“Dance is an artist’s job…”

With the recent addition of dance to the national list of sports, it’s hard to deny that dancers are athletes. Add to this that numerous winners of So You Think You Can Dance have been spokespeople for Gatorade, and several contestants were tested against athletes finding that under certain criteria dancers certainly match up – dancers are growing more and more athletic by the day.

I’ve said this several times, I agree with this, I’ve even pushed it in people’s faces in the past, and now I’m advocating the validity of the quote “dance is an artist’s job, not an athlete’s job” by an unidentified ballet coach from the Royal Ballet.  Because it’s true.

Dance is an artist’s job, not an athlete’s job.

Now, I’m not saying that dancers aren’t athletes, because let me tell you – I know a lot of kickass dancers.  All I’m suggesting forcing in your face is that in order to be a dancer – this means dancing is your job and passion, not that you take class once in a while to “get back into it” – you are an artist.  You devote blood, sweat and tears to your craft, just as an athlete does.  However, as an artist, you focus on execution and performance, quality, relationships, an audience, and so much more.  Dancers as artists go beyond gearing up for “the big game,” focusing on the development and life of a work, working towards innovation with their bodies.  Expressing ideas and themes with their bodies, dancers move in different ways alone and with one another.

So while as a dancer I may be athletic, I do not consider myself an athlete, but an artist.  For it’s not how long or how high I can kick my leg in the air, but how I kick my leg in the air and what it means when I do.


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