Exploring Dance As A Sport

by on August 13, 2015

   Dance has long received flack as falling on the more reserved side of the family of athletics. Anyone who has been through the strenuous tests of strength, balance, cardio, and agility will tell you very simply that this is not the case. Dance is up there with the most demanding of organized sports. The football players of the University of South Carolina are encouraged to take Dance Appreciation, taught by Susan Anderson, to truly tap into their inner grace. For what is lost on the field in terms of centering oneself and ensuring proper form, can be found on a dance floor in a studio.

   These football players are just one group of muscle-bound athletes with little or no dance background to enter the studio. Ballet does, after all, keep joints and muscles strong and lean, as opposed to the heavy bulking that weightlifting brings. It also has its place within various sports: Herschel Walker of the Dallas Cowboys performed with the Fort Worth Ballet while he was playing.

  I personally recall the Western Washington University Women’s Rowing team in the locker room one day, discussing pliés and “that runny thing you do before a leap.” I had just finished my own dance class and watched as they bent into a grand plié with shaky knees and wobbly ankles, all while working out the use of core strength to flexibility needed to perform the movement. The criteria required within dancing— focus, determination, strength— seem to have found a place at the table with athletics.

Watch the leaps and bounds here: