Dancers are Sporty

Why should dance be considered a sport?

One of my senior pictures.

Dance involves so much physical activity, much more than most of the things we consider sports. Not only does it use a lot of physical activity, but it also uses almost every muscle in your body. Every single muscle in your body is just as important as the rest. Your arms have to be strong when you are doing ballet and loose when you are doing contemporary. Your legs have to be straight and stretched to full length. Knowing when to use certain muscles is a big part of dance. You also tend to use the muscles in your toes. In most styles of dance your toes have to be pointed which takes muscle. In one specific kind of dance, which is pointe dance you are to dance on your toes through the duration of the whole routine. It takes a lot of athleticism and strength to do so. It is explained in an article from Journal of Physical Education that dance is a great way to develop athletes. It says, "Dance is an excellent form of conditioning for athletes. It creates greater kinesthetic awareness, which can help athletes when they are airborne or on the ground" (http://www.tandfonline.com/). Dance is an activity that is helpful to every sport. Not only does it help with kinesthetic awareness, but it also helps with retaining information, balance and energy. If it is useful and helpful to other athletes, then it itself should be considered a sport.

Competitive Dance

An action shot from my senior solo at a competition.

When people think about dancing they think about putting on performances or the more technical term being recitals, but that is not all that dance is. What people fail to realize and think about when claiming that dance is not a sport is competitive dance. Just like every other sport it can be very competitive, and we take competition very seriously. Dancers put a lot of time and dedication into preparing for competition. They practice for more than twenty hours a week in order to get the moves synchronized. In an article from teenlife.org, SRHS senior Lauren Allaire states, “We condition every rehearsal, which includes a six minute plank, three hundred sit ups, fifty burpees, we run laps, and a lot more. We become complete athletes. I have practice for twenty hours a week in order to prepare for the competitions"(http://teenlife.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/). People also say that because they do not face off head to head, but instead use a panel of judges then that is another reason why it is not considered a sport. Although, gymnastics also uses judges and no one argues that they are not athletes. In fact, people claim they are the most athletic people. Why would that rule apply to one of them and not the other?

The Progress

The first photo was taken when I was nine years old and the second one was taken my senior year.

The above images show that if you work hard enough at something you will eventually get better. Us dancers spend so much of our time in the studio trying to perfection our moves. There is no better feeling than when you reach your goal and get the move down. We push our selves to extreme measures to try and improve, and any dancer well tell you the same thing. A. Keyes Dance has an article on dancers progression and how some dancers may progress at a faster pace than others. "Each of us has our gifts and each of us has our challenges. And if you look back a year, you’ll see how much you’ve gotten better" (http://www.akeyesdance.com/). It is okay if you do not progress as quickly as someone else does. It does not mean you are not as good as them, it just means that is not your strength. You may be a better and faster learner when it comes to something else compared to your fellow dance mates. Just like any other sport, the point is to get better. You are constantly trying to be better than you were the day before. You make lots of mistakes while being involved in sports, that I know personally. As long as you learn from them and try not to make that mistake again then it doesn't matter. There is no truer statement than hard work pays off and dancers are living proof of that.

The Passion

Dancers are very passionate about what they do. You can see it in the way they perform. If you are not passionate while performing on stage it is noticeable and not very enjoyable to watch. It it also known that the more passion you put into your routine the better it will look. People will not notice your technique as much, because they will be paying attention to your face. Watching someone dance with passion is such a beautiful thing. If they can make you feel the emotions that they are feeling then they are doing a good job. Dancers should be able to move their audience. Passion is not just an important factor in dance, but in every other sport as well. Advanced Human Performance System has an article about passion in sports. They state, "When athletes have passion and purpose, they quickly move through tough times and stay hungry for the next day. Their resiliency is seemingly hard-wired into their DNA, and they understand and accept that they will take their lumps along their way to greatness" (http://blog.drstankovich.com/). Passion can not be taught, you either have it or you don't. When you play a sport and do not have passion about it you are never going to reach your full potential. That is the same with dancing. If you don't have the love for it, then you are not going to try and improve.

The Pain

People think that dance is easy and doesn't hurt when in reality it is quite the opposite. At some point in their dance career, every dancer is faced with an injury. We put our bodies through so much which means it is inevitable that we will get hurt at least once. Pain comes with the love. Most dancers are faced with injuries to the ankles, knees or back. Those are the most used parts of the body when it comes to dance. We are constantly straining our backs to get more flexible and make our moves more beautiful. There is an article on dancing through the pain and a medical doctor named Anja Hauschild who is also a former dancer talks about the pain that comes with dance. "The demands put on dancers are enormously complex, since the repertoire of movements are constantly changing depending on which choreography you are working with at a particular time. You constantly have to be unbelievably adaptable, and that naturally means extreme strain on the body” (http://ballet.dance.lv/). Majority of the time, even after discovering an injury dancers choose to ignore it. They do not want to stop doing the thing they love most so they try to push through the pain. We will take high doses of painkillers just so we will still be able to dance that day. We don't think about how it will affect us in the long run because we only think about the present. Not being able to dance, for us, is worse than any injury. In every sport pain is going to be experienced by the athletes. If you never experience pain you have to be doing something wrong.

Photo Essay

Dance is a beautiful way for you to express your emotions. When you can not put how you feel into words, you can always put it into dance. Part of what makes dance unique is that everyone there shares the same passion and love. They are always there to help to each other and motivate one another to get better. You can feel the energy and passion on stage when you get a group of dancers together that love to do what they do. It is absolutely beautiful. This is relevant to me, because I have belonged to this community since I was four years old and have loved every moment I have spent in it. How happy I feel while I am dancing and on stage can not be put into words. It brings so much joy into my life. Dance will always be so important to me and a part of my life. Even if I am just dancing around in my room, it seems to always make me feel better.

Reflective Piece

Formulating research questions was probably one of the biggest parts of writing this advocacy essay. By having research questions, it allowed me to know what I was trying to prove and made it alot easier to make my essay flow. It helped me to stay on topic and not repeat myself. Another big part of this advocacy essay was the ability to work with different researchers. Having and finding sources was very important in order to complete this essay. By having sources and information from other researchers it helped to prove my point. It made trying to explain my ideas easier because I had people that backed up my ideas. I had to correctly use my sources in my paper as well. I had to make sure that they were cited correctly and I did not plagiarize. Grammar and mechanics was also something I focused hard on throughout this essay. I had to make sure that my words flowed correctly and I was using the right tense or what I was trying to say and prove would not make any sense. There were certain parts of the paper I found easier than others. For example, finding pictures was easy for me because this is something I have been doing throughout my life and I have many personal pictures to use. Another thing I found easy to do during the paper was formulating research questions. I knew exactly what I wanted to do my paper on as soon as it was assigned and I have many questions about this whole situation. I just threw all the unanswered questions I had into my paper. One part of the paper I found particularly difficult was finding the sources. I know most of this information off the top of my head so I did not really need sources to help back me up. Also, it was hard to find sources that were about what I was trying to prove. I just tried to find websites that had quotes that would help me prove my point instead. The grammar part was hard for me as well. Grammar has never been something I have been good at.

Works cited for pictures and videos

Morgan, Samantha. “DanceComp Genie Events on the App Store.” Pinterest, 5 Jan. 2016, www.pinterest.com/pin/62909726022978563/

Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMkBrnobqU38tloKSJqoeMg. “SRHS Dance Team Homecoming Pep Rally.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Oct. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=6plnHgbbBj8.

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