Dance: The Most Physically Demanding Job?

Tori DeAngelis

When someone tells you that they are a dancer, what usually comes to mind? Most people will picture an awkward child with a pink tutu doing a turn. Dance has grown to have a negative connotation to it and some people view it as not a sport; however, a study has revealed that dance deserves more credit than it is getting.

Dance Magazine recently published an article that highlights a study that used the Occupational Information Network to determine what the most physically demanding job is. Shocking most people, dance was named the most physically demanding job in the United States. This conclusion was made based on the levels of strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination that one needs for the occupation. Out of 100 for each category, dancers earned 100/100 for endurance, flexibility, and coordination and only faltered in strength where they received an 87.8. Dance took the number 1 spot over other hard labor jobs like derrick operators, iron workers, firefighters, and construction workers.

I conducted a survey of my own where I set up a poll asking whether dancers deserve this title or not. Out of the 84 people that responded, the results were a shocking 62% for dancers deserving the title, and 38% against it. Although, I looked closer at the respondents and 30 out of the 52 people who voted for “yes, they deserve it” were dancers or have been dancers in the past, so in order to eliminate bias, their data was removed which left the results to be 22 for yes and 32 for no. This was the data that I was expecting because most people do realize how difficult dancing is because of the negative connotation that surrounds it. People think that dance is an art since judgment is opinion based, but it can get more technical than it seems.

Most score sheets for a competition consist of maybe 5% costume and appearance, but the majority of the score is based on technique, choreography, and how the team dances as a unit. In order to be ready to be judged, dancers may have to practice every day for 4 hours every week. These practices are not fun and games, but rather consists of doing their challenging 2.5-minute dance 5 times in a row which takes a lot of endurance. Many teams that go to nationals also must have team turns in their routines which takes balance and coordination. Also, dancers must stretch every day in order to put their leg behind their head and do amazing jumps that look satisfying on the stage. If people realized how much work that actually goes into perfecting a routine, then maybe all of those votes would be for YES because dancers do deserve the title of the most physically demanding job in the U.S. after all criticism that they usually receive.