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Brummel, an associate professor of dance, teamed with Dr. Jim Hackney, an associate professor of physical therapy to study the biomechanics of movement.
Their experiences—she as a former professional dancer and he as a former collegiate wrestler—and shared interest in the science of movement brought them together for a series of research projects supported by Harlequin Floors.
Bodies hard at work
Though dancers are known for their seemingly effortless ability to glide through the air and pivot on the tips of their toes, Brummel and Hackney note that dancers’ bodies are working hard in each move. They must stiffen joints, adjust trajectories and absorb forces without consciously thinking about it.
This work takes its toll on dancers who often retire in their mid-30s due to complications from overuse injuries and the impact of dancing on hard floors. When Brummel experienced these issues in her own career, she dedicated her life to spreading the love of dance to another generation.
“After my body began to give out, I returned to school and to teaching. I was always one of those people who was analyzing how to get better,” she added.
Room for more research
The insights they gained from the project inspired them to pursue follow-up research on the same topic. Their collaborative work has been published in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science and Medical Problems of Performing Artists.