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Is ballet a sport?


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#91 SandyMcKean

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 06:50 AM

You need to get out of that PNB forum more often

Thanks Helene

But given the quote below, that's probably the last time I try it. (I don't like censorship.)

Please assume that once you have made a point, it is made, and that if another poster disagrees, it does not necessarily mean they are ineducable and you must repeat what you've already stated. Just accept that there may be a valid opinion other than your own.



#92 carbro

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 02:07 PM

Only to elucidate, I think we can all agree that this discussion, stimulating as it has been, has become very repetitive. It seems, in this case, clarification is necessary, and I apologize for not having written your citation absolutely without ambiguity. I don't think anyone wants to read something that amounts to "Is not!" "Is too!" "Is not!" "Is too!", etc., ad nauseum.

We do want posts that move the discussion forward.

Apologies if my writing is too muddy to be understood. I also apologize for the interruption.

And, by the way, I don't like censorship, either.

If anyone wants to contribute to the matter of this thread ("Is Ballet a Sport?"), please do. :beg:

#93 DefJef

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Posted 12 June 2006 - 08:37 AM

I don't think of ballet or dance as a sport. The key to sport is that it about competition, piting individuals against each others in games with rules, and scoring and it is objectively "easy" to determine the winner.. the goal of sport.

Dance and bellet although physical and involving physical training and discipline is not a competition and scored usually as far as I know.

Things like skating has become a sport because it is now "scored" on diffuculty in executing "moves" or whatever they do... triple toe loops and so on... It can look like dance but it it seems to be very much more limited and confined.

One may need atheletic skill to dance, but this does not make it a sport.

WHo do you think will wind the world cup? Boshoi or the ABT? hahaha

#94 papeetepatrick

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 08:38 PM

From today's NYTimes Opinionator, here's the other side of the question:

'In “The Fray,” Slate’s reader forum, pseudonymous poster “kurtosis” responds to Bryan Curtis’s examination of soccer as a cosmopolitan affection among youngish American intellectuals: “I actually enjoy the World Cup, but this tendency in the U.S. to view it as some sort of refined art is bizarre. It is as if we were to one day hear that French intellectuals had developed a fascination with NASCAR racing or the Super Bowl.” '

#95 bart

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 12:01 PM

The June 14 International Herald Tribune has an article by Blair Tindall (NY Times) which addresses this issue. Unfortunately, I've not been able to find a link and don't know whether it was ever published in the Times.

The headline is: "For dancers, a new athleticism -- at what price?" Tindall appears to be interested in connecting ballet and professional sports largely through the use or non-use of performance-enhancing chemicals.

Here's the intro:

What do the Sugar Plum Fairy and slulgger Barry Bonds have in common? Both top the list of elite athletes, according to a 1975 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine, which ranked ballet the most chalenging of 61 sports. However, only the baseball player has fallen under suspicion of using drdugs to power his late-career winning streak. [...]

Dance is primarily viewed as an art form rather than a sports event. But as North American dance companies devlop a new athleticism, their dancers jump higher, spin faster, and stay impossibly thin. Could they, too, be doping?

'I know of no current data substantiating the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs by professional dancers,' said Gary Wadler, an expert in performance enhancing drdugs at the NY University School of Medicine and lead author of "Drugs and the Athlete." 'But in the current climate of drug use, you can never be totally dismissive of the possibility, whether with performance-enhancing or social drugs.'


Tindall contrasts professional athletes and dancers in one important regard:

For athletes, the possibility of lucrative product endorsements or team contracts would fuel a willingness to risk health for world records.

Dancers hae few quantitative measures of success, and tend to focus on career longevity rather than risking all for one moment of glory. They earn modest pay from troupes classified as nonprofit charity organizations, and even dance stars like Michael Baryshnikov -- despite his appearance on '"Sex and the City" -- can't lend the same cachet to ad campaigns as Michael Jordan.


Tindall quotes a study (American Journal of Sports Medicine) that says ballet companies report an annual injury rate of 67 to 95 percent. [Personally, I find this hard to credit. Could the data be based on the practice of making reports of all injuries in case something might require that the dancer go on disability??]

He quotes Llinda Hamilton, "wellness consultant of the NY City Ballet": "Dancers are reinforced for being stoic from an early age, and often continue dancing because they theink of injuries as a sign of weakness."

Tindall also refers briefly to weight-control issues, the ideal body type for female ballet dancrs, the death in 1997 of Boston Ballet dancer Heidi Guenther, the use of recreational drugs by Gelsey Kirkland, the suicide of Patrick Bisssell, and other familiar stories.

'I wish I had racier stories for you,' said Linnette Roe, who saw little substance abause during her 12 years as a dancer with the Pacific North Ballet [sic]. 'But the number one performance-enchancing drug today is coffee.'



#96 DefJef

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 12:43 PM

It is obvious that dancing is athletic in that it involves the training and development of the body and atheletic movement. As far as I know all sports have one thing in common - they are competitive games with winners and losers.. With the exception of dance competitions, I see no basis for calling ballet a competitive sport.

I see all dancers as glorious winners!


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