October 2015

Hip hop study finds excessive joint angles that could affect injury risk

In the moment: Dance

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Excessive peak angles in weightbearing joints during hip hop dance may contribute to lower extremity injuries in this population, according to a September 2015 study published in Medical Problems of Performing Artists.

Researchers from the Analysis of Dance and Movement Center and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, both in New York City, analyzed the hip, knee, and ankle kinematics of six expert female hip hop dancers as they performed three choreographed sequences representative of top rock, breaking (breakdance), and house dance styles.

The investigators found the maximal joint angles associated with hip hop dance exceeded previously published values associated with activities of daily living and gymnastics. Peak angles during the breaking sequence were higher than the other two sequences for the majority of planes and joints

The finding that much of hip hop dance occurs at the end ranges of weightbearing joints, where muscles are at a functional disadvantage, may help explain the incidence of lower extremity injuries in these dancers, the authors hypothesized.


Bronner S, Ojofeitimi S, Woo H. Extreme kinematics in selected hip hop dance sequences. Med Probl Perform Art 2015;30(3):126-134.

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