April 2, 2024

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Is Ballet A Sport? Detailed Explanation

6 min read
is ballet a sport

Ballet is and always has been regarded as a dance. Even at one point, not everyone could afford to watch ballet. Thank goodness, times have changed. Many locations now offer ballet lessons, including gyms and other fitness centers.

Ballet is actually both an art form and a physical activity, despite the fact that this is how it is frequently perceived. Ballet can be viewed as a sport that is equally challenging and potentially dangerous as any other when carefully considered. It’s crucial to fully comprehend the difficulties of this sport and the best methods for overcoming them if you practice ballet or work with young, aspiring ballet dancers. This will help you maintain good physical health and prevent potentially career-ending injuries.

What Is A Sport?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a sport is defined as any activity where:

  • Skill is required.
  • There is physical effort involved.
  • Teams or individuals compete with one another.
  • The activity is enjoyable.

Ballet would not meet the criteria to be a sport by this definition unless there was a competition. However, there are many other definitions of “sport” that are less specific. A more ambiguous definition of a sport is provided by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, which refers to it as an amusement or a physical activity that is enjoyed. Ballet would undoubtedly be considered a sport in this situation. You can check out more information we have on Is Dancing A Sport?

What Is An Art?

Allow us to define the word “art” as well. We’ll use the definitions from Oxford English Dictionary below to maintain parity between the two terms.

The term art is defined as:

  • “A skill (and) its display or application”.
  • To be more specific, it is also “the application of skill to subjects of taste, such as poetry, music, dancing, and the like.
  • It is also “the application of skill to the arts of imitation and design.”

To prevent our answers from being influenced by our own opinions, we have opted to directly quote the definitions. We also want you to be able to figure out the solution on your own.

The Time Commitment Of Ballet

For some people, the main difference between a sport and an artistic endeavor is the amount of physical effort required to engage in the activity. According to Kansas City Ballet, students should be enrolled in 10 to 15 classes per week by the age of 15 if they intend to pursue a career as a professional ballet dancer. They compare professional ballet dancers to the best Olympic athletes.

In order to prepare for their dance routines, professional ballerinas frequently perform a wide range of exercises. This could involve stretching, weightlifting, core work, and cardio. These dancers frequently spend about 10 hours a day practicing. The amount of time required to pursue a career in ballet is on par with, if not even greater than, that required to play professional sports like football or baseball.

Ballet’s Physical Demands

Ballet demands a lot of control, flexibility, and strength. This sport-like activity is equally challenging, if not more so than other sports. Consider Kathleen Martin’s performance in Swan Lake which involved 64 spins known as fouettes, or the “Waltz of the Flowers” which requires eight full minutes of standing en pointe.

Because of the rigorous training they receive, professional ballet dancers notice noticeable changes in their bodies and physical capabilities. Compared to non-professional dancers, those at the professional level of ballet:

  • have more hip musculature.
  • Improve your vertical leaps.
  • when engaging in aerobic activity, experience reduced demands on their hearts.
  • Possess more flexibility.

Ballet puts a tremendous amount of physical strain on dancers’ bodies. For these athletes, proper care is just as crucial as it is for everyone else. Ballet dancers can maintain flexibility and avoid injury with the aid of a preventative program.

Dancer Madison Campbell said, “Our vehicles are our bodies. The same as football players, who use their bodies as an instrument and a tool to move through the game and reach their desired positions, those are our tools.” Given this perspective, it is evident that ballet is a sport unto itself.

is ballet a sport

Making Ballet Look Easy

Ballet is sometimes regarded as more of an art than a sport for a variety of reasons, including the manner in which it is performed. Ballet dancers work very hard to make the extremely difficult dance appear simple.

The ability to keep even breathing and a composed facial expression is a skill required of ballet dancers. In contrast to those playing football, who can easily display their effort, dancers must hide theirs.

Professional ballet dancers aim to keep a particular physique that isn’t typically connected to athleticism. Ballet dancers do strength training, but it’s done in a way that keeps the muscles long and lean.

Because long, slender lines are a part of the art of ballet, they make an effort to avoid getting bigger. The fact that this requires a lot of physical effort is disguised to make it seem smoother, simpler, and easier than it actually is.

The Lifespan Of A Professional Dancer

Dancers, like other professional athletes, have relatively brief careers. According to HuffPost, a professional athlete’s career lasts an average of ten years. Baseball, basketball, and football players who play professionally typically retire in their 30s.

The same is true for professional dancers, whose careers typically come to an end around the age of 35. Rarely do professional ballet dancers perform into their forties.

When their first career ends, all of these sports participants will need a second one. Ballet dancers frequently continue their careers as teachers, business owners of their own dance studios, or choreographers to expand the opportunities for others to participate in this sport.

More Reasons Why Ballet Is A Sport

In addition, we want to impart the solutions we have discovered for ourselves through years of dancing. Yes, dance is more than just an art form, is ballet a sport? Well, we consider it as one because:

Needs Athletic Practice

Whatever you may think, dancing requires a similar level of physical effort as any athlete’s fitness routine.


Professional dancers compete against one another with the same ferocity that athletes do while participating in an event. In fact, it is even more true when it comes to ballet because we compete with one another even off-stage. We eat, sleep, and live it.

Team Effort

Team play is used in some sports. Ballet can be easily mistaken for a solo endeavor, especially considering the competition that takes place behind closed doors. It is also a team event, though. Even if you perform better or worse than anyone else on stage, your performance is only as good as theirs. The event could be ruined for everyone if one of you makes a mistake.

Requires A Coach

The best athletes still need coaches, to be clear. Ballet follows the same rules. It is up to the ballet mistress or master to handle that duty.

Why Ballet Is Not Always A Sport?

Ballet is not a sport, though, in contrast. If you only engage in those physically demanding routines for aesthetic purposes, it is not a sport. That is if you fail to see it as a chance to improve your body’s health and fitness.

Final Words

Due to the amount of training needed to perform at the highest level possible, ballet is both an art and a sport. You can practice it for the enjoyment of excellence and elegance, but you can also appreciate how it can strengthen your body, improve

your flexibility, and increase your endurance.

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