Footwork, tempo, rhythm, pivot, crossover. That terminology turns up regularly in sports practice. Or was it dance rehearsal?
The disciplines of sports and dancing share more than language, experts say. Each activity can benefit participants in the other field, according to Maria Royals, the Dance Department Chair at George Washington Carver Center for the Arts and Technology.
“Dance can help athletes develop flexibility, balance, rhythm and coordination. Athletics can help dancers develop cardiovascular endurance, spatial awareness, and is useful for cross training of specific muscle groups,” said Royals, who was recognized as the 2016 Dance Teacher of the Year by SHAPE America — the Society of Health and Physical Educators.
Numerous studies have proven the health benefits of dancing, including studies on specific forms such as salsa dancing. Similar results have been determined for athletics and physical activity in general.
Dancing and athletics share other common ground, said instructor Scott Williams.”I talk with my students quite often about how strategies, tactics and physical attributes cross over into various sports and exercise,” said Williams, owner and founder of Camp4Real. “This is true with dance as it promotes balance, flexibility and agility among many other attributes.”
“To me, an athlete is one who develops specific physical skills in order to compete with others. Athletes develop strength, endurance and coordination in order to master a specific sport or athletic endeavor. Dancers do likewise,” she said. “What differentiates dance from athletics is purpose. Dancers attempt to communicate an idea, event or emotion, while athletes attempt to win a game or overcome others.”
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