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Can dancers be considered athletes?

Dance is widely considered an art form and dancers are considered artists. However, no one can deny the fact that dancing is just as physically demanding as any sport. Some types of dances can even be more physically demanding than some sports. But are the skill and physical virtuosity enough to classify dancers as athletes? There seems to be a lot of disagreement regarding the classification of dancers as athletes.

Athletes are generally associated with competitive sports. While dancing can also be a competitive activity, this is not the primary association that people make. In fact, most people would agree that the main purpose of dancing is to communicate ideas, feelings, and maybe even to tell a story. But dancing can be performed just for the purpose of taking delight in the movement itself. Even if you think of dancing as an abstract and spiritual activity, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it requires a lot of strength, flexibility, agility, and balance.

Irish dancing: a display of athletic attributes

Let’s take for example the Irish dance. This type of dance requires a correct posture, very precise body movements, and endurance, of course. Not to mention that performing this type of dance requires a lot of training and equipment. Irish dancers, just like athletes, have to follow a very rigorous training regime and maintain a good physical condition. When looking for the right Irish dance shoes you have to know that there are two types of dance shoes in Irish dancing and each one showcases different types of dancing and requires different kinds of physical abilities. Irish soft dance shoes require more grace and flexibility, while Irish hard dance shoes are more about dance moves that require muscular strength, maintaining a steady rhythm, and showing off skillful footwork while making that characteristic tapping sound. The Irish dance is a very technical kind of dance that requires very intense training and an incredible amount of strength in the feet, legs, and core.

Ballet: athlete-like endurance and agility

The case that dancers are athletes can be made using even less obvious examples. Few people would think of ballerinas as athletes, for example. However, many people underestimate how physically demanding ballet really is. A ballerina is not just someone who floats around the stage looking pretty. This dance requires a lot of endurance because it is about constant movement at changing paces. On top of that, it all has to look gracious and effortless, which is way harder than one can imagine. All ballet dance moves require a lot of speed, agility, and muscular strength. Some ballerinas can do such complicated moves that even a top athlete would be left speechless.

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