Dancers Deserve Respect Equal to Other Athletes

Tutus, satin ribbons, rhinestones, and tiaras often come to mind when people think of dancers.

For many, this is all that ballet represents, an activity for little girls.
When asked to imagine an athlete, a ballerina twirling across a stage with a delightful smile is not what one typically pictures.

As a dancer of 10 years, I am all too familiar with the immense athleticism dancing requires. From jumping to turning to lifting ballerinas far above their heads, dancers exhibit great physicality and agility, performing incredible feats all while maintaining character and grace.

When talking to my 13-year-old brother, I realized that he too lacked an appreciation, though he has been attending my ballet performances since he was a toddler.

Campolindo has a large dance community, yet the disrespect dancers encounter from other student-atheles has become a strange sort of initiation.

“I feel like there’s people who are really impressed by what we do, but also people who don’t think it requires much work,” said sophomore CAPA dancer Halley Campo.

While some assume that professional football or basketball players have the most physical jobs, data from the Occupational Information Network as reported by Dance Magazine suggests that dancers face the most demanding challenges of all.

Campo added, “I think professional dance and the training leading up to it might even be more demanding than other sports. There’s an element of discipline that you need from a young age to be successful that many sports don’t require as much. You also have to do things with your body that go beyond muscular strength. It’s very important to be thinking about how you are aligned from the inside.”

The athletic demands that dancers face are similar to that of a conventional athlete, as the entire body is engaged and needs to remain both strong and flexible. News website Post Crescent states, “The athleticism of a ballet dancer is comparable to that of a high-performance athlete where whole-body conditioning is key to success, such as in swimming and track. Dance requires endurance and equal parts of strength and flexibility.”

Dancers’ training involves repetition of movements in order to perfect the execution of various steps.

Dancers practice and perform. Just because they happen in a studio instead of on a field or in a pool doesn’t mean that the work dancers do should be discredited. If anything, the fact that dance combines athleticism with artistry should garner it greater appreciation.

Whether dance qualifies as a sport is not important. What is important is that dancers are respected for their dedication and achievement like some many other Campolindo athletes are.

“I personally don’t consider [dance] a sport either, however the idea is that we are putting in as much effort, or even more effort, as that of any other athlete,” said Campo.