Dance IS a sport


Courtesy of Keven Eddy

Fifty sit-ups.  Triple pirouettes.  The biggest leap of your life. Performing in front of hundreds of people and professional judges. Intense feet and leg drills. Walking out of practice after five hours, coming home to endless amounts of homework. This is the life of a competitive dancer.  I have been a competitive dancer for five years, training in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, lyrical, tap and tumbling.  Being a competitive dancer involves dedication, passion, flexibility, extraordinary technique, good comprehension for picking up choreography, courage to perform onstage and time. For years, there has been controversy on whether dance should be classified as a sport or not.

When you hear the word dance, what do you think of? Maybe ballerinas spinning and leaping on a stage, or maybe a sport that requires long hours of perfecting a number of leaps and turns all which include an extreme amount of flexibility and moves that may be challenging to some. There are many controversies on whether dance is a sport or not.   The definition of a sport is as follows from Oxford Dictionary: “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.”  Experiencing a dance class, depending on the style, involves core training, technique strengthening in the feet and arms, balancing exercises, deep stretching of the legs and back and drills for leap and turning sequences.

Being part of a dance team includes traveling to different competitions to compete against hundreds or thousands of dancers all around the world that all have the same goal, to win.  In a softball tournament, for example, you compete to win first, second, or third place.  This is the same setup as a dance competition, however there are different categories the participant can be placed in, unlike other sports.  

Oxford dictionary defines a sport as something that  involves physical exertion in which an  individual or team competing against another or others.  Softball and dance both involve either a team or individual against others; so why are people so set that dance is not a sport, but  rather an art?  I strongly disagree with that statement.  Webster’s dictionary defines art as: “quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.”  I definitely agree that dance is most without a doubt both an art and a sport; it fits the definition of both an art and sport.   Yet the definition of art does not include the use of physical activity.  It is understandable  that a person may think dance isn’t a sport because of the fact that there is no running, throwing or serving involved like most other sports.

I conducted a Facebook poll to see what people consider dance to be, 35 out of 37 people classified dance as both a sport and an art, one person said it was not a sport, and one other person said it was an activity that involves a few turns and leaps.   Little do people know that there are more than 35 different types of leaps and turns, all which involve using different parts of your body, a variety of technique requirements, good memory and flexibility.  There are a number of challenging physical abilities that dance requires in order to perform the turn or leap correctly.  

 Any sport, just like dance, requires the participant to be dedicated and motivated to improve at what he or she is doing.  So when people say that dance, or even ping pong, is not a sport, aren’t they implying that they are not dedicated to their activity, not competing against others, and not challenged by the physical activity involved?

I strongly believe that dance is both an art and a sport; however, I can understand why one might not consider it to be.  Dance does involve competition against others,  includes physical activity, it has rules, the dancers can sustain injuries, and the the person doing the activity must be dedicated, just like any other sport.  Typically when people think of sports, usually softball, basketball, football or soccer  are what come to mind.  I really hope you consider the facts, and that dance is most definitely both a sport and an art.