Pilot study of a targeted dance class for physical rehabilitation in children with cerebral palsy

Citlali López-Ortiz, Tara Egan, Deborah J Gaebler-spira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: This pilot study evaluates the effects of a targeted dance class utilizing classical ballet principles for rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy on balance and upper extremity control.

Methods: Twelve children with cerebral palsy (ages 7–15 years) with Gross Motor Function Classification scores II–IV participated in this study and were assigned to either a control group or targeted dance class group. Targeted dance class group participated in 1-h classes three times per week in a 4-week period. The Pediatric Balance Scale and the Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test were administered before, after, and 1 month after the targeted dance class.

Results: Improvements in the Pediatric Balance Scale were present in the targeted dance class group in before versus after and before versus 1 month follow-up comparisons (p-value = 0.0088 and p-value = 0.019, respectively). The Pediatric Balance Scale changes were not significant in the control group. The Quality of Upper Extremity Skills Test did not reach statistical differences in either group.

Conclusion: Classical ballet as an art form involves physical training, musical accompaniment, social interactions, and emotional expression that could serve as adjunct to traditional physical therapy. This pilot study demonstrated improvements in balance control. A larger study with a more homogeneous sample is warranted.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages5
JournalSAGE Open Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 25 2016


  • cerebral palsy
  • pediatric rehabilitation
  • targeted dance class
  • Pediatric Balance Scale
  • pilot study


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