Imagine that you are back in elementary school. You wake up, go to school and get picked up by your parents. You scarf down your on-the-go dinner while heading to the dance studio. You have five hours of dance classes. You do your homework on the drive back because once you get home it will be bedtime. Repeat this five days a week.
Sometimes I shake my head that it is 2020 and people refuse to acknowledge that dance is a sport. I’ve never understood why dancers appear to be unathletic to some people. Dance is a sport and a physically demanding one too.
About a month ago, dance was ranked the most physically demanding job in the United States, according to researchers from Insurance Provider. The company conducted a study on workers from various careers, including firefighters, roofers and mining. According to researchers, there is an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs. However, researchers wanted to dig to find the job requiring the most physical labor.
Researchers ranked the level of strength, stamina, flexibility and coordination required for these jobs. Dance scored a perfect 100 in three out of the four categories, leaving strength with an 87.8 out of 100. No need to get jumpy and question the placement of other sports. All other athletes and sport competitors were ranked third overall.
As someone who’s been dancing since I was three years old, I can tell you that it takes a strong person. Pushing your body to keep leaping into the air over and over again is harder than it looks. Bending your body to put your feet above your head is just about as physically demanding as you can get. I danced competitively through a studio for years and I am now on the CWU dance team.
Dancers can perform for fun, for a school or competitively. Typically, if a dancer is competing then they are performing through a dance studio. A studio usually consists of multiple teachers and a studio owner. When competing, dancers can perform a solo, duo, trio, small group, large group or another kind of dance.
Even though dancers only perform for two to three minutes, they are able to perform multiple routines. There is an indescribable rush when running backstage to change from one costume into the next all while switching up hairstyles and makeup as well.
People look at dancers and think we can magically move our bodies like that. Nope, that is not how it works. Hours and hours and hours of dance classes go into requiring a level of that movement. However, it is more than just dance classes.
Being fit enough to maintain good stamina is required. The leaps, turns, flips and lifts will get you out of breath quickly. The flexibility requirement of a dancer is also on another level. Doing the splits is something that may be easy to some dancers but it still takes patience in the steps to get there. Dancers have to stretch everyday to maintain their current level of flexibility and skill. Pushing themselves to get better each day is no different than any other athlete.
Dance is very much like any other sports team. Dancers have to learn and run routines multiple times at every practice. This is similar to learning and running plays for football. Doing this allows the dancer or dancers to properly perform a piece. This is extremely important, especially in group dances, to ensure that nobody misses a move.
The amount of money that goes into dance should be a sport in itself. I mean, you’re paying for a registration fee, each dance class, warm ups, costumes, props, competition entry fees, makeup, hair, travel fees and more.
Dance is something that has been a part of my life for so long. I know, and experience firsthand, the work that gets put into being a dancer. I can only hope people will start to give dancers the credit they deserve.