A Pain In the Dance

Recently I saw a news report about the many injuries suffered by the contestants in the popular TV show “Dancing With the Stars”. Some of the injuries were severe enough that the dancers had to drop out of the show, while other contestants soldiered on with numerous aches and pains. Does dance have to hurt?

I realize that there’s a difference between a contest and dancing for fun or exercise. But even in competitions, why are things going this far? In fact, why do the most highly publicized dance shows on TV have to be competitions to begin with?

It would be great to see more TV shows in other formats. Dancers’ showcases or concerts that highlight excellent dancing don’t have the pressure of having to beat other dancers for a trophy. Why should dancers have to put themselves through so much stress (and too often, public humiliation from judges) just to get national recognition?

I guess part of the answer lies in our society in general. Let’s face it, America has become a hyper-competitive place! Whether we’re taking about extreme sports or extreme make-overs, it seems we’re pushing everything to the limit in our obsession to be #1.

The level of artistry in dance continues to evolve around the world, but some major dance trends have become very aggressive and tough. Some of the moves performed aren’t even dance, instead they’re extreme athletics or gymnastics and they seem to be done only to up the ante for the competition – see if you can top this! Never mind that dancers are jumping up and landing on the top of their heads or doing in-air flips and crashing to their knees (not to mention many other risky maneuvers).

We like to think we live in a free country and if someone wants to injure their body in the pursuit of dance, they certainly can do so. I just hope our country becomes more nurturing and less competitive real soon. The message that you have to endure extreme pain or hurt yourself to receive recognition as a good dancer is an unhealthy one. If your body truly is the temple of your soul, I encourage you to tune out pop culture pressure. Please treat your body with respect – don’t be a pain in the dance.

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