Dance - Is It a Sport?

Dance - Is It a Sport? If someone was to ask you if you belong to a sports team and you answered, "I’m on a Dance Team”, they’d tell you that dance is not a sport but it is an art. My answer to that question would be that it’s both. Dance is a competitive sport. It has a set of rules. You can compete in a large group, as a soloist or in a duet or trio as well. Dancing requires strength, endurance, agility, dedication, skill, co-ordination and your body must be in top condition. You could hurt yourself in dancing just as easily as you can clap your hands together, yet most people do not recognize it as a sport.

According to The Farlex Dictionary the word sport is defined as: Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. Dancers compete against other dancers and routines must comply with a set of rules. Dance moves must be done in a certain way. You must land them in a certain way. You have to have a certain number of balances, turns and flexibility moves in each level. These are the rules of dance. Artistry is judged separately from these moves. Athletes are people who participate in competitive sports. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the word athlete as a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina. According to this definition, a dancer is an athlete. Warm up exercises are a necessity so that a dancer will not pull muscles. To jump high off the ground you need agility and strength. If this is what makes a sport and an athlete then why isn’t dance a sport?

In every sport, just as in dance, you risk getting injured. Isn’t it odd that most of dance injuries are classified as sports injuries? There are dozens of injuries that can happen in football. There are just as many in dance. In dance you have the potential to fracture a bone in your foot by not landing a jump properly. You could also damage your shin and end up with a splint, just from a jump. You could also snap your calf muscle and have to have it surgically reattached by landing on your toes. You could bruise yourself if you fall out of a spin. You could paralyze yourself if you fall when you are on pointe shoes. Dancers suffer from knee hyper extensions, which means your knees get pulled backwards. Back injuries are common in dance. Pulled muscles and sprained ankles are common in running and other sports but are also very common among competitive dancers.

Many people argue that since dance is not an Olympics sport and since you do not see dance competitions on the sports networks it is not a sport. Dance should be in the Olympics, just like the other thirty sports the International Olympic Committee recognizes. According to the Olympic officials, in order to qualify as a sport in the Olympics it must be “Widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents, and by women in at least 40 countries and on three continents.” Rhythmic gymnastics has gained recognition in the Olympics yet it is really just dance. So, as much as dance competitions are not shown on networks like TSN, there is a very popular dance competition show called ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ on the Fox Network. This is a dance competition.

People think that the ability to dance is not unique. This is not true. Anyone can dribble a basketball, and anyone can shoot a puck, and everyone can play these games if they want to participate. Yet, only the best people compete in those sports. Comparatively, few people participate in dance for recreation. Many competitive dancers practice for five hours a day to perfect their technique, while some rep hockey teams practice five hours in a week. How else are you going to spin around eight times and not fall over? It also takes a lot of flexibility. If you were to ask Sydney Crosby to do a pirouette, he’d fall out of it, or even an arabesque or a penche. Dancing takes hours of practice and years of dedication to master, just like other recognized sports.

If dance fits the definition of a sport, if dancers fit the definition of athletes, if dancers are being injured and treated for sports injuries like other athletes, and if dance is participated in all over the world then why isn’t dance considered a sport? Dance is a form of celebration. It is artistic. It takes endurance and strength. It has rules. It is a competition to be the best, so why isn’t it an art and a sport? Dancers have lost out on many opportunities to show the world what they can do. Dance is a sport.

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