Conditioning Methodologies for DanceSport: Lessons from Gymnastics, Figure Skating, and Concert Dance Research

Med Probl Perform Art. 2015 Dec;30(4):238-50. doi: 10.21091/mppa.2015.4043.


Objectives: Dancesport, the competitive branch of ballroom dancing, places high physiological and psychological demands on its practitioners, but pedagogical resources in these areas for this dance form are limited. Dancesport competitors could benefit from strategies used in other aesthetic sports. In this review, we identify conditioning methodologies from gymnastics, figure skating, and contemporary, modern, and ballet dance forms that could have relevance and suitability for dancesport training, and propose several strategies for inclusion in the current dancesport curriculum.

Methods: We reviewed articles derived from Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect, Taylor & Francis Online, and Web of Science search engines and databases, with publication dates from 1979 to 2013. The keywords included MeSH terms: dancing, gymnastics, physiology, energy metabolism, physical endurance, and range of motion. Out of 47 papers examined, 41 papers met the inclusion criteria (validity of scientific methods, topic relevance, transferability to dancesport, publication date). Quality and validity of the data were assessed by examining the methodologies in each study and comparing studies on similar populations as well as across time using the PRISMA 2009 checklist and flowchart.

Results: The relevant research suggests that macro-cycle periodization planning, aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, range of motion and muscular endurance training, and performance psychology methods have potential for adaptation for dancesport training.

Conclusions: Dancesport coaches may help their students fulfill their ambitions as competitive athletes and dance artists by adapting the relevant performance enhancement strategies from gymnastics, figure skating, and concert dance forms presented in this paper.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Dancing / injuries*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries*
  • Music*
  • Physical Endurance / physiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control