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Energy Requirements of the American Professional Flamenco Dancer

M. Elizabeth Pedersen, M. Virginia Wilmerding, Brenna T. Kuhn, Eva Enciñias-Sandova
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 16 Number 2: Page 47 (June 2001)

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Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the aerobic and anaerobic capacities of professional American flamenco dancers in order to understand the energy requirements of this dance form. Eleven professional flamenco dancers from Albuquerque, New Mexico, provided a convenience sample (men = 4 and women = 7). There were three components to the testing: body composition measured with skinfold calipers, maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max) as determined by a graded exercise test with measured expired gases, and anaerobic capacity measured with a Wingate test. The mean age of the dancers was 28.45 years (24-44 years) and there was a mean of 13.5 years of performance experience (2-40 years). Both men and women were below average in terms of body composition, with a mean of 9.96% body fat (BF) for men (5.25-13.09%BF) and 16.35%BF for women (12.96-20.17%BF). Mean maximum aerobic capacity was 51.63 mL . kg-1 . min-1 for men (40.7-59.5 mL . kg-1 . min-1) and 38.78 mL . kg-1 . min-1 for women (32.9-43.8 mL . kg-1 . min-1), categorizing both as above average for their respective sexes. Results of the Wingate test gave a mean peak power of 16.2 W/kg (13.7-18.3 W/kg) and 11.3 W/kg (8.6-14.3 W/kg) for men and women, respectively; with a fatigue index of 65.5% (62-74%) for men and 56.1% (35.2-68.1%) for women. These results are nearly 25% higher than other published data on anaerobic athletes. Thus, flamenco dancers have a substantial anaerobic power output. Based upon the results of this study, it is suggested that the training of flamenco dancers include an aerobic and an anaerobic component.

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