Is Dance Really A Sport?

Claire Hathaway, Editor in Chief, Sophomore

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Many people all over the world have debated for a long time on whether dance is viewed as a sport.  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines sport as, “physical activity engaged in for pleasure:  a particular activity (athletic) so engaged in.” Dance is also a physical activity in which people engage for pleasure.

Football, baseball, lacrosse, and other common sports would fall under this category of physical activities engaged in for pleasure. Rachel Kosic, a senior at Patrick Henry high school  and a member of the San Diego Civic Dance Company, explains, “A sport is any physical activity that you can do (with a team or without) that requires developing individual skills and possibly competing.”

To be successful athletes must work hard and practice often. Dancers train anywhere from 5-20 hours a week and work harder than people may think. “To be able to dance well, one needs to be flexible, strong, have stamina, have endurance and most importantly have a love for what they do,” says reporter Jenna Garecht from The Huffington Post newspaper.

There are also many people who define dance as an art, and not as a sport. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as, “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” This is also a valid definition of dance since dancers and choreographers use their skill, creativity, and imagination to create visually appealing works of art.

However, it also has many aspects of a sport and could be defined by both. Morgen Keim-Lopez, a freshman at UC Irvine Claire Trevor School of the Arts and a former member of the San Diego Civic Dance Company, explains: “I consider concert dance an art form due to the fact that we do not compete and we aren’t graded on our performance. However, competition dance is considered a sport because it is an activity with high physical fitness and you compete by yourself or on a team.”

Dance is as physically and mentally exhausting as any other physical activity. Dancers have the pressure of performing and remembering the sequence which is similar to the pressure of playing against another team and remembering the plays. They must also be constantly working on their technique so that everything looks good which is similar to other athletes working on their shooting or passing.

Reporter Dan Markowitz from The New York Times interviewed a soccer player from Hommocks Junior High School. “Dancing is much harder than playing sports because when you’re on a team, a lot of the time you’re running up and down the field and either you have the ball or someone else does, but you’re not in sync with them. In dance, everyone has to be together. You have to know what everyone else is doing. It takes total thought, endurance, and it’s great exercise.”

Dance also requires lots of sacrifice and time like other sports. It is a year-round sport meaning participants train and prepares every day. Mesa college freshman Araela Anderson explains, “I dance for more than 30 hours a week.” She is a member of the San Diego Civic Dance Company as well as a teacher at Inspire Ballet. Typically sports only practice and train during one part of the year. Most of the dancers interviewed train anywhere from 7-18 hours a week yearly.

Dance is also the only sport that requires all aspects of a muscle: “Wrestling requires muscle and flexibility. Football requires speed, stamina, and muscle. However, dance is the only sport that requires stamina, speed, flexibility, and muscle,” reports WordPress. Many dancers explain the effects the constant practice has on the body and the fact that it is very demanding while using all muscles in the body. It is a sport that requires physical and mental strength, endurance, agility, energy, patience, and flexibility. It also requires skills such as patience, perseverance, discipline, and strength. Dancers must learn to be patient and strong. When they are injured, they need to be patient while waiting to heal and continue to treat their bodies right.

When they lack technique and choreography, they must continue to practice and prepare so they can be the best possible. San Diego high sophomore Shelby Lawrence, a member of the San Diego Civic Dance Company, explains, “Dancers also know how to work with many different people and personalities and how to convey a story.”

Many dancers interviewed said that dance required many skills such as, passion, determination, stage presence, time management, dedication, and must be open minded.
Dancers often have extremely busy schedules and are up in the early hours of the morning practicing routines with intricate choreography, memorizing formations, working on their technique, or working on their school work. WordPress recognizes the effort and reports: “Training and practicing can get brutal and pushes everyone beyond their limits. It pushes everyone to the point of sweat, sore muscles, tears, broken bones, and even the thought of quitting.” Dancers are almost always tired emotionally, mentally, and physically but that just pushes them to work harder since it will pay off in the end.

However, some individuals believe that dance is not a sport, and rather an art form. Sports are just competitive, and people cheer to get them to win. Art forms can tap into the audience’s emotions and make them feel a certain way. According to Madison Linnihan from online magazine The Odyssey explains: “Dancers are more than artists, though. Dancers are athletes that defy normal human limitations.” She goes on to explain that dancers can bend in ways that NFL players could only imagine, and have the stamina of cross-country runners.

Dance cannot be confined to only the word sport. Dance is about the impact of the audience, that is the main priority.

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The online edition of San Diego High School's newspaper
Is Dance Really A Sport?