Dance Dance Revolution: Dance Team *Is* a Sport

Dance Team has been disregarded as a sport by many, but requires the same intensity as a physical sport

Dance Dance Revolution: Dance Team *Is* a Sport

I’ve spent the last two years of my high school career dedicated, primarily, to one thing: dance team. And I have loved every moment of it. Despite what some of my less informed peers believe, dance team is hard work. We practice for four weeks from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.over the summer. We do ab workouts, cardio, and stretches, all to build endurance for our dances. We work with demanding guest choreographers and learn dances at a fast pace, sometimes in just a week. After all our hard practice, we have only one chance to get it right, in front of the entire school. You can find me and my teammates here after school for practice three out of the five weekdays. If we aren’t at the dance studio, you’ll find us at home, getting ready for a game or finishing our homework before a Monday night evening class. We are always working to be the best that we can be.

I’m so proud to be a member of the dance team and was so excited to be able to tell prospective colleges that I am a part of this incredible group. I think that being a member of a team signifies so much more to schools than just a varsity letter. It shows that you work as a teammate, know how to manage your time, able to achieve difficult goals, and that you have drive and a purpose.

Unfortunately, my teammates and I are not always given the chance to show how much we have worked. For example, I went to sign up for the SAT, a long process where you have to fill out many online forms about your achievements in high school. There comes a point when it asks you what sport you have played. It lists 30 sports — none of which are dance team. Ping-pong — excuse me, table tennis — is listed. But dance team, the sport which I work towards everyday of the week, isn’t on the list.

Why was I surprised? I’ve been told since I started dance team in middle school that it was not “a real sport.” I’ve been told by classmates, friends, and even administrators that dance team is not a sport. There are several arguments that I hear over and over: “you aren’t playing against anyone,” “there is no numerical score system to what you’re doing,” or “there’s no physical aspect to what you do.” Saying that is simply ignorant. Yes, we dance at the football games for entertainment purposes, but we do that because we love to demonstrate our accomplishments to our peers

The sport aspect of dance team comes at competitions. We travel hundreds of miles to compete against teams from all over the country. We aren’t playing against anyone? You’ve never seen a rivalry until you’ve seen two dance teams go head to head. We don’t use a point system? Tell that to the panel of judges that score our every missed turn, our every flexed foot, from every single angle imaginable. There’s no physical aspect to dance team? Tell that to our sore muscles and our tired bodies. Tell that to the teammate who has to flip her teammate and hold her entire weight (and fate) on her shoulders. Tell that to me after I have done a two-minute pom dance sixteen times. I probably wouldn’t have enough energy left to tell you how physically tiring dance team is.

When a classmate askes me “Why do you guys get varsity letters?” or a school administrator thanks us for “supporting the sports,” insinuating that we are not a sport ourselves, I can’t help but feel completely disrespected. That’s an insult to me, my teammates, my coach, and the entire sport of dance team as a whole.