Dance is one of the hardest sports in the world


When you think of difficult sports, basketball, football, soccer, or track are probably some of the things that come to mind. I am here to explain to you that dance is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world.

According to Dance Magazine “…data found that the profession of dance scoured a 97 out of 100 for the overall level of physicality on the job. Dancers were placed above athletes and sport competitors who ranked at number three on the chart scoring a 90.4.” To be clear, I am not saying that other sports are not physically taxing because they most definitely are, but I’m explaining a sport that is commonly underestimated. 

Reasons why dance might not be considered difficult to people is because it’s underestimated. The first assumption that people make about dancers is that they are ballerinas who dance on their “tip toes” and “spin.” This is honestly insulting because it’s mockery at the true skill that dancers have. The memorization and knowledge that it takes to acquire all the terms in the dance world is insane, starting off with the fact that everything is in french. It’s highly impressive to be able to know an entire combination of moves in a completely different language. Anyone could understand other sports terms like “go long” for football, but no one in the room could even begin to understand what tombé-padeburé-jeté-means. If other sports are in English and are difficult, imagine the intelligence it takes to remember and understand directions in a different language. 

Not only is dance a sport, but it is a performing art. I don’t believe that there is any other sport in the world that involves the precision and perfection that dance does. While a dancer is performing, they are thinking about their lines, technique, facials, choreography, timing, stage presence, and team. Every single one of these things is being looked at by the audience and judges. For example if someone shoots for a basket in a basketball game and misses, it’s just a missed shot, you always have another chance to redeem yourself and win the game. Applying this to a performance in dance, if a dancer does so much as drop their leg early in an extension, that could be the last time they ever perform their routine again. Dancers have two minutes and thirty seconds to nail their routine and if they don’t, it’s game over. Another thing I would like to point out is you have to look pretty while performing some of the most difficult moves you will ever see. In other sports you could look as sweaty, worn out, or annoyed as you want, but while you’re performing on stage a dancer’s face has to match the song to which they are dancing, and points will be deducted if they don’t look good doing it. 

While performing choreography, your body must be strong enough and have the technique to hold and control your movement. To explain this, I’m to use a leg extension as an example. A leg extension is a move where you hold your leg out and it is positioned next to you as high as it can go. While performing this, the first thing you’re going to do is begin with your feet in first position. Next, the dancer will point their foot remaining turned out and it to piqué. Now, you’re standing on one foot with the other bent to point at your knee. To perform the extension you lift your leg while keeping your hip down to perform the right technique. I wanted to describe this to show the physics and technique that goes into one singular move.

The last thing I would like to point out is the judges. The people who are chosen to judge dance competitions are professional choreographers, Broadway dancers, and backup dancers. Therefore, they are judging ages under 18 by their own level of skill as adults. For a local comparison in Corry, PA, this would be like an Olympic diver judging the Corry swim team on their skill. Being a dancer also comes with having thick skin, because judges are tough and dancers are told horrific things like they’re too fat, skinny, tall, that their legs aren’t straight enough, or how high their relevé is will define who they are as a dancer. The teacher and choreographer are ultimately being judged as well because if the teacher creates bad choreography then their studio won’t win. 

Dance has been proven to even help other athletes through ballet. This art helps strengthen them and some famous sportsmen according to who have participated in this are Lynn Swan, Herschel Walker, Rio Ferdinand, Steve Mclendon, and Ray Emery. I feel like showing that other sports use dance shows how much strength it takes to do it full time. So maybe next time you think that dance isn’t difficult remember that professionals are taking it just to help strengthen themselves. If I would want the readers to do one thing after seeing this it would be to respect dance because it is hard, if not one of the hardest, sports out there.