The Relationship between Hamstring Flexibility and Level of Competitive Irish Dancers
Keywords:Irish Dance, Hamstring Flexibility
The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential relationship between hamstring flexibility and competitive level of Irish dancers. Since the premier of Riverdance in 1994, Irish dance has grown in population and has geologically spread to locations previously unassociated with Irish culture. Resulting from these changes has been the establishment of more and larger competitions, as well as increased athleticism in the dance form. This study followed a quasi-experimental approach, and dancers volunteered to participate. Participants were first asked verbal questions for secondary data collection and data on performance level. Hamstring flexibility was then measured using the Straight Leg Raise (SLR) test for analysis. The data support the conclusion that higher level Irish dancers have higher hamstring flexibility than lower level dancers. Irish dancers seeking to advance into higher competition levels may use this information to incorporate more flexibility building into their training. Likewise, Irish dance instructors may devote more instruction time to assisting their students in building their hamstring flexibility efficiently and properly. Future researchers may investigate similar studies with other physical aspects, such as flexibility in the quadriceps. Alternatively, researchers may investigate the extent to which Irish dance adjudicators seek out high hamstring flexibility in the dancers they judge in comparison to more traditional aspects of Irish dance.
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