By Jenna Frisby | Social Media Editor
When you think of an athlete, the same stereotypical sports come to mind: football, basketball, baseball and soccer. In reality, physical activity comes in many forms outside of these major sports.
I grew up a competitive dancer, and I constantly dealt with people defining dance as an “art form” or a “hobby.” This always offended me, because the level dedication I poured into dance takes the same amount of skill that is required of other athletic activities.
A key word that defines sports in general is competition. The competitive aspect of sports creates a divide of doing the activity for fun, or a drive to win. Growing up in the dance competition world taught me that hard work in the studio pays off in the form of a first place trophy similarly to a sports team winning a championship. Dance is arguably harder to become elite at, since everyone can dance in some capacity and scoring at competitions can be very objective or opinion-based.
Dancing requires stamina and an aerobic endurance that is often comparable to sports that involve running. Dancers are also required to stay in top shape, similar to other athletes, in order to perform at the top of their game.
People tend to focus on the artistic element of dance instead of the physical aspect. Yes, ballet and modern dance are both beautiful to watch, but instead of focusing on the visual appeal, look at the dancer’s toned muscles, controlled movement and memorized choreography.
Activities such as cheer and gymnastics are very similar to dance, yet are always defined as a sport with no questions asked. In today’s era, competition dance contains acrobatic and tumbling elements in order to score higher. By incorporating gymnastics into dance, dancers must increase their strength in order to perform these difficult skills.
As the current president of the Baylor Dance Company here on campus, I’m responsible for coordinating our annual competition. We attend American Dance/Drill Team Nationals in Denton each spring semester, where high school and collegiate teams from around the country travel to compete against one another.
The level of competition is so high that dancers have to incorporate tumbling and tricks in order to stand out from the other teams. Spectators are able to witness the incredible dance ability and physical performance necessary to successfully compete at the collegiate level.
People have a preconceived notion that dance is nothing more than an after school activity or a fun social activity. But what about the blood, sweat and tears it takes for a dancer to turn pro or beat out the competition?
I’m strongly in favor of including more physical activities in the category of sports. If an activity requires physical strength, endurance and practice, then it is indeed a sport. Therefore, dance is a sport.