Taking dance too far

Morgan Haworth, Print Editor

Participating in a sport, competitive or not, is already a lot of extra work aside from school. From basketball to volleyball, the requirements and commitment to a team can be exhausting.

The sport I happen to love is dance. As a child I obviously did not know the extreme hours I would put into dance in the future. Dance has honestly been my entire childhood. I did play other sports, but when my parents told me I had to pick one, it was always dance. I would spend countless hours in the studio perfecting my technique, learning new dances, cleaning those dances up and more. I recall one year I was in a total of 27 dances in our end of the year recital. I was 11.

Nowadays, I’m at the studio five days a week and spend 15 and a half hours a week at the studio. Spending so much time at the studio creates a strong bond between my coaches, teammates and me.  

I think people who don’t care or pay attention to dance underestimate dancers. We are in the studio the same, if not more, than other sports. Dance can also be dangerous. There are different leaps, pirouettes and flips that can be harmful. I’ve had multiple injuries in the past. Just in the past six months, I’ve broken my leg twice while dancing. I’ve seen broken arms, ankles, bad concussions and much more.

Being injured is extremely hard for me personally. I know most dancers refused to sit out when injured. They tell themselves it’s nothing when it could be harmful to their bodies and health. I’m guilty of this. I rushed back into dancing after I broke my leg the first time, and it caused me to break it again.

The thing I like about dance is I can always be improving. There is never a time in which you can be done growing. Every time I’m in the studio, I leave feeling like I’ve improved. I feel with other sports you get as good as you’re going to get and you stop growing.

Although dance can be grueling and tiresome, it can be extremely rewarding too. Being judged by random strangers can be detrimental at times, but then you can learn from those critiques. You have to remember that competing in dance is really just someone’s opinion about you. Some can love you and some can hate you. It makes the winning more meaningful.

Dancers can obsess over how they look and compare themselves to other dancers. I know lots of dancers that have body issues or eating disorders to try and “look” the part of a dancer. You have to learn how to be confident in your body and your dancing.

Dance takes a mental, physical and emotional toll, but it’s worth it to have a way to speak without having to say any words, to express emotions and spread your message to the world. It isn’t just a sport, it’s a lifestyle and art, and for me the sacrifices I’ve made for it are worthwhile.