The football player steps outside and onto the field, joining his team for pushups, crunches, laps and burpees. On the other side of town, a girl steps into a dance class, heading straight into a series of jumping jacks, sit ups, foot strengthening exercises and stretches. The next day, the football player secures his helmet, preparing for the big game. The dancer slips on her satin shoes, getting ready for the performance of her life. He scores the winning touchdown to the screams of the crowd. She lands a quadruple pirouette to a standing ovation. His face is on the cover of every sports magazine in America. Her’s is plastered wherever the word “ballerina’ appears.
There are many parallels when it comes to dance and sports, which may be why Albert Einstein called dancers the “athletes of God.” Such similarities have caused many to believe that dance should be considered a sport itself. However, others disagree, some because they think of dance purely as an art form.
“Yes, it requires extreme physical ability and agility as well as intense training,” says Grace Brinza, a Magnificat sophomore who has been dancing at the Beck Center for most of her life. “It also requires a form of artistry, making it different from sports.”
However, Brinza does not feel as though this makes it any less taxing on the bodies of dancers.
“People think that dance is easy, because it looks effortless. This is only because professionals train for hours a day every day of the week to make it look like anyone can get up and do this,” she says. “Like in High School Musical, everyone just casually stands up and dances perfectly when in reality, they rehearsed those pieces for many months before they ever began filming. Dance is not easy.”
Claire Schuppel, a Lakewood High School sophomore who has taken dance for thirteen years at Elyria YWCA, believes that dancing should be considered a sport despite its artistic qualities.
“It is an art, and it’s a beautiful thing, and it’s a way of expression,” she says. “But it does take so much physical stamina and it takes years of training to get really good at it… It’s like any sport that you’ll play- you can’t just pick up a ball and throw it and score a touchdown.… it takes a lot of core, leg muscles, [and] upper body [strength]…A lot of dancers workout outside of dancing, and so putting in all that physical and mental strength really takes a lot.”
“I definitely think that dance is a sport… Dance puts people through a lot of physical activity, and is done for entertainment. Additionally, like other sports, dance is occasionally a competition,” says Ella Chanter, another Lakewood sophomore, who took dance for a couple of years when she was younger. Reilly Hill, a Lakewood senior, completely disagrees.
“I don’t consider it a sport, because most… high school teams and Olympic teams don’t really have dance teams… [and] it’s not really popular,” he insists.
If one thing is certain it is that there is no consensus as to whether or not dance should be under the umbrella of sports. Some argue that it is only an art form, and some say that it takes both expressive and athletic skills. This great debate is bound to last for some time, seeing as many individuals refuse to budge from their positions, and as shows such as Dancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and Dance Moms are making the issue more prominent.