Dance is actually the most difficult sport there is

It is both physically and mentally strenuous

Whenever I get asked whether I play sport, my first response is “yes, I dance”. This has had its fair share of strange looks, as everyone says “that doesn’t count, you’re not competing for anything and it’s not even as physically difficult as any other sport”.

Okay, if you say so, dance isn’t a sport then, it’s a whole lifestyle choice that uses all your mental and physical strength. But we love it anyway!

The mental expectations are exhausting

Haven’t you ever seen Black Swan? Not only do we have to pour our emotions out on stage to make the audience believe in what we are dancing, but the emotional strain of the whole industry is incredible.

The need to be a particular size and shape while staying fit and healthy, all while you’re working in one of the most competitive environments – that’s both mentally and physically draining!

You always have to focus on keeping time

Very few other sports require you to exert a load of energy, while also looking pretty and keeping exactly in time to music and to the other dancers around you. This requires practice and a whole lot of focus which is both mentally and physically exhausting.

Our flexibility is slightly insane

I guess you probably already know this one, but this is another thing dancers have to focus on during our daily (or more frequent) workout.

Our injuries are probably worse than yours

Did you bruise your foot and now you’re not going to play for six weeks? You poor thing. Try training at a top class dance school and you might change your mind!

“You may have 10 broken toes and a dislocated knee but if you don’t dance in that show, you don’t get paid! So get your tutu on and go.”

Dance isn’t a sport, it’s a lifestyle 

There is a constant expectation to look and behave in a certain way and this includes what you eat, drink and do with your spare time. We have to create a healthy diet to stay on top of our game, but one which also gives us enough energy to keep dancing. Even the time of day for eating has to be controlled!

We can plank for longer than you

When you see those ballerinas pirouetting round and round and round, it doesn’t just happen like that! For a start, they probably have a load of bandaged toes underneath their beautiful pointe shoes. Secondly, their core strength will be incredible.

A workout for dancers is a lot more intense than the pretty, graceful dancer on stage makes it look, and good core is key to this. Without it, we have no hope of maintaining balance and position. So I challenge you to a plank-off; may the best athlete win!

Exams are harder than you think

Not only do we have the pressure of shows and competitions, but now I’m going to throw another one at you: exams. From experience, these are even more stressful than your driving test or any music exam you can do. Not only are you expected to remember a whole scheme of work, but you also have to dance it beautifully. Did I mention we also get marked on performance?

Then you have to dance a whole new piece that the examiner will shout at you (most likely in French) and you might even be expected to improvise at one point. All this is in front of a scary Russian examiner staring you down constantly! Not fun.

You have to have incredible stamina

In a show lasting two and a half hours, one dancer may be on the stage for up to two hours, exerting huge amounts of energy while still looking graceful and pretty. In fact, for a dancer to effectively dance a three to four minute piece, they need the same level of stamina as an Olympic runner! That’s pretty insane.

You have to dance as part of a team and alone

Most sports are either individual, like some types of athletics or team sports like football. In dance, you have to have the skills to do both. This is important for both competing and performing, where you may be doing a solo and so you will be completely reliant on your own performance.

Or you may be in a duet, trio or group dance! In that case, everybody needs to know exactly what they’re doing and when,  otherwise it could throw the whole group off. That’s a lot of pressure to deal with, especially on a stage in front of a room full of people.

And even through all that, we still love it more than anything!