Sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.
According to this definition there is no argument as to whether ballroom dancing is a sport. When at competitions, dancers must exert themselves using flexibility, muscular strength and both physical and mental endurance to create a strong performance that will give them the edge over their competitors.
For many years professional dancers were not viewed as athletes as critics claimed dance was not an eligible sport, however respect for dancers has gradually developed to now suggest they are just as valued athletes as many other sports. It’s validity as a sport became official first in 1992, where the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) became a full member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (SportAccord) and then soon after, was recognised by the International Olympic Committee, allowing DanceSport to be eligible to be a part of the Olympic Games! (Worlddancesport.org)
Dancers have to train just as hard as other sports performers to perfect their routines and be successful in their competitions, it does not just take practice of routines but also endurance, flexibility, strength and power training. This involves dancers being committed to regular and varied training sessions just as other athletes must be, proving that dance is just as much a sport as any other activity.
Latin American and Ballroom dance is also a very social sport which leads to enjoyment as it is competed with a partner and occasionally as a team who you must train and cooperate with to ensure you perform to your best ability to have the best chance of being successful. Despite working in partners, at UEA Dancesport, we very much focus on the idea of being a team sport as we support everyone, regardless of their ability and/or partnerships! The community feel is what keeps us motivated and keeps up the competitive nature of all our members.
Written by Hannah Evans