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Anthropometry, Somatotypes, and Aerobic Power in Ballet, Contemporary Dance, and DanceSport

Helena Liiv, Matthew A. Wyon, Toivo Jürimäe, Meeli Saar, Jarek Mäestu, Jaak Jürimäe
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 28 Number 4: Page 207 (December 2013)

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Abstract: This study compared anthropometric variables, somatotypes, and aerobic capacity between three groups of dancers: classical ballet dancers (M 33, F 56), contemporary dancers (M 28, F 109), and dancesport dancers (M 30, F 30). The assumption was that different functional requirements should produce differences in the anthropometric and aerobic capacity variables among the three groups. Anthropometric data for body mass index (BMI) and somatotypes were measured. Body fat percentage was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Maximal oxygen consumption and aerobic power were measured during an incremental treadmill test until exhaustion. Dancesport athletes were taller compared with same gender contemporary dancers (p<0.05). Female ballet dancers had a lower body mass and BMI compared with their contemporary dance and dancesport equivalents (p<0.001). There was significant difference between dance styles in endomorphy (F2,221 = 8.773, p<0.001) and mesomorphy (F2,221 = 21.458, p<0.001) scores. Dancesport dancers had significantly greater VO2max values (p<0.01). It was concluded that female contemporary dancers are generally more muscular than their ballet counterparts, while dancesport dancers are taller and heavier, less muscular, with slightly greater adioposity compared to the classical ballet dancers. Ballet dancers had the lowest body fat percentage, weight, and BMI values. Dancesport dancers had greater aerobic capacity than the ballet dancers. Based on this study, we conclude that dancers in these three styles differ in some aspects of anthropometric variables, somatotypes, and aerobic capacity, but we cannot say is it because of the training or selection or both.

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