Fitness in contemporary dance: A systematic review
Has been suggested that dancers are less fit compared to other athletes. However, the majority of studies make their arguments based on data deriving mainly from ballet. Therefore, the aim of the current review was to investigate: A) aerobic and anaerobic fitness, muscular strength and body composition characteristics in contemporary dancers of different levels, and b) whether supplementary exercise interventions, in addition to normal dance training, further improves contemporary dance performance. Three databases (Medline, Cochrane and the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health research database) were searched to identify publications regarding the main fitness components of contemporary professional and student dancers. At a professional level, it appears that contemporary dancers demonstrate higher maximal oxygen uptake and higher scores in muscular endurance than ballet dancers. However, contemporary dance students are equally fit compared to their ballet counterparts and their body composition is also very similar. Only two studies have investigated the effects of supplementary exercise training on aspects of dance performance. Further research is needed in order to confirm preliminary data, which suggest that the implementation of additional fitness training is beneficial for contemporary dance students to achieve a better performance outcome.