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A Bibliographic Review of Medicine and Science Research in DanceSport

Teri Riding McCabe, Matthew Wyon, Jatin P. Ambegaonkar, Emma Redding
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 28 Number 2: Page 70 (June 2013)

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Abstract: DanceSport is the competitive form of ballroom dancing, and even though it has more participants worldwide than ballet and modern dance, there is less peer-reviewed research. A review was conducted to identify all relevant literature to help researchers and clinicians gain an enhanced understanding of dancesport. Eight databases were searched, with 34 articles found in topics including participation motives, psychology, exercise physiology, fitness training, injuries and injury prevention, biomechanics, menstrual dysfunction, and substance use. Our results indicate that researchers have been inconsistently recording and reporting anthropometric and dancesport data; for example, 31 studies separated participants by gender, 21 included the competition classification of dancers, 19 reported which style of dancesport participants competed in, and 13 described the participants as a dance couple. Common injuries affected the neck, shoulder, spine, knee, lower leg, and foot. Dancesport is in the very heavy to extremely heavy category in energy expenditure (mean heart rate: male 175.2 ± 10.7, female 178.6 ± 8.6 bpm) and utilizes both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Alpha-beta and heart rate variability intervention techniques are reported to successfully enhance performance in dancers. Dancesport participants also appear less likely to smoke cigarettes, but have little knowledge about anti-doping rules. During events, professionals danced farther (30 m) and faster (0.3 m/sec) than junior dancers. Female competitors were more likely to be eumenorrheic. Dancesport is a physically and mentally demanding competitive sport, but there is a need to standardize measurements in future studies to allow comparison.

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