I was recently asked again, “So, Miss Heather, do you think dance is a sport?” When I answer, I quickly end up having to list my reasons why I answer the way I do to someone who is quite offended and shocked at my response. So, I thought it might be worth posting my thoughts about this, hopefully without offending anyone.
Here is why: I believe dance is an art form, that has been a part of human culture, ceremony, rituals, celebrations and entertainment since before anyone can remember. Look it up, there are even prehistoric archeologists finding traces of dance in Egyptian tomb paintings as far back as c. 3300 BC. Yep, I said it. I believe dancers are artists with athletic bodies that use their athletic bodies as their medium for their art form. Just because they are committing hours upon hours of work to their art form which then develops the beautiful athletic bodies we see of dancers today, does not make it a sport. In fact, I question why is calling it an art versus a sport so offensive? Why are we trying to argue to make it a sport, when it should be just as glorious as an art? Do we really put sports culturally that much “above” art?
Now, here come the arguments back to me, “My dancer participates in dance competitions, and is on dance team at school, I see how hard she works, she is more fit than a football player, it IS a sport.” Yes, I know many dancers today participate in dance in a competitive form, even the dancers at Legacy Ballet do, and I believe they deserve an insane amount of applause for their intense level of commitment, to their art. My thought is, yes your dancer is on a team…a team of artists, who take their art to competition. Another argument I’ve heard is, “Well, it can’t be a competition unless it is a sport.” I’m sure photographers, chefs, pastry chefs, painters, singers, (my list could go on) disagree as they compete in their arts. Their mediums (the material used by an artist) is just different than a dancers, it is not their own physical body, it is photography, food, desserts, canvas paintings, their voice. Ask yourself, do you consider any of those a sport?
I hope you are not offended. Remember, my intention was as a dancer, dance instructor, and dance studio owner share how I feel about calling dance a sport. If you are, my question to you is why? Do you ever wonder how professional dancers with their defined athletic bodies, who spend hours upon hours perfecting their method of expressing themselves entirely to an audience in a theater feel about you calling it a sport versus an art? I do. In fact, I think we need to question why our society thinks less of something as an art, versus a sport.