Strengths and Weaknesses of Current Methods for Evaluating the Aerobic Power of Dancers

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The methods of measuring aerobic power in dance is reviewed. The underlying metabolic pathways used during dance class and performance are examined and, in conclusion, dance has been classified as an intermittent form of exercise. The relevancy of measuring maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) in relation to intermittent exercise is discussed with regard to other sports. Previous dance VO2max data is examined in relationship to other exercise forms and it is shown to be comparable to results in other non-endurance sports. The limitations of graded exercise tests with regards to extrapolating oxygen data from heart rates during dance has been highlighted as a flaw in a number of previous research studies and a limitation to be aware of in future research. Due to the infancy of dance science, the availability of valid and reliable laboratory and field tests are limited and, therefore, until further research is done, there needs to be a reliance on tests developed in the health and sport environments. Such tests should be graded, either in speed or gradient, with stages of at least 3 minutes and be weight-bearing. Even though no research to date has shown that dancers with improved VO2max perform better, the review suggests that both the aerobic and anaerobic systems need to be stressed to a greater extent than seen presently within dance class.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laban Centre, London, England 2: School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure, University of Wolverhampton, Birmingham, England

Publication date: March 1, 2003

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