Is Dance A Sport?

By Tsion Cummings

There has been a long winded debate on whether dance is a sport. Some believe that it is more of a performance art, but it can be both. Professional dancer, Alicia Graf Mack completely agrees with this statement saying, “It requires us to train every day to build a certain type of muscle memory and so in that sense I do consider myself an athlete. The difference though between an athlete and a dancer is that we are also artists.”

According to, the definition of a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.“ This definition represents a vast part of the dance community. Dance competitions like Starbound, Sheer Talent, and New York Dance Experience are being hosted across the country.

There are also specific dancers and teams that people root for just like regular sports teams. A well-known example of this is the Abby Lee Dance Company. They regularly compete and even have their own TV show called “Dance Moms” and have acquired a large fan base.

Dance also requires a lot of physical strength. Countless hours are spent in class perfecting technique and building muscle. Elice McKinley, who dances with the Carolina Ballet, gave us an insight into her daily life as a professional dancer. “Sometimes I’ll have six hours of rehearsal in a day. If I have a break in rehearsals, I get to the gym and do more workouts. I might squeeze in some ab work when I get home if I can, and I try to be in bed by 9:30. By the day off on Monday, I feel like I’ve been hit by a train. I use those days to do errands, chores, go to the doctor. Most dancers take the day off from physical activity, but I usually try to get a Pilates class or another workout in.”

There are also many examples of when ballet’s athleticism has been shown. In the movie “The Game Plan” Dwayne Johnson is seen doing some ballet exercises. It then cuts to him looking physically exhausted, leaning on a ballet barre.

Another example can be seen in a Youtube video made by The Globe and Mail. They compare the physical abilities of football player Matt Black and National Ballet of Canada dancer Gabriele Frola. Spoiler Alert!! They actually tie. Both of these instances show the level of physical power that ballet requires.

To sum this up, dance has all the components to be called a sport. There are national dance competitions being hosted and that a copious amount of stamina is needed to dance.



Photo credit:


The Game Plan


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