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Is ballet a sport?


Ballet A Sport?  

21 members have voted

  1. 1. What is ballet to you? And Do you think it is difficult or?

    • It is a sport
      0
    • It is a performing art
      20
    • It is a Sport AND performing art
      1
    • It's difficult
      15
    • It's ok
      0
    • It's easy
      0
  2. 2. How are you involved with ballet?

    • I am a dancer
      2
    • I am a teacher
      0
    • I watch performances
      17
    • I am a fan
      11
    • My friends/relatives dance
      7
    • I am a writer
      1
    • I don't know anything
      0
    • I don't care
      0
  3. 3. Do you think some people look down on ballet/ ballerinas? (Please do tell me why)

    • Yes
      8
    • No
      13


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Hello. Just wondering if ballet is considered a sport or just a performing art?

 

Do you think ballet is a sport? Why? What makes it a sport/not a sport?

 

For me, I think ballet is difficult enough to be a sport. The high intensity training, stress, injuries and competitiveness makes it seem like a sport to me. But many people see it just as something pretty -because they don't see the 'behind the scenes'.

 

What do you guys think?

 

Thanks in advance. :D  :D

Edited by xdoodlehead
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Hello xdoodlehead and welcome to the forum. :-)

 

As you are asking for help with research, may I draw your attention to this section of our Forum Acceptable Use Policy:

 

"Contacting members for research

 

We have a large constituency of dancers on the Forum so people may come here to find guinea pigs for their academic research. It is best that people seeking subjects should go through the dance schools so that bona fides can be checked, rather than soliciting help here.

 

Nonetheless, should you wish to post here, be aware that to take account of concerns about exploitation, particularly of children, we will remove postings unless it is made clear that it is over-18s who are being canvassed. If thinking of replying you should realise that we have no way of checking posters’ credentials and therefore advise caution before responding."

 

Can I just check that you are seeking responses from adults (i.e. aged 18+)?

 

Many thanks,

Spanner

Balletcoforum Moderating Team

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Hello xdoodlehead and welcome to the forum. :-)

 

As you are asking for help with research, may I draw your attention to this section of our Forum Acceptable Use Policy:

 

"Contacting members for research

 

We have a large constituency of dancers on the Forum so people may come here to find guinea pigs for their academic research. It is best that people seeking subjects should go through the dance schools so that bona fides can be checked, rather than soliciting help here.

 

Nonetheless, should you wish to post here, be aware that to take account of concerns about exploitation, particularly of children, we will remove postings unless it is made clear that it is over-18s who are being canvassed. If thinking of replying you should realise that we have no way of checking posters’ credentials and therefore advise caution before responding."

 

Can I just check that you are seeking responses from adults (i.e. aged 18+)?

 

Many thanks,

Spanner

Balletcoforum Moderating Team

Hello spannerandpony, (is this the method I should use to reply-by clicking 'quote'?)

 

Thank you. I am new here and still getting used to everything.

 

I actually just wanted to hear people's opinion on what people are thinking about the topic and see the different sides. But I can remove the poll if it seems like I want to use them as guinea pigs?

 

Please advise me. Thank you.

 

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Ballet is not a sport.  There are certain dancers that seem to think it is though, judging by their unedifying displays of gymnastics.  Should they ever became a majority my ballet-going will cease.

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Hello spannerandpony, (is this the method I should use to reply-by clicking 'quote'?)

 

Thank you. I am new here and still getting used to everything.

 

I actually just wanted to hear people's opinion on what people are thinking about the topic and see the different sides. But I can remove the poll if it seems like I want to use them as guinea pigs?

 

Please advise me. Thank you.

I don't think the poll itself is a problem; with or without it you are still asking for help with research. I just wanted to make you aware of our policy and check that you are only asking for opinions from adults.

 

Kind regards,

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Ballet is a sport in the sense that professional ballet dancers need the strength, endurance and fitness of elite level athletes.  I have seen this for myself when I bumped into Alina Cojocaru training in my gym. She was undertaking an insanely challenging core workout with kettlebells that made the personal trainers around her stop and stare.  She was performing a Turkish get-up with a 20kg kettlebell with perfect technique, ending in an arabesque on demi point, with her arm dead straight to support the kettlebell.  This is even more awesome when you consider 20kg as a proportion of her tiny body weight, indicating an enormous power/weight ratio that befits elite athletes.  When you look physiologically and bio-mechanically at what dancers have to do and how the body is pushed to extremes, it is hard to deny that ballet is a form of sport in sheer terms of its physicality.

 

However, what makes ballet an art form in its entirety rather than a sport, is the fact dancers have to make it look easy and effortless.  Unlike athletes, they cannot show the effort, pain or exhaustion involved.  This is art.

 

Finally, at the heart of ballet lies artistry, story-telling, instilling emotions, projection, stage presence, charisma, etc, which are the essence of this art form.  This sets apart ballet from sport.

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I don't think the poll itself is a problem; with or without it you are still asking for help with research. I just wanted to make you aware of our policy and check that you are only asking for opinions from adults.

 

Kind regards,

Hello,

 

Oh okay I see. Yes, it is for adults. Do I have to put a (18+) sign somewhere?

 

Thanks

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I've googled a definition of sport which is "an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment". I'd go along with that - the competition element is important and not part of ballet in the same way. Ballet is hard, physical, skilful, entertaining, but my vote is definitely not a sport.

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I agree. Athletic, immensely difficult, highly dependent on physique, strenuous - yes, all similar to competitive sport.

 

BUT in my experience, Ballet Dancers don't dance to be the best, to win, to compete against other dancers - they do it to express themselves, they do it because the combination of beautiful music, lines and shapes made by the body, and intricate steps all create something so wonderful that both dancer and audience are lifted out of themselves.

 

Ballet may require some of the physical aspects and mental grit of sport - but the other requirements (musicality, acting, story, and above all love of dance) mean that the end result is most definitely Art.

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Don't you think some dancers dance to be the best? Even if they don't show it, don't you think they compete with the others and try to win (like to get the role in a company or something)? Sometimes what I see in a class is that everyone's trying to get the highest jump, or trying to lift their legs higher. (so much that they forget -like what you said- the reason they dance which is to actually express themselves).

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and yes, I think it's true that ballet is art because of the musicality, acting, etc. But if you see...like for example, ice skating. There's musicality and acting in it too, but people seem to see it as more of a sport than an art compared to ballet. I wonder why... 

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There is competition in just about everything in which humans engage.  Getting into an orchestra is competitive.  Playing an instrument is difficult - takes years of practice.  Some instruments are physically difficult to play - a musician has to stay in shape,

 

But its not a sport.

 

One of the great differences  (to me) betwixt ballet and sport is that while athletes are often beautiful that is not their initial goal. Usually a score is involved somewhere in the sport.   In the ballet - symmetry, beauty, line, structure, musicality, emotive ability, are all intrinsic goals.

 

In a sport no one is very concerned if how the athlete ties their shoes (as long as they stay on) but in ballet a misplaced shoe ribbon can distract from the line of the dancer.

 

The physical presentation is important; no grunting, spitting, chewing, panting, back slapping,etc.

 

In other genres of dance, dance has many uses: religious, celebratory, martial, openly competitive, story telling,  etc.  The ballet is the only one that I can think of in which beauty is the goal - modern distortions notwithstanding.

 

Just a personal opinion.

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Don't you think some dancers dance to be the best? Even if they don't show it, don't you think they compete with the others and try to win (like to get the role in a company or something)? Sometimes what I see in a class is that everyone's trying to get the highest jump, or trying to lift their legs higher. (so much that they forget -like what you said- the reason they dance which is to actually express themselves).

Not really. Of course competition is involved when trying to get a place at a vocational school or a contract with a company. Yes, there is competition to be cast in a certain role. But the few dancers and aspiring ballet dancers I know personally compete only against themselves - and they dance because they have to; it's part of them.

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There is competition in just about everything in which humans engage.  Getting into an orchestra is competitive.  Playing an instrument is difficult - takes years of practice.  Some instruments are physically difficult to play - a musician has to stay in shape,

 

But its not a sport.

 

One of the great differences  (to me) betwixt ballet and sport is that while athletes are often beautiful that is not their initial goal. Usually a score is involved somewhere in the sport.   In the ballet - symmetry, beauty, line, structure, musicality, emotive ability, are all intrinsic goals.

 

In a sport no one is very concerned if how the athlete ties their shoes (as long as they stay on) but in ballet a misplaced shoe ribbon can distract from the line of the dancer.

 

The physical presentation is important; no grunting, spitting, chewing, panting, back slapping,etc.

 

In other genres of dance, dance has many uses: religious, celebratory, martial, openly competitive, story telling,  etc.  The ballet is the only one that I can think of in which beauty is the goal - modern distortions notwithstanding.

 

Just a personal opinion.

woah. I never knew about the "misplaced shoe ribbon distracting the line of the dancer". Didn't know it has to look good to that extent.  Thanks for telling me something new :) 

 

but thats why sometimes I wonder why rhythmic gymnastics/ice skating is a sport. Cause I know they're also really concerned about their looks. Probably because they're in the Olympics, people see them as a sport? What do you think?

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Not really. Of course competition is involved when trying to get a place at a vocational school or a contract with a company. Yes, there is competition to be cast in a certain role. But the few dancers and aspiring ballet dancers I know personally compete only against themselves - and they dance because they have to; it's part of them.

 

hmm I see. That's interesting to know. Yeah I agree, like how people say that they can only express themselves through dance. 

 

So are you saying that ballet is not a sport at all? Or could it be that, it is a sport and a performing art? I've heard sport and art cannot mix.

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woah. I never knew about the "misplaced shoe ribbon distracting the line of the dancer". Didn't know it has to look good to that extent.  Thanks for telling me something new :)

 

but thats why sometimes I wonder why rhythmic gymnastics/ice skating is a sport. Cause I know they're also really concerned about their looks. Probably because they're in the Olympics, people see them as a sport? What do you think?

 

 

Art and sport can and do intersect.  A skater wants to look good but if she/he can't perform a required jump - they are out. 

 

There have been many dancers with less than perfect technique, but because they "reach" us on a different level - they are artists and we accept and often applaud their individuality.  

 

In fact, for many of us technique is almost secondary.  We want the dancer to speak to us and beauty - however we each define it - is important.  The one thing we don't forgive easily is sloppiness.  

 

A skater spends a great deal of time just getting up enough speed for those triple jumps -  in ballet we don't want to see all that preparation.  It's hidden - as is the physical effort.  The visual aspect is an imperative.   On top of that we ask the dancer to speak to us; something that is not required - desired but not required - in a skater.

 

In skating - you fall out of a jump -  goodbye gold medal.

 

If a dancer falls - and everyone does at one time or another - because the artist has spoken to us - we understand falling. We have all fallen.

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
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In my opinion, no, Ballet is not a sport.

 

Your example of ice skating and rhythmic gymnastics is interesting, xdoodlehead. In both those sports - just as in trampolining, acrobatic gymnastics etc, the goal is to win a competition by performing required technical elements, performing the most difficult elements possible, being marked on technical execution and difficulty and being marked on how artistically those elements are performed. The person with most marks wins.

 

Ballet and Ballet dancers do not - and should not - have that goal. I don't go to the Ballet to tot up the number of pirouettes, or to mark the dancers on the difficulty of the steps. I go to be swept away by art; by beautiful music, by the emotion of the story and the chemistry between the characters, by the beauty of the lines created by the dancers' bodies. My appreciation of ballet is personal to me; others like different dancers, different music, different ballets. It's no different to loving Monet's work and thinking that Jackson Pollock is just splatters. In sport, there is a clear winner. In art, it is personal choice. Art shouldn't be marked to see who wins.

 

It's for this reason that I dislike Ballet competitions. But that's another discussion. :-)

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Art and sport can and do intersect.  A skater wants to look good but if she/he can't perform a required jump - they are out. 

 

There have been many dancers with less than perfect technique, but because they "reach" us on a different level - they are artists and we accept and often applaud their individuality.  

 

In fact, for many of us technique is almost secondary.  We want the dancer to speak to us and beauty - however we each define it - is important.  The one thing we don't forgive easily is sloppiness.  

 

A skater spends a great deal of time just getting up enough speed for those triple jumps -  in ballet we don't want to see all that preparation.  It's hidden - as is the physical effort.  The visual aspect is an imperative.   On top of that we ask the dancer to speak to us; something that is not required - desired but not required - in a skater.

 

In skating - you fall out of a jump -  goodbye gold medal.

 

If a dancer falls - and everyone does at one time or another - because the artist has spoken to us - we understand falling. We have all fallen.

This was really good! I like what you said.

 

Yeah I do notice that. So something like skaters are all about trying to see who's the best, getting perfect score and not falling. but ballet is more of, trying to get the message across. 

 

For dancers, is it like that in ballet competitions? Like even if you fall, as long as the dancer "spoke well", the judges won't give a penalty or something? 

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In my opinion, no, Ballet is not a sport.

 

Your example of ice skating and rhythmic gymnastics is interesting, xdoodlehead. In both those sports - just as in trampolining, acrobatic gymnastics etc, the goal is to win a competition by performing required technical elements, performing the most difficult elements possible, being marked on technical execution and difficulty and being marked on how artistically those elements are performed. The person with most marks wins.

 

Ballet and Ballet dancers do not - and should not - have that goal. I don't go to the Ballet to tot up the number of pirouettes, or to mark the dancers on the difficulty of the steps. I go to be swept away by art; by beautiful music, by the emotion of the story and the chemistry between the characters, by the beauty of the lines created by the dancers' bodies. My appreciation of ballet is personal to me; others like different dancers, different music, different ballets. It's no different to loving Monet's work and thinking that Jackson Pollock is just splatters. In sport, there is a clear winner. In art, it is personal choice. Art shouldn't be marked to see who wins.

 

It's for this reason that I dislike Ballet competitions. But that's another discussion. :-)

 

 

Yeah I agree. There is no win or lose in art.

 

oohh...That's interesting. So for ballet competitions, would you consider that a sport then? I'm not sure how they work though. Is it point-system like sports too?

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In my opinion, no, Ballet is not a sport.

 

Your example of ice skating and rhythmic gymnastics is interesting, xdoodlehead. In both those sports - just as in trampolining, acrobatic gymnastics etc, the goal is to win a competition by performing required technical elements, performing the most difficult elements possible, being marked on technical execution and difficulty and being marked on how artistically those elements are performed. The person with most marks wins.

 

Ballet and Ballet dancers do not - and should not - have that goal. I don't go to the Ballet to tot up the number of pirouettes, or to mark the dancers on the difficulty of the steps. I go to be swept away by art; by beautiful music, by the emotion of the story and the chemistry between the characters, by the beauty of the lines created by the dancers' bodies. My appreciation of ballet is personal to me; others like different dancers, different music, different ballets. It's no different to loving Monet's work and thinking that Jackson Pollock is just splatters. In sport, there is a clear winner. In art, it is personal choice. Art shouldn't be marked to see who wins.

 

It's for this reason that I dislike Ballet competitions. But that's another discussion. :-)

 

I totally agree with you spannerandpony!  Ballet is a performing art which requires physically demanding traininig, but not at all a sport.  The most one could say, IMHO, ballet is an athletic performing art.

 

Dancers are "competeing" (if that is the word) against the ideal/perfect interpretation of a certiain role or a certain variation - which actually is pretty much unachievable but that does not stop dancers trying.

 

There is one notable difference between ballet and say,Olympics.  In most prestigious ballt competitions (for example prix de Lausanne, or Verna), iit is not uncommon that in some years noone won the top prize, or even no top and second prize winners... If the judges decide that there were no dancers reaching that standrad then prize will not be given  out.

 

Could you imagine no gold nor silver medalist but only a bronz winner at the podium in Olympic games?

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I totally agree with you spannerandpony!  Ballet is a performing art which requires physically demanding traininig, but not at all a sport.  The most one could say, IMHO, ballet is an athletic performing art.

 

Dancers are "competeing" (if that is the word) against the ideal/perfect interpretation of a certiain role or a certain variation - which actually is pretty much unachievable but that does not stop dancers trying.

 

There is one notable difference between ballet and say,Olympics.  In most prestigious ballt competitions (for example prix de Lausanne, or Verna), iit is not uncommon that in some years noone won the top prize, or even no top and second prize winners... If the judges decide that there were no dancers reaching that standrad then prize will not be given  out.

 

Could you imagine no gold nor silver medalist but only a bronz winner at the podium in Olympic games?

 

Oh I never knew that about not giving out prizes if they're not up to the judges' standard. wow. Intense!

 

yeah It would be so weird if they did that for the olympics. And I guess sports/olympics also have things like..breaking records and stuff but I don't think ballet has them?

 

 

Also, I liked what you said about ballet being an 'athletic performing art'. Not just a performing art but a very physically demanding one. 

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Don't you think some dancers dance to be the best? Even if they don't show it, don't you think they compete with the others and try to win.

 

Oh yeah, there are a few of those around.  I've seen them do it in class and, more unforgiveably, on stage when it's not necessarily appropriate.  In my experience, those are never the really great dancers, though.  In my experience:

 

the few dancers and aspiring ballet dancers I know personally compete only against themselves - and they dance because they have to; it's part of them.

 

So many dancers have said there's no point in competing against others: "I'll never have X's arabesque/extensions/ballon/elevation/

dramatic qualities" - it's always a question of can you improve your own performance and get nearer to the unattainable ideal of perfection?

 

One of the great differences  (to me) betwixt ballet and sport is that while athletes are often beautiful that is not their initial goal. Usually a score is involved somewhere in the sport.   In the ballet - symmetry, beauty, line, structure, musicality, emotive ability, are all intrinsic goals.

 

I feel the urge to go and hunt for that Ismene Brown Arts Desk article about beauty of execution in sport again ...

 

Art and sport can and do intersect.  A skater wants to look good but if she/he can't perform a required jump - they are out. 

 

There have been many dancers with less than perfect technique, but because they "reach" us on a different level - they are artists and we accept and often applaud their individuality.  

 

In fact, for many of us technique is almost secondary.  We want the dancer to speak to us and beauty - however we each define it - is important.  The one thing we don't forgive easily is sloppiness.  

 

Very true.

 

Your example of ice skating and rhythmic gymnastics is interesting, xdoodlehead. In both those sports - just as in trampolining, acrobatic gymnastics etc, the goal is to win a competition by performing required technical elements, performing the most difficult elements possible, being marked on technical execution and difficulty and being marked on how artistically those elements are performed. The person with most marks wins.

 

Ballet and Ballet dancers do not - and should not - have that goal. I don't go to the Ballet to tot up the number of pirouettes, or to mark the dancers on the difficulty of the steps. I go to be swept away by art; by beautiful music, by the emotion of the story and the chemistry between the characters, by the beauty of the lines created by the dancers' bodies. My appreciation of ballet is personal to me; others like different dancers, different music, different ballets. It's no different to loving Monet's work and thinking that Jackson Pollock is just splatters. In sport, there is a clear winner. In art, it is personal choice. Art shouldn't be marked to see who wins.

 

Very well said, Spanner!  Are there any sports in which - assuming they are done at a top level - winning and losing, and/or points score aren't major considerations?  And you started me wondering on how ballet competitions are marked: do you get more for double fouettés than singles, perhaps, given equal quality of execution? :)

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I don't think ballet is a sport clearly on the basis that, as many others said, there are winners and losers. Sure, somebody can have all the technical ability, but to excel at ballet, it is not just about that. When it comes down to it, ballet is purely subjective, meaning that there can never be one winner.

 

In ballet competitions, the judges pick the best in their opinion.

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I have to agree with other posters that ballet is not a sport but the comparison with figure skating is interesting.  When I first started skating, figure skating competition included the true 'figures' (essentially figures of eight on different edges, all about technique and perfect execution) as well as the jumps and spins etc.  Relatively easy to judge and mark.  Then ice dancing was included and to my mind, that is not a sport - it's all about artistry, not technical difficulty.  But that's just the way I see it and I can't see that synchronised swimming is a real sport either.

 

Seeing a great performance in ballet affects me emotionally in the way that sport never does.

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