Is Dance a Sport?


Image via QUARTZ

Cadynce Harmon, Writer

The argument over whether or not dance is a sport has been going on for years. People like to say that dance isn’t a sport, because it’s “not hard” or because it’s so different from sports like football or basketball. As a dancer myself, I know that it can get irritating when people who have never danced before completely disregard the hard work and commitment that goes into being a dancer. However, I’ll admit that there’s still a difference between recreational dancing and competitive dancing. 

Dance is an art form; it’s used to express emotion and to represent whatever the dancer wants it to. You can do whatever you want with it, much like painting or drawing. Although both are classified as an art form, competitive dance is also considered a sport, whereas recreational dance is not. By “recreational dance” I’m talking about people who only take classes because they enjoy it and because it’s something to do with their free time. Recreational dancers work hard to improve as well, but they don’t need to be quite as committed as competitive dancers. Even though it’s not classified as a sport at that level, no dancer should at any point be made fun of by immature people for doing “spins” or “leg kicks.” Non-dancers should at least learn the correct terminology before teasing something they have no experience with. 

Competitive dance is in fact a sport. The definition of a sport from the Cambridge English Dictionary is “a game, competition, or activity needing physical effort and skill that is played or done according to rules, for enjoyment and/or as a job.” Competitive dance fits into that definition perfectly. It might be a sport that wouldn’t first come to mind, and that’s why many people, even dancers, don’t classify it as a sport but only as an art. However, like I said before, dance is also a way for people to express themselves and let out emotions. 

When you see dancers perform at a competition, unless you’re an experienced dancer yourself, you have no idea what hard work they put into getting out there and doing their best. It can be very difficult and nerve wracking to get out onstage and dance in front of hundreds of people. It takes as much planning and practice as any other sport. Take football for example, in which case the coach devises the plays and gives everyone a position. Similarly, a dance choreographer needs to choreograph an entire dance and put every dancer in their spot. Most competitive dancers dance 16+ hours a week, having to practice nearly every day. It can be very stressful with school and other responsibilities. Having to remember choreography for multiple dances as well as having to remember vocab for English can get very stressful. Dancers have to endure that stress just like every other serious athlete.

Dancing isn’t “easy”, nor is it “baby stuff.” It’s upsetting how disregarded the hard work dancers put into their favorite thing is. They clearly love what they do, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing it. Hearing people’s harsh words can lower their self-esteem and make them doubt themselves. Being a dancer can be difficult, but at the end of the day, it’s their passion and hard work that keeps them going.