ESPN Sport Science Meets THE LION KING: Stamina


[singing] For the Broadway cast
of The Lion King… ♪ Circle of life ♪ Each show is much more than singing, dancing
and hitting your marks. Every two and a half hour
performance requires serious athleticism! Especially in the form
of stamina. To better understand
the endurance necessary to perform
in the award winning musical, we enlisted cast member,
India Bolds. [singing] Amazingly, during the show, she portrays
nine different characters. Including a lioness,
hyena, gazelle and even the grass
of the pride lands. So you have to be
a tremendous athlete to pull all that off,
especially with your endurance. Absolutely. It’s one of those roles where you have
to really pace yourself, I think I’m certainly moving
throughout the entire show. I get maybe a minute or two to rest and sit down
and take a breather. Before India
dons her first costume, we wire her up
with a high tech bioharness. This wireless sensor
will measure her breathing, heart rate and movements to help us analyze
her athleticism during the show. Now when they’re performing, cast members
are always in motion. And India might be busier
off stage, as she changes costumes
14 times! Into another costume! This virtually non-stop pace is reflected in data recorded
by the bioharness. India’s heart rate averages
125 beats per minute and peaks at 192! [music playing] And with a breathing rate that peaks at up to
40 breaths per minute… [music playing] India demonstrates why dancers
have an aerobic capacity on par
with elite soccer players. When you’re out on the stage, you obviously
are exercising quite a bit, when you come back here
the energy is so crazy, you don’t have
any time to rest. Not enough time, no,
because as much as I’m on stage
performing, I’m off stage performing
as well. Surprisingly, another factor
contributing to India’s stamina is that The Lion King
is a musical. ♪ So you’re my savior
Thanks a bunch ♪ And music has been shown
to improve almost all aspects of physical performance. For example, studies have shown
that when vigorous activity is performed in time to music,
endurance can increase by 15%. -You’re pretty winded right now.
-Oh, yeah. Yeah, I was doing
a lot of running. How’s your endurance feeling? I’m feeling pretty good,
you know, I’m lifted, I’m energized. Because her entrances come
from both sides of the stage, India covers a lot of ground
by making numerous trips down and up stairs to get from one side
of the stage to the other. In fact, all told,
during the course of the show, India travels almost 2.7 miles! That’s farther than
NBA MVP Point Guard, Steph Curry averages
during an NBA game. What do you have to tell people
who might look at a show and think
“Well, I might be able to just step in and do that”? It is not easy! It’s fun, it’s amazing,
it’s extraordinary but it is hard work. For ESPN Sports Science,
backstage on Broadway, I’m John Brenkus.

11 Replies to “ESPN Sport Science Meets THE LION KING: Stamina”

  1. This is so true! I do theatre (it is not as hard as this) but there is definitely alot of stuff going on behind the scenes.

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