KAYIU DIG IT – Beyond the Arts: Marching Band and Dance
Society today can be quick on labeling and defining what is what in the world. However, these labels can sometimes be misconceptions. Defining marching band and dance teams as only performing arts groups is a perfect example; both activities are so much more than that.
They are not the same as the typical sports we watch on TV or read about in the Sports section of a newspaper, but the amount of effort, rigor and execution it takes to succeed in marching and dancing makes them just as physical and serious as other sports. Essentially, marching band and dance have the label of being what I like to call “sparts,” both an art and a sport.
As someone who has danced before and is an athlete and marching band member now, I can confirm that although these three activities are extremely different from each other, they all require athletic skills nonetheless. Running a race can be just as hard as performing a routine. Moving with your instrument at 180 beats per minute can be compared to doing non-stop sprinting drills. Likewise, a track meet holds just as much pressure as a dance or band competition. There really is not a big difference. In marching band, we have to be consistent athletes in our lower bodies and classical musicians from our waist up. While dancing, there is always the task of moving with the music and being on point every second with the routine sequence.
I understand not everyone has danced on a regular basis or has marched a season of band before, and that is why I am stressing not to label these activities as simply a form of entertainment. Just as we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, we should not dismiss these activities as something less than what they are before gaining a wider perspective.
In both activities, you cannot really understand how difficult performing or learning a show can be unless you have experienced that pressure and physical dedication firsthand. Everyone loves a captivating performance and riveting music, and that is what dancing and marching band can deliver. It is everything that builds up to that moment that really makes these activities hardcore sports. These “sparts” will always be both physically challenging and artistic; it should be okay to have two labels for this type of activity.