“Dance isn’t a sport”

Valerie Servellon, Staff Writer

Oxford Languages defines sport as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” 

Dance meets every single one of those criteria, but still, people like to argue that the sport of dance is not a sport because it is a performance, mostly creative, not a game, and dancers do not get injured at the same rate that “athletes” do.

Wolverhampton University did a study that reported that professional dancers were more likely to be injured than rugby players. The same research shows that 80% of dancers are injured from a dance-related injury that impedes their ability to perform. 

The Gazette, an american newspaper,  reports that over 77% of people name dance as a sport while only 23% name it an art form. Who says that it can’t  be both?

Brennan Love an Irish Dancer said, “People say that it isn’t a sport, and I can see that misconception, but we still go to competitions and compete with each other,” she expressed, “I feel like it is just as equal as anything else because we are putting in work and we do get hurt.”

Irish dance is a type of dance that originated in Ireland, and  is performed to traditional music from the country, some  that Love has performed to in competitions and recitals since she was a young child. 

“You definitely need the strength in your legs, in your arms and in your core, just to maintain the balance to do all the types of tricks. Even just a simple pointe, you need a lot of muscular strength.  [It’s] the same thing for basketball, baseball or football, you need muscles to have the balance [for the sport]” Love relayed. 

Dancers can practice for hours every day, and spend their days competing in competitions amongst many others competitors for hours on end. A football player can spend 10 – 15 hours a week training, while a dancer will spend over 15-25 hours a week training for competitions and perfecting themselves for their sport. 

Over 91 percent of dancers are subject to bodily pain after they stop professionally dancing. They deal with the repercussions of their sports years after they choose to stop training. 

Dancers also can be mentally harmed; they can suffer body dysmorphia and eating disorders after their bodies being continuously talked about from a young age, and lots of conflict can happen behind the curtains. 

“Behind the stage people can be really mean,” Love stated. 

They spend their every waking moment thinking and practicing about dance, being betrayed by their own body later in life just for what they devote their entire life to to be only seen as an “art form.”