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Is ballet a sport?

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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!!*
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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. :)

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Guest Dance Fish

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.

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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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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.

here here Watermill.

But we also have to accept everyone is entitled to their opinion, and its up to the individual to seek more knowledge in order to see whether they want to change that opinion or not. Experience plays a great part in this.

If you liken the great art of ballet to the great art of music, have you ever heard of anyone even attempting to describe music as a sport? I haven't, (which doesn't mean that it hasn't been?).

Ballet dancers use their bodies as instruments, musicians use themselves (opera singers) or their fingers/toes whatever as an extension of theirselves. Have you ever done barre work and not thought of your body as an instrument being finely tuned?

and fine arts, is that a sport? here artists again use their bodies as an extension of themselves in order to portray a particular emotion at that time.

Gymnastics is a sport, as I watch the floor exercises, I can feel nothing about the individual, his/her emotions. Yes they perform great athletic feats,but I do not shed tears. Some of the great ballet dancers are capable of emoting tears. I cannot say that of any sport (cheerleading/ice skating/cricket/rugby) I have ever watched.

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Joffrey summed it up, "Dancers are artistic athletes." People choose to focus on one or the other in this argument, but without both an artistic sensibility and an athletic capability good dancing does not exist.

Of course one could paraphrase to "Athletic artists" dependent on one's preference.

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I think one of the characteristics of late 20th century ballet is the exposure of the athletic side of ballet -- I doubt that the analogy would have occurred to people 100 years ago. Of course dance has a physical component and requires strength and coordination and agility (but so does playing a musical instrument). But we're in an Age of Sport and sports heroes are so worshipped (and so rich) that comparing dancers to athletes seems to give it status. Also, before 1950, the aesthetic was to hide effort. The steps, the effort, the training, the athleticism, were private. I think the last thing a dancer would have been wanted to be told (in public) was that he or she was an athlete. Now, it's the first.

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I wonder how much of this athletism on the male side at least came with the Soviet performances in the West after WWII. The western men did not have nearly the technical ability nor the lift vocabulary by contemporary reports. I certainly grew up with the idea of showing no strain, and I think dancers still strive to make it look effortless, but the technial feats are much greater now and true to ALexandra's statement, audiences seek to watch such bodies show off.

One other observation - The overall cultural aesthetic is now one of defined bodies, where as in earlier times it was more of a fuller figure. Bodies across the board these days are stronger, taller, faster, etc. whether in sport or dance. I enjoy the physical side of dance when used to express emotion or freedom versus sustain tricks.

I do not care for limp, unphysical dancers as for me there is no emotion in the dance. If I want emotion in the face only, I can go to the movies. That is why I look to Bournonville as a test of how strong a dancer is - simple, physical, clean movement.

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