The Debate Is solved, Dance Is A Sport

Is dance a sport or is it more of a leisure activity and an art form? Most people who don’t dance would argue that it is not a sport but there is convincing evidence to prove otherwise.

When people think of sports, they tend to think of hard work accompanied by strength, sweat, speed, and physical exertion. Dance on the other hand reminds people of jeweled costumes, styled hair and makeup, and effortless movements. But behind the scenes of dance, there is so much more. Dance can require just as much physical exertion as a traditional sport and sometimes more.

What classifies something as a sport? Various definitions across the web define the characteristics of a sport. While defines sport as “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess”, the Oxford Dictionary defines sport as, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment”. The main argument questions if something can be considered a sport if it is not competitive and that raises the question of if non-competitive dance is a sport or not. Typically, a sport must encompass four things: exercise and skill, a winner or a loser in the outcome, rules of play, and it must be enjoyable for the participant and the viewer. Despite what most say, dance fits all of these categories.

Although it appears effortless and graceful, dance requires an immense amount of athleticism and physical ability. Dance practices are full of conditioning and most dancers train just like traditional athletes to increase their stamina and endurance. Emma Wentzel, an 11th grade dancer in the highest level class at Miss Cindy’s School of Dance says as a dancer, it is essential that she has all the skills of an athlete. She says, “dancers have to have lots of strength, endurance, balance, memory, flow, and flexibility”. From turning continuously on one foot, up to 12 times while maintaining balance and not getting dizzy, one who was not athletic would not be able to perform. Dance definitely requires a different skill set than an average sport, but the strength and agility are all the same.

The main question is if dance requires competition to be considered a sport. A typical sport encompasses two teams competing against each other for a winner and a loser. Miss Brielle, a dance teacher at Miss Cindy’s School of Dance in Quakertown questioned if a sport required competition, she says, “I think it depends on how you look at a sport. You could look at a sport as something that needs competition in which a winner and a loser is required, or it can be looked at as more of physical strength and skill where performance is the main aspect of the sport”. Many may say you could consider competitive dance a sport because dance competitions pose winners, while the performance of dancers is scored on elements such as execution, flow, and technique. But in a non-traditional sense, you could also say non-competitive dance has a sense of competition. During practices, dancers are constantly competing against other individuals in the class to be placed in the front row and in the center of routines. Dancers also compete with themselves to work to their potential and perform the best that they can.

Despite convincing evidence that Dance could be a required sport, many will still view it as more of an activity or form of art because dance doesn’t hold all the skills and values of a traditional sport. Rileigh Bowen, a varsity volleyball player at Pennridge High School would consider dance a sport but acknowledged that it lacked some of the elements of a defined sport. She says by calling dance an activity, “It is not denying the ability of one to not call it a sport but is it really a sport if you aren’t competing for it and just showing it in something like a recital”. She also pointed out that dance doesn’t fully have contact touch and also, it isn’t shown in the Olympics which is a common indicator of most sports.

Dance may not traditionally be labeled as a sport, but it definitely fits the criteria. Some may consider dance as more of an art form, but evidence proves that dancers are some of the most athletic people in the world. I think it’s time to put the century long debate to rest, dance is a sport.