Why is Dance Not Considered a Sport?

The crowd is silenced, and suddenly over the blaring speakers at the Rose Garden arena the man with the microphone solemnly announces  “South Albany High School take your position please.” In that moment my adrenaline is at it’s highest point of exhilaration, chills are running through my body; all the way down to my bones, I can feel the roars from the crowd way above, I can hear my heart racing in my chest, I can feel the bruises on my knees, most of all I am feeling the love I have for my team.

Dance has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. I started dancing at the age of 3 where I danced alongside my best friend Georgia I must mention… & since that first day of dance lessons I have never wanted to stop.

Just like any other sport dance is filled with hard work, compassion, & teamwork. There is no difference between basketball, football, wrestling, track & dance… besides the obvious ‘rules’ of each individual sport, & way of the game. So why can’t dance be categorized as a sport? Why do all dancers get degraded? My ultimate question is why’s dance not considered a sport?

There is no real justification on why dance should be categorized as an  “activity.” Most people who I have argued with, about dance being a sport, have had no real facts just opinions on why they view it as an “activity.” One person that I argued with in particular stated that, “dance doesn’t involve a ball, therefore it isn’t a sport.” I went on to argue back, “Track doesn’t have a ball? Wrestling or boxing doesn’t have a ball? Swimming doesn’t use a ball and I know there are many more.” Another person I argued with had no true facts or meanings, just a lot to say. The more frustrating part of all these people claiming dance to not be a sport, was that… you guessed it… these were people who had NEVER even danced before! These people who I argued with just simply didn’t want dance to be a sport… they were stubborn! As a society we classify and categorize sports altogether, for example, sports in america are viewed as something you can crack open a beer to and watch on the television. 

So then what even is a sport? What does a sport have that other “activity’s” don’t have? I looked up the definition of a “sport”, & found the following statement, “A sport: An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.” I then compared this definition to the definition of ‘dance’, “To move one’s body rhythmically usually to music.”  The first thing I thought when reading this was, so why can’t dance be classified as a sport!?! What does fishing and boxing have that dance doesn’t? The obvious answer is, NOTHING. If this is the definition of a sport than dance has no right to be classified as an “activity.”

Dance is just like any other sport. Why? well, sports are all about having multiple opponents who compete for first place, or a win. In dance you practice and compete to win, just like all other classified sports do. Dance is also a physically enduring sport, just like any other sport is.

& at my high school, my dance team practiced harder, and longer hours than any other sport did. My dance team had also received the most state trophies than any other team at the high school had.

Athletes at high school’s get many opportunities to get awards and scholarships to perform their athletics at a higher, (college) level. Dancers who work just as hard as any other athlete don’t have this same privilege because they are classified as an “activity.” & because of that, dancers do not get any scholarships to dance at a professional or college level, since dance is viewed only as an extracurricular need.

Thankfully dancers are also known and classified as artist. this statement couldn’t be anymore true. Dancers do not always compete or dance for a trophy, they do so much more! Dancers dance because they love how it feels, they want to express themselves, & they want to offer the world a creative form of communication. Although I very much enjoy the competitive part of dancing I enjoy the moments when I am able to dance freely & simply just express myself. Dancers are challenged with the fact that we cannot be classified an athlete, but we are beyond blessed to be able to be recognised as the artist we are. With that being said, why can’t we as dancers also be classified as athletes?

Dance being classified as an “activity” doesn’t seem like a huge issue but it is something that every dancer is moved by daily. I can definitely account for the fact that dance has become more popular overtime, but it still is yet to be classified as a sport. Changing dance to a sport wouldn’t affect anything negatively only positively. Every university has a dance program but it’s only there for extra curriculum needs; some compete nationally, but you cannot receive any scholarships to dance at a university, as you would for football or basketball. I hope that someday dance is recognised as a sport, & in society males have the biggest impact on sports today, which gives me reason & hope to why maybe dance hasn’t been recognised or classified as a sport yet. There is only one reason why I can see dance being classified as an “activity” and it’s simply because it’s overseen as “easy” and girls in “tutus.” I believe people stereotype dance as being an “activity” because, they see it as, “girls jumping and twirling around in tutu’s and costumes.” Which is very, very untrue. That alone is only a stereotype, like people always say, “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  

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