Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Proving my Pointe: Is Ballet A Sport or an Art?

Happy World Ballet Day everyone! To celebrate this awesoem day, here is my Senior Project research paper I wrote in HS. It seemed rather fitting it post it today. Enjoy!

Dancing is one of the most underrated and made-fun of art forms out there. Most people think that dancing is easy, everyone can do it and that it is not a sport. The truth is that, dance is not easy and not everyone can do it. I know that because I have been dancing for twelve years. I have had to work extremely hard to get where I am today. Dance is most definitely a sport as well as an art. It takes an artist to dance but an athlete to be a dancer.
In the article, “Is Dance A Sport?” written by Jenna Garecht published on The Huffington Post she states three main points that makes dance a sport. Those are: there are competitions for dancers, it has athletic components like any other sport does (i.e. jumping, stamina etc) and that it’s both physically and mentally exhausting. I will be discussing those points as well as the counterargument about dance being an art over a sport.
In the beginning of the article, Garecht, states that she used to do dance competitions. If you look up the definition of a sport it says that, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” There are many different dance competitions such as Starbound National Dance Competition or the more elite competitions like Youth American Grand Prix, which is like the Olympics of the dance world. In these competitions, individuals and teams compete against each other for entertainment and the top teams win awards. That is exactly what games like the Super Bowl or World Series are. So if there is a parallel between dance and a sport like baseball, dance must also be a sport.
        Secondly, Garecht, states that,“I believe that dance is a sport because it has the same components as any other sport. To be able to dance well, one needs to be flexible, strong, have stamina, have endurance and most importantly have a love for what they do. In any other sport you need to work hard, and that is exactly what dancers do. For example, most dancers practice between five to fifteen hours a week.” According to an article published on Newsday, NFL players practice for an average for fifteen hours a week excluding games and team-building activities. As stated in the quote above, dancers practice for the same amount of time, if not more. If that doesn’t show you dance is a sport, I don’t know what will.
Lastly, Garecht states that dance is both physically and mentally exhausting. As a dancer myself, I can 100% attest to that. Dance is physically exhausting because one performance is approximately three hours long, with only a fifteen minute intermission. Most dancers, are on stage during the entire performance, with maybe only a minute break in which they are posed in the background or are running to the other side of the stage for their next entrance. Dance is mentally exhausting because some artistic directors of companies are constantly yelling at you for making mistakes. Being constantly yelled at is mentally exhausting especially for dancers because they are naturally perfectionists. They strive to make dance look easy and the only way to do that is to execute every movement perfectly.
There is a lot of infantile competition in the dance world between other dancers. One example of that I can give is, Rachel always did better in the dance competitions than her teammates. She won first place overall at four national competitions in the solo division. No one else on her team was able to do that. So little by little, her teammates wouldn’t talk to her during class, would exclude her from team events such as sleepovers or trips to go shopping.
That’s not all.  In 1975,  Dr. James A. Nicholas in the Journal of Sports Medicine conducted a study to see what physical activities were the most physically and mentally demanding. Out of the sixty-one activities studied, ballet ranked number one as the most physically and mentally demanding. That, along with the examples above, surely explains how hard dance is.
Now the biggest counterargument is that dance is an art over a sport. While dance is most definitely an art, it’s also a sport. Art forms like gymnastics and figure skating have been recognized by the world a sport. Why hasn’t dance?
To most people, the purpose of dance is to tell a story.  That is true. Ballets, whether classical or modern, tell iconic stories Sleeping Beauty or Swan Lake through movement and music. You don’t see NFL players telling a story through a ninety minute game. When dancers perform they also have to be musicians, artists and actors as well. Music and acting are also art forms. Which makes dance an art as well.
In conclusion, I have discussed the three main points in Garecht’s argument about dance being a sport. I talked about how dance is a sport because of the competitions, because of the insane athleticism it takes to make dance look easy and how dance is both physically and mentally exhausting. I have also discussed the main counter argument about dance being an art not a sport. By now you should believe without a shadow of doubt that dance is a sport as well as an art.

~Poodle
Previous Post: Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Perfectionism 101
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1 comment:

  1. Beautiful- I totally agree that Dancers are truly underrated, your training is non-stop and you're also very discipline and some what of an perfectionist. I could go on and on, but you already know that dancers are awesome athletes and quite beautiful too! Keep on doing what you love! ❤️❤️❤️

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