Is Competitive Dance A Sport?


Tioga Bennett, Staff Writer

Competitive dance may seem the same as recreational dance but there is an important difference that many miss. Recreational dance is more for fun and has no structure while competitive dance requires a level of training and practice that many sports require which is why competitive dance should be considered a sport.

To see what everyone thought about this, I created a survey asking ifcompetitive dance is a sport and depending on their answer, they had the option to answer the question why or why not. And after sending it to all of the 8th grade Hawks at Centennial, 73 of them responded and here’s what they had to say:  49.3% or 36 of the students said “yes,” and the most common response for why was that it requires the same amount of effort and training like any other sport does and they compete like other sports do. However, 37% or 27 of the students said “no,” and the most common answer for why not was that anyone could do it because it doesn’t take much effort and I don’t like it. The remaining 13.7% or 10 of the students said I’m not sure with no extra response.  

I asked a few of my peers about how many hours they practice, some were competitive dancers and some were basketball players, all the same age group. The competitive dancers said that they practice from 13 to 19 hours a week, not including extra practices, performances, and summer workshops. In comparison, the boy basketball players said that they all practice 12.5 hours a week and the girl basketball players practice 7.5 hours a week with a few games in between. Something to keep in mind is that the lengths of these seasons are different. While basketball lasts a couple months with a few summer camps, dance goes all year round and with several summer workshops too. 

I interviewed two dance company instructors at Rising Star Tumbling and Dance Studio and here’s what they had to say. According to Aliscia Meyer, the main dance company director and coordinator, “As defined by 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. Dancers train many hours each week to improve their skills. They put their mind and body through vigorous exercises during their training. The end goal for a competitive dancer is not just to perform, but also to compete and better themselves each time they do. The definition of sport  discusses the individual or team competing against others. Dancers compete at all times, not just in a competition venue. They are always striving to be better than the dancer standing next to them in order to get seen and/or the lead part. Dancers have stamina, dancers aren’t allowed to show how hard we are breathing. The intensity at which we move can not look as if it is actually as hard at all. It must look effortless at all times. To become a competitive dancer, they must have years of training. That in itself takes discipline and sacrifice, another trait shared by most athletes in all sports.”  

Another dance company instructor, AJ Campbell, stated, “Yes. The Oxford dictionary defines a sport as ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for entertainment’. That is exactly what competitive dance is. A team of dancers prepares a routine over the course of several months and then performs it for judges at a dance competition among other teams. The teams compete against one another for the highest score and awards. Dance is a very difficult, physically exerting activity. Therefore, competitive dance is a sport.” 

To get the other side of the story, I also interviewed three basketball coaches at Centennial Jr High and here are their opinions. Mr. Marvel, a basketball coach for 8th grade A team boys, 7th grade C team girls and 6th grade C team boys, said, “Yes I do [consider competitive dance a sport], it takes an extraordinary level of coordination and precision to be successful. It also takes a lot of dedication and teamwork, it’s not an individual activity and you’re working towards a common goal with a team. And there’s a lot of competitions that have criteria that must be met at a high level just like any sports. Dancers can do a lot that I can’t do like body control that is very specific so I definitely think it’s a sport.”

Also Mr. Hinton, a 7th grade C team boys basketball coach, said, “Yes, because it takes a tremendous amount of athletic ability, time, effort, practice and talent.” 

Another basketball coach, for 8th grade A team girls and 6th grade A team boys Mr. Zeidler, stated, “Yes because there is a technical scoring to it that determines a winner or loser. It also requires a certain level of athleticism and coordination to be successful.”

I hope that I was able to change your view on competitive dance and understand it more than before.