to investigate balance and motor control in dancers and non-dancers with different foot positions. Physically active female dancers (n = 11) and non-dancers (n = 9) randomly completed two balance tests in a single visit: 1) Y-balance test (YBT), and 2) motor control test (MCT). Each test was completed with two different foot positions: 1) first ballet position in which heels were touching and feet were externally rotated to 140 degrees, and 2) sixth ballet position in which heels were spaced 10 cm apart and forward parallel. For the YBT, participants completed three attempts at anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reaches, which were averaged and standardized to limb length for a composite score. For the MCT, participants completed a multi-directional target test on a Biosway balance system, and accuracy and time to completion were analyzed. Findings revealed no differences in YBT score (p = 0.255), MCT score (p = 0.383), or MCT time (p = 0.306) between groups in the sixth position. However, dancers displayed better YBT scores (p = 0.036), MCT scores (p = 0.020), and faster MCT times (p = 0.009) in the first position. Results suggest that superior balance and motor control in dancers may be limited to less innate dance-specific foot positions.
Keywords: Y balance test; first position; motor control test; stability.