The Airplane Test

Lynn Batalden, physical therapist, physical therapy, dekalb, IL
Lynn Batalden, DPT, OCS

Lynn Batalden, DPT, OCS has recently contributed an article to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) that will be sent out to the members of the APTA’s special interest group for the performing arts.  The type of article is called a “critically appraised topic,” which means that Lynn looked for all available research on the topic, reviewed the quality of the research, and reported on the findings to make it easier for fellow physical therapists to quickly come up to date on the topic. The topic she chose related to ballet dancers who are getting ready to dance with point shoes up on their toes. This article addresses which physical tests are useful to help identify dancers who are ready for the training, what injury risks dancers face, and the role of the dance teacher in identifying appropriate dancers. The practice of using the age of the dancer or the years of training is being found not to be the best way of predicting success and rather focusing on movement control, mastery of technique, and maturity of the dancer to be ready for the demands of training. Lynn hopes to partner with area dance studios to help implement good screening practices in the future.

The video below illustrates “the airplane test,” one of the tools that may be used to identify when young dancers are ready to dance en pointe.

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