Is Dance a Sport?

Many people don’t consider dance to be a sport because of the frilly costumes and the artistic aspects. However, the definition of a sport according to Webster’s dictionary is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.” Dance is in fact an
athletic activity, it requires skill, and is very competitive. The International Olympic Committee even recognizes dance as a sport, yet we don’t see it on TV at the Olympics. Despite opposition to giving dance the title of a sport, dancers are probably some of the most athletic people in the world.

Unknown-5Dance is very physically engaging. It requires hours of training, every day for weeks on end, for multiple years in order to achieve professional status. It takes a lot of hard work to take such strenuous movements and make them look graceful. Kinesiologist Dr. Jill McNitt-Gray has observed many dancers throughout the years and has noticed that they can move their feet up to fifteen miles per hour and turn over one hundred times per minute. They have extremely strong core muscles for turning, leg muscles for leaping and extensions, and arms muscles for lifting their partners, just to name a few examples. Dancers exert force in all parts of their body, which is contrary to how most athletes move. Many athletes who participate in other sports take dance classes to enhance flexibility and agility. Dance also requires a strong mental capacity in order to remember choreography and transition from movement to movement.

A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compares professional ballet dancers to other athletes in terms of their physical abilities. Dancers tended to have more aerobic capacity, higher muscular endurance because of their ability to jump very high, a higher endurance for spending longer periods of time working their muscles, higher flexibility, and better agility. Therefore, dancers are right up their ability-wise with football and baseball players, but much less attention.

4 thoughts on “Is Dance a Sport?

  1. Caitlyn Elizabeth Davis

    I really was interested in your blog post because I am actually a dancer. Ever since I was younger boys would ask me what sport(s) I played and I would always be hesitant to say dance.
    I started dancing at my dance studio at the age of four and then started competitively dancing at the age of 10. My dance company would travel to different states, competing with studios from all over. These competitions were like any other sports competition. There was a winner and a loser. The winner would receive a large trophy and the second and third place team would get a smaller award.
    Dance like other sports also requires a lot of commitment. I danced for 12-15 hours a week, six out of the seven days. When I was younger it was not as intense, however, as I grew older and dance became a bigger part of my life, my dance studio was my second home. So now, when people ask me what sport(s) I play, I say I dance. I am proud to say that dance, just like football and basketball, requires a lot of training and practice.
    Like you mentioned in your post above, many football players take ballet classes to increase their balance, strength and flexibility.
    Here is an interesting article I came across that lists reasons why football players take ballet classes.

  2. Caitlyn Elizabeth Davis

    I really was interested in your blog post because I am actually a dancer. Ever since I was younger boys would ask me what sport(s) I played and I would always be hesitant to say dance.
    I started dancing at my dance studio at the age of four and then started competitively dancing at the age of 10. My dance company would travel to different states, competing with studios from all over. These competitions were like any other sports competition. There was a winner and a loser. The winner would receive a large trophy and the second and third place team would get a smaller award.
    Dance like other sports also requires a lot of commitment. I danced for 12-15 hours a week, six out of the seven days. When I was younger it was not as intense, however, as I grew older and dance became a bigger part of my life, my dance studio was my second home. So now, when people ask me what sport(s) I play, I say I dance. I am proud to say that dance, just like football and basketball, requires a lot of training and practice.
    Like you mentioned in your post above, many football players take ballet classes to increase their balance, strength and flexibility.
    Here is an interesting article I came across that lists reasons why football players take ballet classes.

  3. Caitlyn Elizabeth Davis

    This post interests me because all my life I have been a dancer and when people ask me what sports I play, I would always be hesitant to say dance. I started dancing at age four at my dance studio and then started competitively dancing at the age of ten. My dance competitions were like every other sports competition I have gone to. There was a winner and a loser. There were trophies and awards for the first place team, and other awards for the second and third place teams. I believe dance is just as hard as any other sport because in order to be good at it, it requires a lot of practice and skill. I use to have dance between 12-15 hours a week. It is a large commitment just like any other sport, so when guys ask what sport I play, I respond now with dance. Like you mentioned in your post above, some football players actually do take ballet classes in order to increase their flexibility, balance, and strength. Dance is not an easy sport, so boys who do not consider dance a sport I want to see you in a ballet class pointing your toes and wearing tights.
    Here is an interesting link that I found that lists reasons why football players do ballet.

  4. Shannon Bridget Obrien

    Although I am not a dancer, I definitely consider dance a sport. The amount of work dancers put into their dances is astounding. It is definitely something that people overlook because they only see gyrating bodies or people twerking. I am amazed at the underrated strength that a ballerina posses. Especially core strength, which is not something that just comes after a week of working out. People who argue dance isn’t a sport don’t know the amount of energy you all put into it.

    Plus, have they ever seen a dancer’s calves????

    PS heres a super cute video of three little girls dancing to RESPECT.

Leave a Reply