Is Dance Harder Than Other Sports?


Photo Source: Kristen LeClairs

Alyssa Coberly, Writer

Many people believe that dance is not considered a sport or they think it is easier than most sports. It has been a controversial topic for years, where some believe it is more like a form of art. Three people at Dance Technics in Merrimac, Massachusetts gave their opinions on dance and how it could potentially be harder than other sports. 

Laura Stevens, a dance teacher at Dance Technics who has been dancing for 25 years, was asked whether she thinks dance is more of an art or a sport. She says, “Both, but if I had to choose, I would say it is an art but very athletic. You train your whole life; it is very physical. It is a team sport, but at the same time it is also an individual sport, and you compete.” She also mentioned that unlike other sports, dance is an elegant art focused on rhythm and timing that takes hours to perfect. Laura was explaining how other sports play in the moment. With dance, there are multiple routines that have to be memorized and perfected.

With other sports like soccer, they train for that specific sport for one season a year while dance is year round. In dance, most people start at a very young age and it becomes their whole life. The training can be very difficult because there are different ways to train in dance. There is exercising, stretching, control, balancing and, most importantly, dancers need to learn how to perform and sell the show.

Photo Source: Patti Normandie

Nancy Foster, a dancer at Dance Technics says, “I do believe dance could be harder than other sports because the human body isn’t meant to bend in those ways and you have to train so much for something that seems so simple. With ballet, you either get it right or wrong; [there is] no in between, which makes it more difficult.” She also talks about how the style “pointe” can be dangerous. Injuries occur quite frequently because the shoes shift the dancers body weight to their toes, causing stress. Dance has been challenging for Foster because it is her senior year and she has dealt with multiple injuries that have caused her to sit out. 

Dancers aren’t only challenged physically; they are challenged mentally. They have to deal with the constant anxiety of looking and presenting themselves perfectly. Stevens said it best: there is an element of perfection to it. You have to look a certain way in a costume, wear a specific style of make-up, and make different faces based on the mood of the dance. It is all tough and takes a toll on you mentally. You’re constantly feeling judged and pressured to be perfect, whether the pressure comes from judges, teachers, or even other dancers.

From left to right: Coberly, Drake, and Foster

Ryann Drake, another dancer at Dance Technics, was talking about her experience with mental health in dance. She says, “After dancing in a studio with mirrors surrounding you for four hours with eight other dancers, you start to compare yourself to everyone else with stuff you can and can’t do.” Being a dancer comes with a lot of insecurities, and they have to learn how to overcome them. It takes a lot of time to get in a healthy mindset and to stop comparing themselves to others. 

Dancing has a strange concept to it because it is a team sport but it also can be described as an individual sport. For the dancers that have solos or duets, they have to compete against their own teammates, which can create a sense of rivalry. It can get intense either way. The bonding experience, however, is incredibly important when it comes to dancing.

Drake says, “We have to have an emotional connection to actually do specific dances together, and there have been times at competitions [where] I had to comfort dancers on my own team and even our rivalry teams after they messed up on stage.” In the world of dance, it doesn’t get as viscous as other sports. Other studios help each other get ready for competitions and wish each other good luck. 

Dance is a very hard sport, but it can also help people keep in touch with their emotions and allow them to express themselves. Dance allows people to grow and is a great experience. Foster talked about how dance made her grow up faster and gave her new experiences with working with kids. Stevens agreed with Foster and shared her story with moving dance studios as a teenager and growing as a dancer and person. Stevens says, “I wanted to become a dance teacher because it changed my life: dance changed me as a person.”

It was a good experience interviewing these three dancers. They all had similar yet different opinions as to why dance could be harder than other sports. Dance is a difficult sport, but good things come with it. It is an escape from the real world, and dancers get to pour their emotions out on the dance floor. It takes a lot of talent to connect to the tone and lyrics of the music and move their body to match it. Dance has the strength to change one’s life.