Welcome to the Dance Fitness Indicator© (DFI) website.

The DFI is a high intensity dance fitness test and training tool, designed at Middlesex University, that can be used to test, monitor, and develop the fitness levels of dancers, available to purchase.

The DFI was originally conceptualised in 2006 by Trish Liggett, and the final year BA Dance Science students in 2006, including Kate Rogan who went on to develop this concept in 2010, creating what is now the DFI. Since this time, the DFI has been used within the undergraduate Dance Programmes at Middlesex University, and is now integrated into the dance curriculum.

The DFI was designed by dancers, for dancers, therefore has a high dance technique element, which differs to other dance fitness tests, and appeals to dancers through its relevance. The choreography has been created to relate to dance fitness elements, with movements drawing from the contemporary/modern dance techniques of Cunningham, Graham/Cohan, and Humphrey/Limon (however is also suitable for a wider range of dance styles e.g., jazz), and is suitable for a wide range of dance levels, including recreational, vocational, and professional dancers.  

The DFI was designed to work as an indicator, to help dancers identify what elements of their fitness needed addressing, so that their fitness levels did not compromise their dance technique/performance. The criteria allow dancers and teachers to measure their cardiovascular fitness through heart rate (HR) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE). In addition, the DFI also allows dancers to identify if other elements of fitness need addressing through the choreographed movement that directly relates to fitness (e.g., press ups = weight bearing upper body strength; jumps = power).

Both quantitative and qualitative measurements can be done, through quantitative HR and RPE, and completing the qualitative movement criteria that relates to dance technique/performance. Preliminary data has shown the DFI to be high intensity, and effective by dancers. Pilot scientific testing has also demonstrated that the DFI is high intensity, and reliable when measuring HR, RPE, and blood lactate (BLa), with level 4 reaching age-predicted HR max between 75% – 103%, RPE 17, and BLa 9mmol.L-1.

The DFI is available for all dancers to learn and use through an online package that consists of video footage (with teaching and full run sections), original music tracks, and a supportive information package.


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