College Dance Team Central

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dancer Universe: Should Dance Be Considered a Sport in School?

Dancer Universe My Dance Place Blog

It is the middle of summer. That means that your dance studio is winding down your year. Either you are at Nationals now, will be soon, or you already competed, and are going home. You may have a few weeks off before your fall classes start. Or, if you coach, or are affiliated with a high school, middle school, or college dance team, camps are going on right now and your teams may restart some time in the fall.

Being a member of a competitive dance team, either with a studio or school, is a lot of very hard work. It involves conditioning, basic drills and lots and lots of practicing. The academic world has been debating the sport versus activity controversy for years, in various states.

I am very curious as to how you ALL feel about this issue!

As with most hot issues, there are two sides. It is not just an argument about whether dancing is as athletic as, lets say-football or basketball, but there are many other things to consider. Costuming sometimes is discussed, along with questions about judging versus scoring points.

Anyone associated with competitive dance teams know that serious, competitive dancers are very well trained, are extremely athletic, and are probably in as good condition as their varsity football players, if not in better condition. The girls are as fit as the boys. Then why argue about if dance is a sport or an activity?

There are a lot of funding issues that came along with Title IX. Back in 1972, this law was finally enacted that addressed the inequality in sports. Back in the olden days, when I was in high school, there were no opportunities for me, to play real sports in school. The only option was intramural basketball, for a few weeks during the winter. Not much to get excited about, especially when us girls were limited to half of the court, I guess so we would not overly exert ourselves. Afterall, we did not have any fainting couches! Excuse the sarcasm, but wow, what was THAT all about?

Finally it is illegal to spend more money on boys sports than for girls sports. I assume it took several decades before this could become a reality, as programs had to be started, coaches that had sports experience had to be hired, and soccer fields, basketball courts and gymnasiums had to be scheduled for both the boys and girls seasons.

Many women, and men, worried that if dance were considered a sport, maybe the funding would not go to support girls hockey or lacrosse or another favorite sport.

Funding by school boards is also a point of contention. Some schools do not allow fund-raising at all. Because they are considered a sport, they are budgeted new uniforms only once every 7 years, for example, as the football team. Because dance is really more like Olympic ice skating, where the look of the performance is a part of the scoring, how do you feel about wearing the same thing for 7 years? This is one of the arguments against putting dance team in the sports category.

In Minnesota, several years ago, the emphasis was placed on promoting athletic-styled uniforms rather than frilly, sequin and beaded costumes. It was a visual attempt to support the push for moving dance team to sports status. Dance team still does not have full sports status-I am not sure why. But it is very close. And now, more than before, anything goes in our costuming, except for not much has changed in keeping the dancers covered from necks to thighs. So much for athletic-looking uniforms!

Satin Stitches belongs to many different high school dance team state organizations. The best part of this, is that we are kept informed about all the discussions in regards to this issue. An additional topic that is related to this, is the discussion on new costume or uniform rules, and what might change.

Other states have also struggled with deciding if their dance teams should have full sports status or not.

I want to hear what EVERYONE thinks about this issue!

Ladies and gentlemen-let the blogging begin!


  • I understand the argument that dance is athletic, but at the same time, I see dance as more of an ART than a sport. The issue is not with people refusing to call it a sport, it is with people not understanding that in order to master this artform, dancers must condition and train to the same degree as many athletes. Costumes is an insignificant concern as to the athletic or non-athletic activity in which dancers participate. The true problem enlies in the fact that sports fans want to head-to-head competition and cut and dry winners and losers (based on points or technical skill that can be scored in black and white terms)in their athletic events. Dance is too subjective for the sport world, and, as a dancer, I am fine with that. I understand that the majority of competition is based on judging, and we all know that people's opinions will always differ... but if in order to call MY passion a "sport" we will need to strip the individual creativity from it and perform only technical elements for points, I would rather it not be considered a sport. I dance in order to express my passion to people and I believe people can appreciate dance without it needing to be considered a sport. We should stop pushing the "sport or not sport" issue, and start pushing for people to take an interest in the beautiful art that is dance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11:27 AM  

  • Theres a contest called dance sport, so yeah, it must be considered a sport in schools.

    By Anonymous Trish Stratus, At 1:23 PM  

  • Dance is a sport. People say that it isn't a sport because the routines are different and you can't judge exactly. The same thing is true with cheerleading and that is considered an official sport. I've even heard people say that dance isn't a sport because not enoughpeople get hurt. I'm living proof that that isn't true. Injuries happen all of the time in dance. One more has been proven that dancers are more athletic than most athletes.

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  • The TSSAA (Tennessee) considers dance a sport g with cheerleading.

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