Day 50 of 84 Days of 84 Ribbons:Are Dancers Athletes?
Are dancers Athletes? There is considerable controversy over that question. Here are a few similarities to consider before you decide.
1. The level of precision for a ballet dancers is comparable to those of gymnasts. Their bodies must ‘hit the mark’ or experience injury or miss their intended outcome.
2. The energy needed to perform a full length ballet is about the same as playing two full soccer matches OR running 18 miles. Many athletes and dancers exert energy in spurts with rest periods (time between dances and commercial breaks /timeouts for TV sports.
3. Many movement are the same (but labeled differently) for sports and dance. Dancers and athletes bend their knees to get extra ‘spring’ for movements. Both slide their feet
4. Athletes often take the same conditioning classes as dancers: Pilates, martial arts and weight training. Football and basketball players have been known to take ballet classes to learn ways to loosen their hips and create greater leg turnout.
5. Ballet dancers share the same injuries athletes experience and often receive the same therapy. Both often retire before the age of 35 because their bodies are physically burned out.
6. Both must compete physically for positions with their groups. Both enter competitions seeking awards (sports) or favored positions with prestigious groups (both sports and ballet), Sports focus on one ultimate winning player or team. Dance has many companies so more ‘stars’ are created allowing more standouts performers to find recognition.
Definite differences also exist. Here’s the biggest one to my thinking: Dance is considered aesthetically pleasing and graceful; an art form that incorporates musicality, expression and creativity. True, athletes often perform amazing jumps and twists to score or advance their teams location on the playing field, but those times are exceptions rather than constants. Plus, sports teams do not expect or appreciate team members who get creative outside the rules of the game and try to express themselves in unique ways.
So, what do you think? Are dancers athletes? Yes or No.