A recent study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine tested just that by measuring the lower-body endurance of ballet dancers and team sports athletes.
Forty ballet dancers and 40 team athletes performed an initial test of jumping onto one leg from a 30-centimeter platform. After doing repetitions of step-ups and vertical jumps to build fatigue, they performed the jump again, and their level of fatigue was measured. Since fatigue is strongly linked to an increased risk of injuries, researchers are trying to understand biomechanical response differences between sports and dance that could help with injury prevention.
It turns out that the elite ballet dancers took significantly longer than the team athletes to reach a certain state of fatigue. The researchers thought this was most likely because of the extensive training in landing technique and the daily practice dancers undergo from childhood. Either way, it takes a ton of endurance to play team sports, so it’s impressive to know that dancers can take withstand even more. Score one for ballet!