Water Polo and Dance: Two Different Activities That May be Similar


Dance Photographer

Me on stage at last Spring’s performance of Paquita.

Physical activity has various forms, some being more competitive and strength-based while some are more art and aesthetic based. Some physical activities that are more competitive and strength-based are things like basketball, or water polo, which is a six-by-six game where players set up and try to get the ball into the goal. Art and aesthetic-based physical activity are things like dance, where you move your body in all different ways normally to the meter of music playing in the background. Similarly, both activities have important days in their season where they need to be on the ball and make sure they are as prepared as they can be. For water polo players, it might be a big game and for dancers, it might be a big opening night performance where they are debuting as a new part. In this article, you will be able to see both sides of the spectrum, you will be able to see how both people prepare for both events, and there will be similarities and differences to compare and help you understand both activities better.

As a dancer, there are a lot of things that go into preparing for a performance and the preparation starts about a week before the opening night. As a dancer, your body is your instrument so you have to make sure that it is in the best shape it can be at that time. A lot of dancers go get massages or go to physical therapy to try and get rid of any kinks they have in their bodies. Dancers are also injured all the time, so before the performance, they might rub Biofreeze or tiger balm on the injuries to numb them for the duration of the performance. After they have taken care of their bodies, they have to go to their rehearsals. The week before you actually perform, you normally practice on the stage for a week to get a feel for how the floor feels, usually this is the most important rehearsal period because it is your final chance to really nail down the choreography. After all the bodily preparation and rehearsing have been done, you have to prepare your shoes and costumes, if you are preparing for a set of shows you will probably sew and break in a new pair of shoes which only takes about an hour and a half and to prepare your costumes you just have to make sure that they fit and are stage ready if they are not you have to tell the costume director that something needs to be changed. Once you have prepared everything else for the show, the only thing left is to actually get ready for the show. Hair and makeup always have to be done in a specific way and it takes about 2 hours to do correctly. Once you have done your hair and makeup, and put on your shoes and costume, it is time to take the stage. Most people go backstage and warm up a little before, and once that’s done it is time for the performance.

If you are looking to become a dancer or want to try it out and see what it’s like, anyone can be a dancer. Grace Holly says that some advice she has for people that want to pursue dance is, “Make sure you focus on building a good technical foundation so you can enjoy dancing more when you’re older.” This is an important tip to take because you need a good foundation in order to be as successful as you can be. When she was asked why she enjoyed dancing so much, it was because,” I’ve been doing it forever, and I’ve made some of my best friends while dancing.” This is a good thing to take into consideration because if you decide to start dancing you might make some lifelong friends as well. Daniel Mayo, a choreographer and dancer himself, said that he loves dance because “It was something that was a part of me.” It is never too late to start and you might be able to find a new passion for yourself.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, is water polo and other physical-based sports. Water polo is a sport that requires not only endurance and speed but also strength. This is because of the fact that water polo players have to tread or sprint down the pool the entire game. While this may seem fine at first, many people cannot even thread for 2 minutes, let alone an entire game. Unlike dance, it does not take around a week to prepare for a game. However, one thing we do as a team is stretch before games. Before we get in the water to swim a couple of laps, we all take the time to stretch out our muscles.

As stated before, Water polo players must be very strong. Most players practice around 2-3 days a week during the off-season, but sometimes, during the week, players can practice every single day as well as participate in types of cross-training. Cross-training can be many different types of things, basically any kind of activity that gets your body moving. For example, many water polo players also run or do track in the spring because it strengthens their legs and builds endurance. As this is the most common activity, others choose to play other sports or even weight lift, which can help build large amounts of muscle in the body.

Similarly, both water polo and dance have high rates of injury. Because of the quick pace game and high expectations. We have to realize that sometimes it is even dangerous to play water polo. This is why many of us take extra precautions to stay out of harm’s way. Shoulder injuries are some of the most common water polo-related injuries. Ava Vesy, a Pennridge junior on the high school water polo team, says, “Don’t take for granted your healthy body. While you might be sore and whatnot, try not to complain too much because, in the future, you could always feel worse.” Instead, do your best to take care of your body and its needs.

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