Dancing is not just having fun and feeling the rhythm. It has a deeper meaning that can be found in all kinds of cultures. With so many different types of dancing, including country, ballroom, belly dancing and hip-hop, there’s something for everyone. This can range from simple movements to advanced compositions. Dancing is a very broad term. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
What is dancing?
The earliest known dancing is found in prehistoric cave paintings. Dancing was a way that early humans communicated across large distances. Early humans also used dancing, or ritualized movement, to express their feelings and create community. Dancing continued to be an important part of many cultures. Dancing has a long history behind it and is widely practiced across the world. It is often seen as a social activity and form of exercise. Many countries have different types of dance styles that are practiced and enjoyed by many different people.
In most instances, dancers don’t need a lot of equipment. Shoes and an outfit will do. This is different from other activities such as volleyball where a ball and net are needed as well. Some dance performances have very special costumes though and dancers have to switch between them very fast. It can be very spectacular when the dance starts out slow and then gradually ramps up the speed.
Music is an important part of dancing as well. It can affect the rhythm in which the dancers move. Some music is classical whereas other times it is more upbeat. The music is often played live or through a music system.
Most dances are structured but in some disciplines, the dancers can improvise based on what they feel at that moment. Dancing can be combined with acting as well to create opera presentations. There are a lot of professional dancers that tour the world with a performance. These dancers often learned multiple styles and have spent a lot of time perfecting their technique. Most dancers also have a coach that shows them new moves and helps them improve. In bigger performances, there is also a choreographer.
Now that we know what dancing is, let’s take a look at what a sport is to see if dancing is a sport.
What is a sport?
The word “sport” is used as a synonym for physical activity or exercise. You might say that someone is a “sport” because they are active and fit. But what does it mean to be a sport? In the broad definition, it means a physical activity that requires certain skills.
Stricter definitions also require that sports have a competitive element. An activity needs 3 components before it can be considered a sport according to these definitions:
1/ A physical activity
2/ That requires a skill
3/ And has a competitive element
In today’s world, most sports involve competitive games where the goal is to beat your opponent. This means that you can’t participate in a sport without having an opponent.
A lot of sports can be viewed on TV and a lot of people have a favorite athlete. This can inspire them to start practicing this sport as well.
Now that we know the definition of a sport, we can see if dancing is considered as such.
Is dancing a sport?
If we look at the definitions above, we can see that dance is a sport in the broader definition. It has a physical element as dancers have to move and also requires a lot of skill. Some dancers practice years before they can perform certain moves. This requires patiently perfecting these skills.
In the more narrow definition of the term sport, it also requires a competitive element. This is not always present so dancing can’t always be considered a sport. In some instances, there is a competitive part as dancers get points for the moves that they perform. A jury rates how the dancers perform and rank them against each other. The dancers that get the most points win and get a medal. This can be done solo, with two people, or in a group depending on the type of competition.
There are also variations such as endurance dancing. The goal is to dance as long as possible. The last dancers win a prize. These types of competitions have been criticized though as they are very intense.
In most instances, dancing is just a performance and not a sport. There are some famous performances such as the Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky that have been repeated over and over again so that millions of people were able to enjoy them.
People also perform their traditional dances during local events. It is quite common that traditional clothes are worn during these events. Some of these dances are several centuries old so they have a rich tradition. Live music is often played during this to make sure that everyone can follow the rhythm. In these instances there is also no competitive element.
Competitive dancing is not in the Olympics so far. It has been considered but was removed from the list.
To conclude, we can state that dancing can be considered a sport in some instances. There is not always a competitive element present so in the more narrow definitions, it is not always a sport. There are dancing competitions though where dancers can score points and win the contest. In this last instance, dancing can be considered a sport. Dancing has a very rich tradition and there are a lot of styles. While these styles are often related, they each have unique elements.