Dancers define the role of art and beauty in sports


Courtesy of Allie Beekman

Senior Allie Beekman of Neptune dances to “Out Tonight” from “Rent” in a solo jazz performance at the 2017 Adrenaline Dance Convention.

Allie Beekman

There is one question dancers always dread, the one question where the answer is not “plié”: Is dance an art form or a sport? There are various arguments supporting both sides, and often dancers’ opinions seem to stick in the middle.

Sophomore Fran McCaffrey of West Long Branch said she spends about six hours a week dancing at Miss Mare’s All About Dance in Eatontown.

“I think that dance is one of the most physically demanding activities. It includes flexibility, coordination, agility, etc.,” McCaffrey said. “It’s an art because it’s not just a physical activity, you also relay messages and tell stories through the motions.”

McCaffrey said that while she stands by her opinion, dance is separate from other sports because of the scoring systems used in competitions.

“At competitions the judges have different opinions so it might vary day to day who they think is better,” McCaffrey said. “Because they have to judge this way, it really isn’t cut and clean which dance is better because there’s no way to score it the same way as say a football game or a soccer game.”

Like McCaffrey, senior Jules Andersen of Howell dances at her hometown studio, The Dance Den, quite often.

“Since dance has so many different movements and can use all different props, it’s just as easy for us to get injured as any other athlete,” Andersen said.

Junior Juliana Greenwood of Wall Township, also a competitive dancer at Miss Mare’s All About Dance, agrees with both Andersen and McCaffrey, but categorizes dance as more of an art when it comes to shows.  

“When it is done for shows and things of that nature, there is no competition side to it. This doesn’t mean that doing shows isn’t hard work, just I personally believe that to be considered a sport, there needs to be some competition,” Greenwood said.

Depending on the circumstances, dance is unique in that it can qualify as both an art form and a sport for different reasons. This uniqueness is why dancers dread answering whether their passion is a sport or an art: there isn’t one definite answer.