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Dance: Art and Sport

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About a year ago, I forced a friend to come watch me and my team perform at a local dance competition. This friend, Mark, is brawny, close-minded, and dedicated to the game of football; essentially, he is not normally seen at one of these venues, and was hesitant when I first asked if he would come. “Why would I want to see that? Dance is nothing compared to football,” he said. Though his response was rude and ignorant, it made me want him to come see the competition even more. After several futile minutes of arguing, Mark was finally convinced with the promise of seeing girls in tight, revealing leotards.

I picked him up the morning of the competition and drove him and a couple of fellow dancers down to the convention center where the show would take place. I showed Mark to his seat and went backstage with my teammates to stretch and warm-up before we went on stage. After all the teams performed and the awards were distributed, I met up with Mark. “So, what did you think?” I asked. Rather than commenting on some cute girl he had seen in the show, he described to me how he was amazed at the amount of talent, technique, and strength that he had seen from the dancers on stage. “Dance is just like football,” he said. He explained to me that after seeing the numerous dances, he recognized that each dancer had a purpose in the routine?just like each football player had a position on the field. When someone does not fulfill his or her movement, it is just like a pass being dropped. No matter how hard any of the teammates try to cover it up, the audience still notices and the team loses potential points. The plays and routines are choreographed, each team member wears a required and matching uniform, and both require hours of practice. Surprised by Mark’s response, I then knew that dance had now gained his respect as a sport. Even though he knew how much time and effort I spent practicing and rehearsing, it wasn’t until he saw this competition that he was interested in how I trained.
Though Mark’s observation was flattering, dance can be compared to much more than just a game of football. Proudly calling ourselves athletes, we dancers take great offense when considered anything less. To me, a sport is defined as a physical activity involving skill, and often large amounts of practice and training, in which an individual or team competes against others. Therefore, according to this definition, competitive dance should be universally considered a sport. As a competitive dancer for the past six years, I have spent many hours training, strengthening, and competing as all athletes are expected to do. In the future, I hope that I am someday treated with the same respect as athletes of other sports.

During these past six years, my teammates and I have learned and developed the same skills that are necessary for any athlete to succeed. Agility, balance, determination, flexibility, and strength helped us to grow and develop into physically and mentally strong athletes. Although I cannot admit to ever playing a game of football, I have watched enough games and practices to understand that dancers need just as much training as other athletes do.

However, unlike table tennis, dance requires its participants to practice and train as a team. After spending hours each week rehearsing and training, the team’s leader decides which competitions the team will compete in. At most competitions, like the one that Mark witnessed, there are rules and regulations, as in other sports, that the dancers and choreographers must follow. In certain categories, there are limits to how many dancers can be on stage at once and to the types of costumes that may or may not be worn. Once the dances have been scored, each team is compared to the scores of the other teams in its category, and the top teams are awarded — just as in any other sport or tournament.
To some, dance cannot be seen as a sport because it is impossible to be ranked as a team or individual. There are no “wins” or “losses” at a competition, and individuals are merely chosen by audition, rather than statistics. Even though this is true, if we abide by my definition of a sport, then dance meets all the requirements. Dance may not require a helmet or padding, but it is difficult and requires significant training to be successful. If people opened their eyes to the world of dancing and the ways in which dancers are evaluated during their competitions, then more people would accept the fact that it is a sport. Though Mark took a little convincing to come to the show, he enjoyed watching, learned about the difficulties of dance, and found a hobby in choosing which girl on stage had the best calves.



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Akela P. said...
Apr. 25 at 6:46 pm:
wow that was good im now goig to write a paper on that and i may post it if  you want me to when i have it done.
 
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