Competitive Dance is Taking Center Stage



Many people have been raving about the new show Cheer on Netflix. Its increased popularity has brought more attention to cheerleading itself, including high school cheerleading, all-star cheerleading, and professional cheerleading. However, many people disregard that fact that cheerleading is very similar to a dance.

It has been an ongoing argument as to whether or not the worldwide phenomenon known as dance is considered a sport. As of right now, it is only considered an art form since “anyone can do it.” However, there is one kind of dance that not just anyone can do successfully… that is competitive dance. Competitive dance takes strenuous training, skill that takes years to attain, and unwavering commitment; things that not everyone is able to give or do. 

Competitive dance is when dancers—who have dedicated a big part of their lives and spend the majority of their time at their dance studio—are entered into a competition where they will compete against other dancers of a similar skill set. These dancers perform in front of a group of experienced dance judges and are scored on how well they do against others. There are many different genres of dance that one can compete in, including (but not limited to) lyrical, open (a mix of a few different styles, but a dancer can also enter their dance as “open” if they feel it doesn’t fit in a set category), acro. (acrobatics), tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet, modern, contemporary, and improv. (improvised dancing to music). Dancers are required to dance at least four to six hours when entering a competition, but professionals can spend over twenty hours  training and maintaining their technique. 

To support this claim, one must ask themselves, “Well, what exactly is a sport?” and while many people will brush this question off without afterthought, it’s crucial when determining what is and isn’t a “sport”. 

According to, a sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature.” Two pieces of information can be derived from this definition: 1) a sport takes athleticism, and 2) it is competitive. This definition is proof enough that competitive dance is a sport.  Not only does dance take strenuous amounts of exercise and physical strength, but the word competitive is actually in the name itself. 

Similar to other sports, such as football, dance teams also have rivals. Some of the dance schools in the area have students that attend the Shoreham-Wading River School District. These students can coexist throughout the school year without anarchy. However, once competition season rolls around in April, all dancers will sense the seriousness settling between the students until around May or June.

Dance is a very serious and time-consuming sport for all who dedicate themselves to it. It takes passion, determination, and strength. The next time you meet a competitive dancer, either at school or as a new friend, make sure to show some appreciation. After all, not just anyone can do it.