Is Dance a Sport? The Archer Perspective

Anabel Palmer October 31, 2013 6
Is Dance a Sport? The Archer Perspective

Over the years, people have continued to argue over the controversy concerning whether or not dance should be considered a sport.In the 21st century someone is considered an athlete if they participate in traditional sports such as basketball, soccer, or tennis, because of their competitive and challenging nature. Yet, in such a changing society, one might wonder about dance. Is dance a sport?

Recently the Oracle sent  a survey to evaluate how students view this topic. The 161 girls that completed the survey indicated that 63% of Archer’s community prefers sports to dance. The survey also showed that more girls participate in the Archer athletics program than the Archer dance program.

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In the survey, Archer girls expressed why they enjoy participating in sports. One student said, “I like sports because I’m able to escape from the stress of school or distractions at home or with friends. When I play sports, all of my energy is dedicated to focusing on the present moment, and it feels refreshing to not have to think about anything else.”

The survey also asked Archer’s dancers why they enjoy dance. One girl says she can “express herself through dance and get physically active at the same time,” while another student says she simply  “really likes dance—it’s just super fun to do.”

Does the Archer community think dance is a sport? Even though traditional sports were favored over dance, over three quarters of the Archer girls do consider dance a sport.

A student replied, “it takes the same amount of physical exertion, preparation, and competitive flair.” However, some do not believe dance should be considered a sport to because “dance is an art not a sport.” In addition other girls feel that dance “just doesn’t seem as active as sports are.”

Based off the feedback, Archer students appreciate dance and sports for very similar reasons. Even though the majority of the surveyed Archer’s students consider dance to be a more artistic form of exercise, all of Archer shares the opinion that both these activities will result in expressing oneself, letting go of stress, and exercising in a healthy, fun way.

Featured Image: Maria Kochetkova and Lonnie Weeks of the San Francisco Ballet Photographer: Liza Voll


  1. Kristin Taylor November 1, 2013 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    What a great article, Courtney! Thank you for sharing. There’s no doubt in my mind that dance takes just as much athletic ability as a traditional sport.

    It makes me consider how we group articles in the Oracle—we have an “Arts and Entertainment” section as well as a “Sports” section. Do you think that it is more a sport than an art? In which section does it belong?

    • Courtney Urbancsik November 1, 2013 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      I feel that dance is traditionally–and universally–considered an art as it has a less competitive nature and more aesthetically-pleasing foundation than other “sports”.

  2. Courtney Urbancsik November 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    Being a dancer, I definitely consider dance a sport, for professional dancers have just as much endurance, strength, training, and focus as any other athlete. As a retired competitive gymnast I know that a dancer’s solo or group piece demands just as much energy and stamina as a floor routine. Also I think we also have to take into consideration that Gatorade, a leading manufacturer of sports-themed beverages and food products, has recently recognized dance as a sport and dancers as athletes. I have attached link to an interview with Alicia Graf Mack, a renowned dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, that supports this claim.

  3. Kristin Taylor November 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I wonder if some of the confusion is about the definition of “sport.” If we define sport as purely competitive, I don’t know if I would call dance a sport. If we are talking about athleticism, that’s an entirely different conversation. Clearly dancers are athletic (just look at the featured photo from the SF Ballet!). What is the purpose in defining dance as a sport, I wonder?

  4. Sage Orvis October 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm - Reply

    Hmmm. I don’t know how I feel about this. As a dancer, I definitely think dance is a sport. You cannot tell me sitting on a bench, or standing in a net takes more effort than launching 100 pounds in the air.

    • Marcela Riddick November 4, 2013 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      Although it is not your intention I feel that some athletes might take offense to your statement. Because even if you don’t play as much or have a mostly stationary position, you still practice just as hard as the rest of the team and are just as important as any other member.

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