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Is ballet a sport?


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#1 primaballerina13

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 03:53 PM

I have a question. Is ballet a sport? Lots of my friends think it isn't a sport. But I say it is. You have to do plenty of hard stuff in ballet. Some of the stuff is probably harder than regular sports.
I know people who say that you don't do anything in ballet. You just look pretty and graceful. But we have to do more than that right?
One of my teachers at school called it an art. Is ballet an art? Or is it a sport?







*Dancers Kick butt!!*



#2 dirac

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 04:15 PM

Ballet dancers have some things in common with athletes, in that their instruments are their bodies, for example, and both require special training regimens, the advice and direction of coaches, and so forth.

However, dancers and athletes have different goals. Aspiring dancers hope to become artists, and, with great luck, artist/stars. Athletes try to win games and competitions. (I should note that I am not saying one goal is better than the other, just different.) Often athletes are beautiful to watch, and that is part of their appeal. Likewise, part of what people like in ballet is the pleasure of watching dancers perform athletic feats such as jumps. But for dancers, physical virtuosity is a means, not an end.

People often think that because ballet dancers are trained not to show effort, that they're not making any! Those people are, of course, wrong. :)

#3 Mel Johnson

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 04:20 PM

Originally posted by primaballerina13
Is ballet a sport?  


No, your teacher is correct, ballet is an art, not a sport. It's a bloody hard-working art, but it's an art.

#4 Xena

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 04:56 PM

SOmehow or other this question comes up at least once a month, normmally with complete strangers, whilst waiting for trains and buses. Strange...
but I say No, it isn't a sport, as someone told me once..
A sport is an athletic activity in which a person or team competes against other people concrete rules to attain an objectively measurable result in excess of what their opponent(s) can do. Anything that fits that definition is a sport.
Boxing: the contestant who lands more punches or knocks the other unconscious wins. Soccer: the team that kicks the ball into the net more often wins. Hammer toss: the person who throws a giant piece of iron farthest wins. These things are not open to debate, opinion or mood. Figure skating and ballroom dancing: whoever doesn't fall
down and is most aesthetically pleasing wins. "

Likewise with ballet, its so subjective. So no ballet isn't a sport. Yes its athletic and difficult and so many more things, but not a sport.

#5 SABgurlie24

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 03:07 PM

what about ballet competions though? is it a sport then?

#6 Victoria Leigh

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 04:05 PM

Some of them might be considered that way, depending on how they are handled and the type of coaching the dancers have and the kind of work and coaching they receive on the artistry and musicality and not just the tricks.

Personally, I don't feel that ballet belongs in a competition. Competition indicates something that can be objectively decided, with a score, or time or a distance, etc. Ballet is totally subjective, and I do not find it suitable for competition. Ballet is not about winning, it's about art. It's the training and the performing that are important, not "winning". The only valid reason I can think of at all is for dancers who are company ready, and looking for a job. If they can be seen on stage and get a job that way, more power to them. But it's just not, IMO of course, about Gold Medals.

#7 Xena

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 04:16 PM

Again, I would say no, because it is subjective. You have a panel of judges marking you on how your dance felt to them.
Do they take marks off for each time you wobble?, or don't turnout properly? these things you cannot measure empirically. If your dance inpsired them then you will win, if it didn't then you won't.
How can you define inspiration?

#8 Mel Johnson

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 07:11 PM

Oh, good, I get to dust off an old favorite quote from Artur Rubinstein: "Competitions are for race horses."

#9 Watermill

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 08:54 PM

pb13, the main difference for me is that art, whether it's a painting, a ballet, a play or a symphony, is about something. It makes a comment on life. Sport is a fun game.
To me, Swan Lake is a complete three course meal. Its beauty, story and lessons leave me full and nourished for many days.
But the Super Bowl is a bag of chips and a coke. I'm hungry soon afterwards. It's fun for a brief moment, but does not touch my heart and soul like art does.

#10 Cliff

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 11:26 PM

Ballet is a sport if it gets you out of a physical education requirement.

#11 Mel Johnson

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 03:52 AM

Talk about a new definition for the Pragmatic Sanction!;)

#12 Alexandra

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Posted 05 February 2003 - 07:50 AM

Hello Cliff! We haven't seen you in a long time -- I love your answer, too :P Welcome back, and please post about what you're seeing!

#13 Guest_Dance Fish_*

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 10:58 AM

My friends andI talk about this a lot...I think ballet is both a sport AND an art form. I don't think all sports have to be competitive, awhile ago I thought of one that wasn't, but I can't remember it now...I'll post it if I remember.

#14 Farrell Fan

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 11:46 AM

If you can think of a sport that's not competitive, then it's probably an art. :o

#15 Watermill

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 11:49 AM

Dance Fish, I think it is very clear that Ballet is NOT a sport.
There are no opposing teams, there are no points, there are no winners or losers.

Ballet competion is NOT Ballet art. It's part of the schooling/training/evaluation of ballet skill. As well as part of the auditon process.

Just because Ballet uses the body in a strenuous way does NOT make it a sport, anymore than painting a house is the same as painting art.

The Art of Ballet is so much deeper, profound and enduring than anything sport could ever hope to offer that I caution those who confuse the difference between the two that they run the risk of trivializing a rich and ancient art form.

In a society where sport stars are paid a seasonal rate that exceeds the entire budget of many ballet companies, I do not think we need to make ballet out to be a sport. Things are so out of balance already. Let's not make it worse.

I suppose my real worry is that young people will, in large numbers, think of ballet in sport terms instead of art form terms. (ABT's Corsaire Circus has not helped this)

I urge young people to stop counting fouettes and instead look for line, feeling, expression and that mysterious experience that can only happen at the Ballet.


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