Is Dance A Sport or an Art?

For my Gold Arts Award Unit 1D, I looked into the modern debate of whether a sport is a an art form ... 

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There is much debate on a current issue of whether dance is just an art form or if it categorises as a sport too.  
A recent online poll from showed that 86% of people call dance a sport and 14% say it’s an art form. I think this is a great indication of how times have changed because dance used to only be an art of entertainment, however, now, as audiences change and the world evolves, they are starting to see how physically demanding it is to be a dancer as well as enjoying the creative content it radiates.  
I am going to discuss my opinion on this matter, being I think dance is both an art and a sport, and a wide range of views that contrast and agree with me.  
Oxford dictionary’s definition of ‘sport’ is ‘An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.’
I don’t understand how dance doesn’t fit into this definition. It involves physical exertion and a lot more skill than most sports; technique, using every single muscle in your body, remembering all the steps whilst counting the timings in your head. Dance competitions happen every day all over the country where a group, solos, duets or trios can be entered. Therefore, dance is a sport.
Dancers are athletes that defy all normal human limitations. Dancers can bend in ways other sportsmen could never imagine and have the stamina of cross-country runners. Dancers do all this while maintaining a facade of ease. Let there be no confusion; dancers are athletes.

The counterargument is that injuries are less common than they are for sports players, dance isn’t governed by a specific set of rules and dancers don’t use as much energy. As a dancer for over 6 years and a netball player for the same amount of time, from personal experiences, I’d say the likeliness of getting injured is about the same. However, one difference is that normally if you get an injury in dance, that’s normally the end of your career, especially for ballerinas. For example, if you fall
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off pointe and snap your ankle, there is no way of ever training it back to the strength it had before or using it in the same way because of the strain you place upon it when the whole of your body weight is relying on two toes. If you break your ankle as a netball player, yes it’s still going to take time to heal and probably won’t be as strong as it once was, but you’ll still be able to continue playing.

Over time, the Olympics have had to deal with the definition of a sport and how to make money and increase the TV viewership and unfortunately, that is all that this comes down to.
There are national and international dance competitions just like there are national and international figure skating competitions. However, their debate is:
"How much is Artistry the issue in determining a winner?"

By allowing Ice Dance and Rhythmic Gymnastics to be Olympic Sports, then it is only a matter of time before Dance could be an Olympic Sport.

All it takes is the Host Nation asking to have Dance as a demonstration sport in a future Summer Olympics. As long as the dance competition suggested already has an International Organisation and a current method of selecting an International Champion, then it could be placed in the Olympics.

‘Dancing is not a sport because it is purely subjective and doesn't have a defined goal nor a set of specific requirements on how to achieve said goal other than being in synch with the music and appealing to the taste of audience/judges present.’ - Estefanía Izaguirre
This quote I have taken from Quora makes my blood boil. How can you not have a defined goal? A footballer one season might aim to score 5 goals instead of 3 by focusing on specific exercises for aim and
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coordination. A dancer might only be able to do 2 pirouettes and their defined goal would be to be able to do 4 by the end of two months by focusing specifically on core exercises, spotting, balances and aligning their ribs over their pelvis to stop them from falling backwards out of it.  


There is no question to whether dance is an art or not. The answer is yes, it is.  

‘Dance is a performing art form consisting of purposefully selected sequences of human movement. This movement has aesthetic and symbolic value, and is acknowledged as dance by performers and observers within a particular culture. Dance can be categorized and described by its choreography by its repertoire of movements, or by its historical period or place of origin.’ – Wikipedia
Philosophers and critics throughout history have suggested different definitions of dance that have amounted to little more than descriptions of the kind of dance with which each writer was most familiar. Thus, Aristotle’s statement in the Poetics that dance is rhythmic movement whose purpose is “to represent men’s characters as well as what they do and suffer” refers to the central role that dance played in classical Greek theatre, where the chorus through its movements re-enacted the themes of the drama during lyric interludes.

Dancing is both an art form and a form of recreation. Dance as art may tell a story, set a mood, or express an emotion. Some dances consist of symbolic gestures that tell a story completely through movement.
Dance, the movement of the body in a rhythmic way, is usually to music and within a given space, for the purpose of expressing an idea or emotion, releasing energy, or simply taking delight in the movement itself.
Dance is a powerful impulse, but the art of dance is that the impulse is channelled by skilful performers into something that becomes intensely expressive and that may delight spectators who feel no wish to dance themselves.  

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In conclusion, I feel that dance is more an art form than a sport because not only is it for entertainment purposes but also to help other people in our community. For example, dance and other art forms can be used for therapy for children and adults who are experiencing mental health, physical, behavioural or emotional issues. However, my opinion has not changed in the fact that I still think dance classifies as a sport and a very hard one for that matter. Having to walk into studios filled with mirrors to critique every flaw is just as mentally demanding as the physical side of actual dance training. Adding on training outside of classes in the gym and eating like a professional athlete to get your body to where you need it to be to perform to extreme ways and levels no one else could imagine doing.  
Aristotle. (335 BC). Poetics.  
Guarino, L. (2015, May 28). Retrieved from Taylor & Francis Online. (2019). Retrieved from Oxford University Press. (2018, December 12th). Retrieved from Wikipedia. (2017, June 21st). Retrieved from The Art of Dance Studio. (2019). Retrieved from (2019).
Izaguirre, E. (2016, November 21st). Retrieved from Quora.
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Lewis, K. (2017, Janurary 30th). Retrieved from Inklings News.
Linnihan, M. (2016, April 26th). Retrieved from Odyssey.
Stagliano, T. (2015, November 30th). Retrieved from Quora. (2004, July).

Victoria Whitehead


Victoria Whitehead

Victoria Whitehead

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