Dance Is Not A Sport

Dance Is Not A Sport

Here's why it's so much more
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If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you are a dancer, and your blood is boiling underneath your skin because I have tapped into my inner middle school boy and insulted your favorite thing in the world. Maybe you are one of the people who agree because all dancers do is tip toe around in pink tutus, and there's nothing athletic about that. I'm not a mean middle school boy undermining the skill it takes to be a dancer, though. Actually, I'm quite the opposite. I'm a girl who has dedicated her heart and soul to the art form; and that's just what it is. Dance is art, not a sport.

A sport is simply defined as, "An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment." Now, yes, some could say that competition dancing is a sport. In fact, when I was a competitive dancer I too considered dance to be a sport. However, as I further my dance training, I realize that dance is so much more than a sport. Dance is physical exertion and skill that is capable of tapping into an audience's emotions to make them feel a specific way. That's art, plain and simple.

Dancers are more than artists, though. Dancers are athletes that defy all normal human limitations. Dancers can bend in ways NFL players could never imagine and have the stamina of cross-country runners as they power through two to three hour-long ballets. Dancers do all this while maintaining a facade of ease. They are always performing, which is why people often think they are just running around on their tip toes in pink tutus. And hey, in pointe shoes, even that is painful. Let there be no confusion; dancers are athletes.

Dance cannot be confined to the definition of a sport. Basketball games don't tell love stories and tales of heartbreak. What dancers do is mix their pure athleticism with their passion and artistry to create something incomparable to anything else in the world. Dance is like a sport on artistic steroids. It takes physical exertion and skill to an entirely different level. Dance isn't about winning a tournament or competition, though. Dance is about the impact it has on the audience. A good dancer always has the audience in mind.

While many consider dance a sport, as a dancer myself, I would have to disagree. Although dance has the physical components of a sport, it also has artistic components that turn it into an athletic art form. With every movement, dancers are able to bring both themselves and their audience into an entirely different world. As Martha Graham herself said, "Dance is the hidden language of the soul."

Cover Image Credit: Dance Nerds Unite

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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7 Things You May Not Know About College Dance Teams

Commonly mistaken for cheerleaders at sporting events, we live a life pretty much unknown to most others!

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Although most of the Student Body only sees us as the girls that dance at football and basketball games, there is so much more that we do. From all of the preparations for our game day routines, workouts, working on team uniformity, a lot goes into our few minutes on the court. And for us, that's just a side hobby. Many Dance Teams nationwide compete at a National competition once a year. Most teams' goals are the same: winning a national championship. But what it takes to accomplish that is so much more than anyone sees!

We workout... a lot.

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From timed mile tests to morning workouts, we NEVER stop working out. Running, lifting, core-strengthening are just some of the things we do on the side to make sure we are always at our peak physically. And it helps us look good, too.

We practice a lot, too!

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From learning and perfecting game day routines to learning and perfecting our national's routine, practices never stop. We typically practice 3-5 times a week!

Game-day appearance is no joke!

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From the fake eyelashes to the full face of makeup, our final look must be approved by a coach before ANY performance.

Uniformity is a NECESSITY!

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From matching uniforms, to the same brand and color of lipstick, to the same exact style of eyelashes, probably the most important part of any collegiate dance team is the uniformity!

Nationals is our Super Bowl

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Game days can be fun and exciting, too, but the attention is on the players, as it should be. At nationals, however, we are the ones directly representing our school and competing for the National Title! Nothing compares to the feeling!

Fundraising, fundraising, and MORE fundraising!

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Collegiate Dance Team Nationals isn't cheap! Most Dance Teams have to fund at least the majority of their national's expenses, which is A LOT of money! From working kids' clinics, selling clothing, having GoFundMe pages, having Bingo events, the list can go on for days!! So much work is put in outside of practice just to raise enough money to compete at a national competition.

The audition process is ... brutal.

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From learning a dance off of Youtube a few days prior to the audition and performing it in front of judges, to executing all of the necessary technical skills (no matter if its YOUR cup of tea or not), to personal interviews, to a conditioning evaluation, auditions for collegiate dance teams might be some of the toughest days of the year.

Overall, being on a college Dance Team can be very overwhelming, but being surrounded by girls with similar interests as you 24/7 who are like family to you, make it all worth it!

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