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An Argument Of The Qualification Of Dancers As Athletes

Dancers being considered athletes is a long-standing debate in the dance world. By comparing the differences between athletes and performers, as well as the attributes of both, it is possible to find that dancers may be equal or slightly better than “standard” athletes. Over the past ten-plus years, both sides of this argument have been supported by a great deal of evidence. However, it is clear that dancers, through better reasoning, are athletes. Dancers, who combine many artistic and athletic traits, are the epitome athletes. In the end, they are all athletes, and it’s discreditable to think of them in a different way. There are many who believe that dancers Mikhail Baryshnikov or Travis Wall are better than professional “athletes”. However, there are also countless experts, who feel they are similar. You can see all the characteristics, skills, and requirements that you would expect from an “average” athlete in a dancer. Dancers can be included under the “athletes’ category as they share similar attributes, such as professional endorsements, and a number of identical definitions.

When you look at the definitions of each, it is easy to see the similarities. Google defines a ‘dancer’ as “as someone who dances professionally or for pleasure” (Britannica), and dance can be defined as the rhythmic movement that the body makes to music or within a particular space in order express an idea or feeling, release energy, and/or simply enjoy the movement. Google describes a sportsperson as someone who can perform sports and physical exercise. Sport is defined as a contest that is pursued in order to meet goals. Sports have been a part and present in every culture. However, each culture defines sports differently. “The best definitions clarify the relation between sports and games, contests, and play” (Britannica). You will see that an athlete is merely described as someone who excels in sports. Physical exercise and dance are also very similar. Dance is a sport according to the popular definition. It encourages goals, challenges and the release of energy. The majority of athletes, like footballers or basketballers, begin their sport by playing simple games at school. As a requirement or a light sport or game on the street, they play 1 or 2 times a week for 1-2 hours per day, starting as children. Pre-professional dancers also have to meet the same demands. Dancers begin their training earlier than athletes. Both athletes and dancers have incredible definitions, so it is only fair that they are considered athletes. Many dance critics and professionals have agreed with this statement and provided ample evidence in support of it. Dance critics such as Alastair Macaulay, the critic for New York Times, and Joan Acocella, the critic for The New Yorker, have described the dance world as ‘elegant and athletic'(DanceConsortium) and these dancers from successful dance companies like the NYC Ballet of Joffrey have commended on their ‘athletic beauty’ and ‘athletic feats’ (DanceConsortium). Travis Wall, Many Moore and other dance professionals have recognized these dancers as having both classical and technical ability and athletic capability. Dancers are just as capable of dazzling an audience by their physical prowess. Dance professionals are promoting and recognizing these similarities between dancers and athletes.

We can also learn more about why dancers deserve to be categorized as athletes by looking at the attributes, requirements for careers, and duration of dancer and athlete careers. A successful dancer must have many qualities. These include balance, mobility and agility, stamina as well as coordination, flexibility. For example, baseball or football players need to have similar skills like coordination, agility, stamina mobility and strength. Dancers need to be better at balance, flexibility and attitude. They also require a strong work ethic and attitude. Dancers who are conscientious train 5-6 hours every night for 6-7 nights a week, starting at the age 3 or 4, until they reach the end of their career. This usually happens around 35 years old. Dancers and athletes both have to meet a high standard in order to get hired. Dancers must go through an audition for every company. These are rare and few, but they hope to get a contract of one year. For dancers, “In auditions and competitions the technical skill of a dancer can be near to perfect but if they do not have the ability to evoke the viewers and dance with the music then they will not necessarily fulfil the criteria.” ( The same is true for athletes. It is a common dream for athletes to make the NFL. Only 1.6% of all athletes are able to pursue a career in sports. The auditioning or trying out period for both athletes and dancers is roughly the same. They have the same amount time before their bodies become unable to handle the demands of the occupation. Dancers and athletes lose their physical capabilities as well. Dancers are usually given a deadline to audition with a company. Otherwise, directors may not feel that they can mold them to their vision. It is then more difficult for dancers to be signed early because of their age. The same pressures are felt by “athletes”, who are recognized as such by professional teams and leagues. As an “athlete” ages his body, his abilities become less effective or inferior to younger athletes who are stronger and faster. In certain situations, dancers may be better than athletes. Dancers are not only better than athletes at certain sports, but they also possess a number of skills that athletes don’t have. For example, they are more musical, have acting skills, can portray emotion using movement, can tell stories, show artistry and control their entire body. Dancers, who have the same or greater abilities than athletes do, earn a very small salary compared to professional footballers. Why is it that athletes earn more money and dancers are overpaid when they both do the same sport? Dancers are also strong and capable people. Due to their physical characteristics and abilities and their career requirements, they have many of the same athletic abilities as athletes.

Every day, millions of people enjoy the abilities of dancers and “athletes”. Dancers must be considered artists as well as athletes. Dancers are athletes with artistic abilities and qualities that make them successful. In order to avoid viewing dancers in a negative light, we should accept and appreciate that they are equally as athletic as the “athlete” standard. Dancers are now indisputably athletes and artists. Many are attracted to the dancer’s combination of athletics and artistry, while audiences also enjoy their strength and agility. Dancers are athletes because of their similarities in terms of definition, professional opinion, abilities, and requirements.


  • tommyperry

    I'm Tommy Perry, a 55-year-old educational blogger who enjoys traveling. I've been writing about education since 2012, and I hope to continue doing so for as long as I can. I also enjoy cooking and spending time with family and friends.

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