As a dancer, I’ve always struggled with the question of whether or not dance is a sport. The answer to this question depends on the person’s definition of a sport and also usually depends on whether or not they’ve had any dance experience. Dance is a form of art, but at the same time dance is very physical. Is dance as physically challenging as sports like basketball or football? Or is it just another performing art?
I wanted to get the opinions of others so I interviewed two dancers about their opinions on this controversial question. To speak for the dancers, I chose to interview Mia Romasanta, JV dancer and Tanya Sheinkman, Varsity dancer. Both of these dancers believe that dance is a sport so I asked them why.
Why do you think that dance is a sport?
“I consider dance to be athletic and it makes you sweat just as much as regular sports do! Dance requires intense practice, commitment, patience, and dedication.” – Tanya
“I think dance is a sport because dancing physically exerts your body and requires skills such as strength and stamina.” – Mia
What is the definition of a sport?
“Sports are an activity that involves being physical and requires skill to complete well.” – Tanya
“Sports are physical activities for individuals or teams where they can compete against each other.” – Mia
What does the other side say? Do you agree or disagree with them?
“They claim that it’s silly to do or easy, they usually ask if it’s a competitive sport.
I disagree with their thoughts because many times they haven’t seen professional dancing, and are making judgments off of their little experience of dance. Many people don’t enjoy dance if they are forced to do it. They also don’t have much knowledge or skill of dance and they feel awkward doing it.” – Tanya
“Some say that it’s more of an art than a sport because it focuses on technical and performance aspects rather than being a game for competition.
I disagree with this because, compared to other arts such as drama, band, strings, and others, dance requires one to be physically active and train their whole body. Dancers perform a 3-4 minute piece and must use all of their energy for the entire time in order for the performance to look good from the audience’s perspective. Dance can be competitive for those who choose to compete, but a dancer who only performs for showcases and recitals is still an athlete. Even without a competition, dancers train for hours each day developing their physical strength and refining their technique, just like practice with any other sport.” – Mia
Do you think that people underestimate dance and dancers? Why?
“I definitely feel people underestimate dancers because dance becomes less and less popular in high school and it’s sometimes forgotten among classmates. I think this is because other season sports (soccer, basketball, volleyball) become the most popular sports to do.” – Tanya
“I feel like dancers are often underestimated, partly just because of the nature of dance. Dance is made to look easy and effortless most of the time, giving the impression that we are not trying as hard. I think a lot of people don’t realize how unnatural it is for a person to move in the way that dance requires, whether it be split jumps in the air or turning multiple times on one foot. Dancers have to constantly train by stretching and building muscle to get their bodies to move in a way that it wasn’t made for. In addition, dance has its own mental aspect as well. While other competition sports focus on strategy and the ability to think on your feet, dance focuses heavily on memorization of the choreography.” – Mia
Do you think that a lot of people agree with your opinion?
“Non-dancers are usually hesitant to agree right away, however, most dancers agree, and have the same opinion.” – Tanya
“I think most people would say that dance isn’t a sport and, though I would disagree, I don’t think it’s much of a problem. The category that dance is placed in does not change what it is in the end. However, saying that dance isn’t a sport comes with the connotation that dance is somehow at a lower level than “real” sports or not as challenging. It makes it sound like it is not worth the hours of practice and training that we put in.” – Mia
What is the correct answer? There isn’t one. It all depends on the person and what they believe sports are. Dancers work really hard to be able to do what they do. They are often underestimated and overlooked when it comes to the world of sports. I along with many other dancers believe that dance is a sport. Dance isn’t easy or silly, it comes with both mental and physical struggle. When we think of sports we think of football, basketball, baseball, etc. We don’t think of dance. We should.