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10 Reasons Why Dancing Should Be Considered A Sport

Updated on October 31, 2015

10 Reasons Why Dancing Should Be Considered a Sport

The history of how dance is perceived is quite varied in various cultures. Dancing was depicted as a celebration for wedding ceremonies, a form of healing involved in healing rituals. Dance was also used as a form of storytelling before writing came into existence. In addition, dance is considered to be an art form. But should dance also be considered a sport?

The personal and mental attitude involved for a dancer is very similar to an athlete’s. The amount of determination, confidence and focus, while continuing to self-improve is the go-getter attitude one needs to win.

Below are ten reasons why dancing should be considered a sport:

10 Stamina

Dancers train a minimum of three to four hours a week, for professional dancers this can be a minimum of four hours a day. A dancer’s stamina alone can be equivalent if not rated above a person who plays sport. The difference is, instead of puffing on the sport field, dancers have to be so fit that they can do very quick movement and even powerful jumps and movement without noticeably puffing and with a smile on their face. In addition to the physical demands placed on the body, dancing is a year-round sport, unlike many other sports which are seasonal.

9 Bodies are defined by their sport

Take a professional swimmer and you will notice their broad shoulders, a cross-country runner, will typically have thin muscular legs and a footballer with their body building form. Dancers also have defined body shapes, the women tend to have a smaller toned upper frame, with muscular legs and strong thighs yet typically petite, whereas the male dancers generally have a muscular and toned body, with a strong chest and arms to lift the female dancers.

8 Strength

Dancers have unbelievable strength, standing on their toes for hours in a day, while not holding onto anything requires the right shift in weight, as well as performing large jumps and tricks. Dancers are quite powerful, even if they look tiny. Sport players need strength, strength to be tackled by a foot player yet still be able to push their bodies far enough to get the ball over the line. The physical demands of the body for a dancer stems from every muscle in the body being used at the one time. A footballer may do weights to strengthen his legs, where a ballet dancer may use weights to tone the body.

7 Ability

Dancing requires a level of natural and learned ability. Just like a sport, dancers need to work at their skills to push their ability to a new level. Professional dancers have been dancing for the majority of their lives. For example, doing an arabesque, while being lifted in the air, with only someone holding your thighs and still having to look graceful and not pulling a concentrated face takes practice, determination and skill. The ability to stand on pointe in classical ballet, for example, takes years and years of former trainer. It takes years to build balance, technique and strength to be able to stand on pointe and then learn to dance on pointe. Similar how a sports person’s ability in the sport grows as they age and they become more experienced, learn more tricks and compete against others.

6 Technical skills

The technical skills required to dance are the foundations of dancing. If you cannot turn out, place your body in the correct position, such as hips facing forward, stomach in, bottom tucked in, feet pointed etc. then you have to learn to do this before you can start to do the more trickier dance moves, such as a pirouette, which requires balance, eye-coordination, arms and legs moving at that exact moment to ensure the pirouette is perfected. While holding your body in a certain way in dance, prevents injury and increases a dancers ability to do more. Every dance step requires intense control, which begin's at the dancer’s core. The way a dancer holds their body determines how the movement is perfected or if it’s a flop.

5 Solo, partner or group activity

Sports can be played in a group situation or solo and so can dance. Just as a star player needs everybody to be stars, to perform their best etc., dancers also need every body to perform their best to bring the whole performance together. As well as work out where to move across the stage without bumping into someone else and how to collectively bring about a performance as well as dance in a solo. Bring in a partnered dance and watch the two dancers have to work together to create a seemingly effortlessly dance choreography that not only works with them but captures the entire audience.

4 Training

Dancers spend their lives training, not just in a dance studio but also in their waking moments. Soccer players, for example, will go to training and then when bored, may go outside and kick the ball around. Training generally takes place a couple of days during the week and then a couple of hours on the weekend in a class setting, with a group or via private lessons. As with any sport, dancing has a dance coach to teach, motivate and correct.

3 Sports have rules and dancing has rules

If a sport is based on the fact it has certain rules, such as if the ball goes over the line its declared out of bounds or if the ball is caught in baseball, the player is out, dancing also holds certain rules in competitions. If a costume falls apart on stage, like a ribbon becomes untied etc., you get deducted points. If you don’t perform a certain movement properly or stumble, you lose points. Other scoring may involve the level of difficulty in choreography, technique, formations, transitions and use of floor space, creativity, musicality, body alignment and placement, footwork, posture, overall performance and entertainment value. There are other rules as well, such as showing respect for your teacher and other dancers, be on time, wear the right attire and don’t waste the training time for the others in the class.

2 Injuries

If a sport is deemed a sport because it has the risk of injuries, then dancing can be quite risky, if one hasn’t had proper training. Injuries such as sprained ankles, broken toe nails, knee tears, lower-back and neck strain can occur. Not to mention other accidental risks such as, falling off a stage during a performance, getting hit by another dancer by being in the wrong place at the wrong time or jumping and then missing the land, resulting in falling flat on one’s face. Dancers and sport athletes generally have to stop professional sport around the age of 35-40, due to the physical nature of the sport. After their professional dance career is over, they may decide to move into dance teaching careers similar to athletes becoming coaches. Warm-ups and warm-downs at the beginning and end of a class or dance performance are a must to avoid injury just like it is a must for sports.

1 Competition

And finally, there are competitive sports and non-competitive sports and dancing is just as competitive and not just between the dancing Moms. Competitions can be through solo, partner or group dances and generally have a panel of judges. The judging process can involve everything from the costumes, to the higher scoring dance movements, tricks, technique, gracefulness, presentation and so forth. There is a winner and a loser. Plus, winners and runner-ups do receive awards and trophy’s just like a real sport competition.

People do go and pay to see dancers perform, just as fans go pay to see sport athlete’s play. Both sports and dancing draws in a crowd.

The evidence is outweighed that dancing is very similar to other sporting activities and should be considered as a sport. When dancing is listed as a sport, doors open for the industry, including additional funding to aid in the delivery and performance of dance schools.

You decide, do you think dancing should be classed as a sport and if not, why not?

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    • profile image

      Bloka Bem Bem 17 months ago

      Well just so you know I know of three people who voted No on this website but it didn't count them and still says that 100% of people think dance should be a sport and 0% think it shouldn't...

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Marisa Wright 10 months ago from Sydney

      I absolutely HATE the idea that dance might ever be considered a sport. Yes, dancers are just as fit as athletes and must do training like athletes - but there's a huge difference in the reason they do it.

      Athletes train to compete with other people, to show off how good they are and win medals and trophies for beating others.

      Dancers do the same thing IN COMPETITIONS, but competitions are not what dancing is about. Dancing is about expressing yourself to music. It's about creating an amazing artwork, like sculpture or painting, but creating it with your own body - what an incredible achievement! It's about transporting your audience to another level, about making them laugh or cry or shout for joy.

      If all a dancer can think about is kicking her leg higher than the other girls or winning their next comp, they're not really a dancer.

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