Most people agree that dance is an emotional and artistic activity, but disagreements arise over whether to classify dance as a sport or purely an art form. People who do not believe that dance is a sport say that they feel dancers' outfits and routines are too elegant to be physically demanding. They also do not feel that dancers have as much intense physical training as athletes in conventional sports and, therefore, they think that dance should be classified purely as a form of art and not a true competitive sport.
The Argument for Calling Dance a Sport
Proponents of dance as a sport note that dance meets the criteria for a sport established by Webster's Dictionary. This definition notes that a sport is an athletic activity that requires physical prowess or skill. The definition also adds that sports are generally activities of a competitive nature. Based on that definition, many people argue that dance classifies as a sport. They note that dancers spend long, often grueling, hours of physical preparation to get into shape for dance recitals and performances. To reach the level of a professional, dancers must spend many years of intense physical training to reach their maximum potential. In addition to being physically fit, dancers must be able to master difficult skills and poses with poise and grace. People who support dance as a sport say that it takes substantial physical strength and mental composure to perform physically demanding skills without an obvious effort.
Dancers often develop strong core and leg muscles to build the stamina that they need to perform. Some dancers have reportedly been observed moving their feet up to speeds of 15 miles per hour. They can also turn more than one hundred times each minute, according to kinesiologist Dr. Jill McNitt-Gray. Dancers must also have considerable upper body strength to perform feats like lifting their partners into the air and spinning them around. Dancers are, as a whole, very agile and flexible, which are physical attributes that most serious athletes in other sports take classes or spend extra time learning to develop. Dancers also require mental endurance and concentration to pull off challenging dance performances without flaws.
Styles of Dance
Dance comes in many styles, and each one requires a unique set of moves and skills. Of the traditional dances, ballroom dancing is one of the oldest and most popular. Ballroom dancing originated in Italy during the years of the Renaissance. It then spread to Europe, the United States and other countries throughout the world. The waltz, which is a popular ballroom dance style, emerged in the 19th century. The waltz is an intimate form of dance that requires two people. The tango is another popular dance that is known for its energy and intimacy. African American and jazz dances have also gained interest through the years. Tap dancing is one of the most recognizable forms of African American dance. World dances, such as salsa and polka, are practiced by dancers around the world, and they are known for their unique music and energy. Modern dancing and hip-hop dancing are more recent dance forms that have gained traction with younger populations.