College of Fine Arts and Communication

 2014-2015 CFAC Research and Creative Activity Grant Winners

Determining the effects of a dance-specific warm-up protocol to enhance pelvic alignment in university ballet dancers

Teal Darkenwald


Hypermobility and flexibility are commonly sought after for dancers; however, it is necessary to minimize excessive lumbar lordosis and pelvic instability in order to control the extreme range of motion in dancers. Also, it is rare to find dance-specific warm-ups included in dance training at any level. Existing literature suggests that general pelvic stabilization training and somatic training may reduce lumbar lordosis and improve pelvic stability. Because the timing and type of a supplemental training intervention can have an impact on the dancers’ ability to access the pelvic alignment changes in technique class, the purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a 10-week dance specific anaerobic warm-up (DSAW) on pelvic alignment in dancers.


Sixteen ballet dancers from the dance majors’ beginning ballet class volunteered to be in either the intervention or control groups. The intervention group attended a DSAW twice weekly for 10 weeks, while the control group abstained. Pelvic alignment data were obtained and analyzed using 3D motion capture during a singular pre-intervention test and two post-intervention tests. A five-interval ballet barre sequence was employed during testing. Average anterior pelvic angles were assessed and flagged if greater than 11.4°, the maximum pelvic angle considered acceptable


DSAW decreased the number of unacceptable events (pelvic angle > 11.4°; whereas control remained consistent. Most intervals between Pre and Post1 had significant improvements in pelvic alignment and all intervals had significant improvement between Post1 and Post2 in the intervention group. Excessive anterior pelvic tilt was observed as a common misalignment among university ballet dancers. A 10-week DSAW may be one method for improving pelvic alignment when conducted as a warm-up prior to training.



Dance Filmmaking: Three Sisters

John Dixon


John Dixon used grant support to purchase an exceptional camera for low-light filming. Following a introductory period with the device, he shot a dance film inspired by Chekhov’s Three Sisters. The work was filmed in the R.A. Fountain General Store and in the surrounding countryside, using dancers Kaitlin Davis, Sarah Glover, Kelsie Jayne and Sarah Kleinke as both talent and creative contributors.



Decreasing Cardioverter Defibrillator Shock Anxiety

Keith Richards


An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a lifesaving device for those with ventricular arrhythmias, which are abnormal rapid heart rhythms associated with heart attacks. There is currently little research on how these patients use online resources to gather information that can decrease their anxiety related to living with serious heart problems and an ICD.  A survey was administered through Facebook to reach patients who have an ICD to better understand how they use social media to cope with their condition. This resulted in 200 completed surveys and at least two research papers. The data analysis is still taking place to determine other potential relationships and future paper(s).


One of the studies sought to better understand how living with an ICD relates to their anxiety, social support, information seeking, acceptance, and use of online health information. The results indicated that the strongest predictor of increased anxiety was a lack of acceptance of the ICD. Another factor increasing anxiety was having been shocked by the device. Verifying health information with others online or their doctor, seeking health information, and being younger helped to decrease ICD related anxiety.


The second study specifically compared those under age 50 against those over the age of 50 regarding their ICD. For ICD patients under age 50, an ICD will be implanted within their bodies for many years to come, and these patients showed signs of higher anxiety and are at risk for significant psychological distress related to uncertainties about their ICD.  ICD patients are using social networking platforms to share information with one another, which can help to increase their knowledge and decrease potentially debilitating anxiety. Understanding how to reach these individuals online provides an opportunity to increase their acceptance of their ICD, which can greatly decrease their anxiety.


Each paper was submitted for presentation at a national conference and to a health communication related journal. The grant was instrumental in providing an incentive (Amazon gift card) to attract participants as this is a difficult population to reach.



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