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The Development of a High Intensity Dance Performance Fitness Test

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While there is currently a validated dance-specific exercise method of measuring aerobic fitness, no such test has been developed to measure high intensity capabilities in dance. The purpose of this study was to initiate an intermittent high intensity dance-specific fitness test. The test was designed to be able to observe changes in heart rate (HR), thereby allowing for a measurement of physical fitness at high intensities. Sixteen professional dancers (4 males and 12 females) volunteered to take part in this study. The fitness test protocol consists of movements that are representative of contemporary dance, and contains exercise and rest periods that mimic the intermittent nature of dance. The participants performed four trials. The physiological variables measured were HR (b·min−1) for each one minute bout of the four minute test for all trials, oxygen uptake (VO2) throughout the test, and end blood lactate (BLa mmol·L) for each trial. In addition, five of the participants undertook a maximal oxygen uptake treadmill test, and the scores obtained were compared with those from the dance test. Results show HR consistency across each one minute bout of the test and across each of the four trials of testing for all participants, indicating that the test is reliable. There was good reliability between bouts of each trial (typical error as % of CV = 1.5), intraclass "r" = 0.8, and good reliability between the four trials (typical error as % of CV = 2.1), intraclass "r" = 0.82. There were no significant differences between the maximal VO2 and BLa scores established in the treadmill and dance tests, demonstrating validity. Thus, the results of this study indicate that the high intensity dance-specific test is a reliable and valid means of assessing and monitoring the cardiovascular fitness of dancers. The test allows dancers to be assessed within an environment that they are accustomed to (the studio), using a mode of exercise that is relevant (dance), and it is of adequate intensity to be representative of performance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laban, Creekside, London SE8 3DZ, United Kingdom. [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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