Dance, To Be A Sport or To Not Be A Sport


Katelyn Raybell, Writer and Editor

Dance… to be a sport or to not be a sport, that is the question.

It’s the long-asked question we’ve all been dying to know the answer to. Many have their opinions. “If there isn’t a ball involved, then it’s not a sport.” “Dance isn’t a sport, it’s an art form.” Why can’t it be both? it seems to be (for the most part) dancers against people who aren’t dancers. But what is a sport? What makes something a sport?


So, what is the actual definition of a sport? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Last time I checked dance checks all those boxes. I know I am not the only one who has this mindset, but the voices that seem to be louder in the sports world, seem to be the ones that act like football, baseball, and basketball, are the only sports that exist. Just because you can’t watch it on ESPN doesn’t mean it’s not a sport.


Dance is incredibly difficult. And no, not in a Dance Moms, Abby Lee Miller kind of way. However sometimes mental hardship can go hand in hand with the physical toll dance takes. It’s a year-round sport with training ranging from 1-7 days a week for hours at a time. Sometimes dancers are required to master multiple styles, remember hours of choreography, and practice outside of given rehearsal time. There is noncompetitive dance, like recreational or performance. School dance teams often get a bad rap and called “knockoff cheerleaders” because people can’t seem to understand the difference between the two. If they are so similar, why can cheer be considered a sport but dance can’t?


If it’s a matter of whether there is a ball involved, there are tons of sports that don’t have a ball but are still praised as a sport. Skiing, diving, even gymnastics are highly respected Olympic sports that don’t involve a ball.


Most arguments as to why dance isn’t a sport don’t have much evidence to back them up. Just because you find something boring or uninteresting doesn’t mean you need to make it your job to put the people who do enjoy it down. That goes for anything. As much as dance is an art form and a freeing way to express yourself through movement, its incredibly difficult and requires time and effort to perfect, just like any other sport. It requires dedication and grit, and sometimes you don’t win, just like any other sport. Next time you go to put someone down over their activity, ask yourself what it takes to do that activity. You may be surprised.