Dance: A Sport, An Art, or Both?


Ava Clare Joly

(from left to right) Irish hard shoes, pointe shoes, Irish soft shoes

Hello Mother of Divine Grace community! Have you ever wondered if competitive dance can qualify as a sport, or is it solely a performing art? First, we must define these terms in order to examine this question:

Definition of a sport: an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. (from Oxford Languages)
Definition of performing arts: forms of creative activity that are performed in front of an audience, such as drama, music, and dance. (from Oxford Languages)

In order for a sport to be called a sport, it must have “physical exertion and skill,” and whether as an individual or team, they must compete. Dance not only has physical exertion, but it requires skill. You cannot truly be a competitive dancer if you do not practice, because with practice comes skill. Any competitive dancer knows the truth of that statement, and the long hours spent in the studio and at home practicing. Dancers also have the opportunity to compete in various individual and team dances at local, regional, national, and even world levels. Like all kinds of competitions, dance competitions are controlled by strict rules.

As the definition of performing arts says above, it is something creative or expressive to be shared with others. Any style of dance can be creative or expressive in many ways, and there are opportunities to share their dancing on a non-competitive or competitive scale.

So, is dance a sport, an art, or both? Dance matches the definitions for both a sport and a performing art. Remember, a sport does not necessarily have to be something that most would consider a traditional sport like football or basketball. To reiterate, dance has physical aspects, demands skill, and is competitive. Therefore, dance is a sport. I believe dance can also be called an art. Dance is just one way to express yourself or to create something beautiful. In conclusion, dance can be classified as a sport and a performing art.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, so what do you think? Based on the evidence and your experiences, is dance a sport, an art, or both? Thanks for reading this article and please comment with your thoughts!