This blog post isn't about nutrition or workouts. It's a little deeper than that. I wrote today's post based on my personal experience and past in regards to dance. I encourage you to take a look and maybe it will change your view on the "sport."
It always amazed me that my whole life I never considered myself an athlete. I spent many hours of my childhood and early adulthood dancing, sweating, practicing, performing and STILL was not considered an athlete. It wasn't until I was older were I realized how much work dancers do and how little respect they receive.
I spent half of my high school years at a performing arts high school in Chicago. I would study academics in the morning and dance in the afternoon. And when I say dance, we would DANCE. We would start at 130pm and usually not finish till around 6pm. We would sweat like no other, be sore every day, have bloody feet from pointe shoes and dance till our limbs could barely move. Yet, we still weren't considered athletes. I don't think it was my perception of dancing that made me believe dance wasn't a sport but how society viewed it. I ignored society and went on to pursue dance in college at the University of Illinois in Champaign. There we were bread to be athletic, conditioned, educated, creative and disciplined. Similar to an athlete. Did you know that most NFL football players and other professional athletes must take ballet? It helps with coordination and agility. Yet, they are respected on a whole different level than professional dancers.
The reason why I am writing this article is to bring awareness to the sport and art of Dance. Even though I don't do it as religiously today as I once did, my respect and appreciation for it still exists. When a young child is enrolled into dancing it is seen as a fun activity for them to engage in with other children. However, it teaches you much more than that. Dance teaches you more discipline than you will ever know. Dance teaches you more patience than you can imagine. Dance teaches you to learn your body, work it to it's max and look effortless at the same time. There are so many hidden things behind this sport that many do not realize. Many dancers will spend HOURS in a studio practicing over and over again to make something look perfect and without showing how hard it actually is all while pushing their bodies to maximum potential. Being able to be athletic and graceful and creative at the same time is were dance is seen as art.
So now that I blabbed about why dance should be respected as a sport AND an art form, let me explain what drove me to write this article. I started getting into bodybuilding about 4 years ago and have fallen in love with the sport. You could say it has somewhat "replaced" my study of dance because its a daily practice and it has kept me injury free. When I started competing I realized people would use the word "athlete" a lot and I thought it was SO cool. Never in my life have I been called an "athlete," sadly. People would also ask me what sport I played when I was younger. When answering this question I felt like a dog who puts his head down and tail between his legs when he's done something bad. Why? Because I never have a solid answer. I didn't play varsity basketball or volleyball. I played softball when I was little but I was the kid in the field doing turns in the sand with my cleats because it made cool designs (sorry for embarrassing you Dad). Instead I kind of mumble under my breath and say, "I danced." You never get the response you want when you say that so it seems to always be a let down.
So what I'm trying to get across is, all people who work hard on their physical conditioning, performance, agility and use their bodies as their tool should be considered an athlete and respected as one. Too many times I have seen dancers not be respected but work their butts of to achieve top performance. So I challenge you... go see how hard it actually is OR go support dance and watch a performance. Sign up for a ballet class and give it a whirl. Maybe then will people really understand the conditioning it takes to be a dancer AND an athlete.
In good health,
Cristina Walterman, owner of CW Physique, let's you in on fitness and nutrition tips, recipes, exercises and much more. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, she loves to inspire and motivate individuals. She always practices what she preaches and leads by example.