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Be a Part of the Debate: Should Dance Be Considered a Sport?

Should Dance Be Considered a Sport?
There has been an ongoing debate about whether dance is a sport or not. Proponents of both points of view put forth valid and convincing points. DancePoise comes up with an answer by digging deeper and exploring the artistic as well as competitive aspects of dance.
Anamika Kumari
Last Updated: Mar 2, 2018
Did You Know?
The World DanceSport Federation and World Dance Council organize 'Dancesport'―an international dance competition. It includes five Latin (Samba, Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Pasodoble, and Jive) and five standard (Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Slow Foxtrot, and Quickstep) dances.
Modern forms of competitive dancing, like acro, ballet, jazz, hip-hop etc., have led people to wonder whether dance is a sport. If you pose this question to athletes or sportspeople, they might reject the idea outright. Their reasons or arguments may range from, 'dancers do not work hard enough' to 'they aren't competitive enough', to 'there are no specific set of rules to judge the competition among dancers'. Let us discuss further to find if these arguments really hold ground.
Defining Dance and Sport
The word 'dance' brings to our minds the images of a musical moment, filled with movements that are fueled by passion, being performed by spirits that are kindled by emotions. It is impossible to put into words what dancing can mean to a person. The 'Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary' describes dance as 'A form of expression that uses bodily movements that are rhythmic, patterned (or sometimes improvised), and usually accompanied by music'.
Dance Definition
So what does it take for an activity to be counted as a sport? For that, let's take a look at the definition of a sport. The 'Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary' defines sport as 'a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other'.
Connecting the 'Doubts'
Dancing is, no doubt, a physical activity. An activity where you start with simple moves. After long hours of continuous practice, performed year after year, you finally master the moves. Isn't that what athletes do too? In fact, modern competitive dance forms involve even harsher training to perfect the seemingly easy dance routine. All the audience receives, is pure entertainment.

The argument, that competition is not involved in dance, is a myth in itself. There exists numerous platforms all over the world at various levels, where dancers 'battle' (quite literally) in front of a panel of judges or audience, not only to win hearts but titles as well. It goes without a saying that these competitions are based upon a predefined set of rules and regulations. Solo dancers are like those athletes competing in an individual sport, perfecting their own performance. Likewise, dancing troupes cultivate synchronization and coordination as seen in any soccer or baseball team.

The physical endurance of dancers goes way beyond just 'twisting and turning like dolls'. A fit and flexible body is elementary for performing dance moves that are visually appealing with perfection and ease. Just like any other sport, any wrong move or any moment of carelessness may lead to accidents causing painful injuries; sometimes leaving the dancers crippled for life.

The 'Fine Line'
Now, where exactly does the 'dancing shoe' not fit in the sports arena? Classifying dance as a sport is a great injustice towards people who dance not to compete, but to express what cannot be put into words. Some dancers take it as a plain disrespect to be compared to any other activity. Their say in the argument defines dance as an art form, where every movement and posture denotes something. Even in its most competitive form, the score of a dance performance is judged by the heart-touching or impressive moments it has been able to generate. Not to forget that the spiritual pleasure of dancing is superior to the joy and elation of winning in sports.

Categorizing dance as a sport inhibits the interests of a beginner in dance with an artistic inclination. Also, people struggling with physical conditions tend to feel pressurized under the growing notion that a dancer is supposed to have a perfect physique or body. This agonizes the minds of those who perceive dance as a freedom of expression for one and all.

On a conclusive note, it is just a matter of perception when it comes to deciding whether dance is a sport. For those who do consider it as a sport, they surely see dance as sport of visual grandeur.
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