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I have been dancing for many years and I have seen how much dance is underrated. When I look online at posts about dance, I often find comments such as “it is not for both boys and girls” or “it does not create a competition atmosphere.” I believe that most of these comments come from people who do not know much about dance and have not noticed how it has changed over time.

There have been many famous male dancers such as Alvin Ailey and Gregory Hines, and there are many dance competitions happening all around the country. I think a lot of people get their opinions of dancing from music videos, but that is not always good dancing.

Many people don’t take the time to sit and watch a real dancer dance. Dancing requires tolerance for pain and hard work just as in any sport. I have heard people say that “anything with a ball is a sport.” Gymnastics, ice skating and snowboarding do not require balls, and they are all Olympic sports. I am not saying that dance should be an Olympic sport, but I think it should at least be qualified as a sport. However, when I read the regulations required for a “sport” to be considered for the Olympics, I saw that dance seemed to have met the requirements.

According to the International Olympic Committee, to be considered for admission to the “Olympic Programme,” a sport must show a direct emphasis on youth and development. Also:

• Sports should organize world and continental competitions for the youth/junior age categories as well as for men and women. (Some dance competitions start at the age of 5.)

• The judging and adjudicating system of a sport must ensure objectivity, fairness and transparency. (Judges in dance competitions have score sheets and there are usually three to five of them.)

• The admission of a new sport to the Olympic Programme can only be considered if the sport is practiced by both men and women. However, sports must not necessarily be represented by both men and women in the Olympic Programme. (There are many male and female dancers.)

• Where possible, disciplines within a sport (e.g. water polo and trampoline) should be the subject of independent consideration in relation to a review of the Olympic Programme.

• The long-term development/viability of a sport should be guaranteed to be considered for inclusion in the Olympic Programme. (People usually don’t quit dance.)

Dance also fits the requirements to be considered a non-Olympic sport such as softball.

The International Non-Olympic committee says:

• The sport proposed should include an element of competition.

• The sport should not rely on any element of “luck” specifically integrated into the sport.

• The sport should not be judged to pose an undue risk to the health and safety of its athletes or participants.

• The sport proposed should in no way be harmful to any living creature.

• The sport should not rely on equipment that is provided by a single supplier.

The sport also is required to fit into at least one of the following categories: primarily physical, primarily mind, primarily motorized, primarily coordination or primarily animal-supported. Dance is primarily physical, primarily mental and primarily coordination.

If dance fits the requirements to be an Olympic sport, it should be considered a sport. I wonder if it was considered a sport, would boys finally step up and dance?

Some people say that dance would lose its place as an art if it is considered a sport. I disagree. Dance will always be an art, but if it were considered a sport, people would see how much it takes to be a dancer. It doesn’t just require a passion for it but athletes with the strength, the drive and the determination to continue like in any other sport. Everyone knows you can’t become a great football player overnight, and it’s the same with dancers.

Dance’s place as a sport is long overdue.

Alonni Reid is a sophomore at City Honors.