Art Editorial: Dance is an Art Form, Not a Sport

November 13, 2018

By Natalie Cist, ’19.

Photo by Alex Cist.

Dance is not just a sport. Dance is an art form. Dance is an expression of the human condition. All art is. While a sport requires athleticism, techniques, and skills, dance is more than this. It is a beautiful duet between passion and performance. It not only requires commitment and agility, but it also calls for an outpouring of the soul and giving of energy as a gift for the audience; God is my most important audience, so when I dance, I am dancing to worship Him.

As a D1 varsity athlete in college for field hockey and lacrosse, my mom often compares my dance to her knowledge of being a varsity athlete. She compares the 11 hours I spend in dance classes to the hours a varsity athlete spends in practices, games, and transportation. Sure, this comparison is valid because I am giving so much of my time to my rehearsals and shows, but it doesn’t include everything else I give to dance. I give my heart, soul, and more time than is visible to anyone but me. Really for me, I dance all the time. I dance in the hallways, I dance in the kitchen, I even dance in my head. I have multiple sets of choreography in my body: some from my classes and my teachers, some I’m dreaming up. It’s like a fantasy world where my mind wanders off. I like to find dance in everyday movements. Walking patterns, brushing your teeth, the way someone talks, anything can be an inspiration for choreography.

Other athletics begin and end on the field, but dance sticks with me through every part of my life. Dance is an outlet for emotions, stress, stories, and ideas that can’t be expressed through your everyday lacrosse or soccer game. Dance is different from a sport because while playing a sport is an external factor in someone’s life, dance is a constant internal influence on mine.

Athletes glorify God through their playing; I worship Him through my dancing. I don’t always intentionally worship Him, but He is always one of my audience members. Dance, an expression of the human condition, is a language. One that God understands. He speaks the language of prayers transcribed into leaps and pirouettes and even rolling on the floor. Often, He reads my emotions better than I can express them. I see dance as an art–a performance of passion–for God to view.