One of the most athletic forms of dance is competitive ballroom and Latin dancing, also known as DanceSport. In international DanceSport competitions, there are five ballroom dances and five Latin dances. Dancers generally specialize in ballroom or Latin, but some dance both (i.e., they compete in all ten dances).
The dances vary in intensity but all are physically demanding. Take a look at the video below. Christopher Hawkins and Joanne Bolton demonstrate the Waltz, the first of the five ballroom dances performed in competition. Although their elegant movement appears effortless at first, a close examination of posture, poise, body rotation, single leg power, and foot strength reveals the incredible athleticism required to perform this dance at the highest level.
Intensity of DanceSport
In the earliest study of the energy demands of DanceSport, Blanksby and Reidy (1988) examined the heart rate and VO2 max (capacity to use oxygen during exercise) of competitive ballroom and Latin dancers after they performed simulated routines. Participants were 10 championship or professional ballroom couples in Western Australia in their early 20s. Measurements were conducted in two sessions. In the first, maximal values for heart rate (HR) and VO2 were obtained. In the second session, the researchers collected HR with transmitters attached to electrodes on the chest during simulated dance sequences of ballroom and Latin dance.
Each dance was performed, followed by a 15-20 second break to simulate the competitive environment. The couples waited 30 minutes, changed costumes, and then danced the second sequence. Heart rate was telemetered to enable the researchers to estimate average oxygen consumption.
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