IOWA CITY — The lights go up on a stage of costume-clad performers ready to spin, clap, harmonize and dance in perfect synchrony in front of an audience.
Is it a sport?
Show choir should be viewed as an art form that requires some athletic skill, not considered a sport on its own. There are other types of arts that demand tremendous strength, such as ballet or aerial dance, yet these activities aren’t sports either.
They are not based and judged on athletic ability alone. There are the other aspects that draw the crowds and make show choir performances so enjoyable. They are judged on their ability to sing clearly, their confidence that shines through when they dance and their ability to accurately represent a certain scene.
In short, they try to captivate the audience by putting on a spectacle.
When evaluating what a sport is, you have to take into account there are many different interpretations of the word. You have to think about what activities you know are sports and gather their similar characteristics. For example, basketball, wrestling and running are sports that face no opposition to their title because they all require physical strength and hours of training. Activities like dance, show choir and arguably marching band, also require physical strength and hours of training, but the difference here is these activities also require an artistic or musical component.
In American society, especially in high school, sports are valued very highly. Show choir enthusiasts may say they want the title of a sport, when really, they want to same recognition for their hard work that athletes get. Certain extracurriculars simply get more attention than others.
Basketball, football, and volleyball have massive crowds, schoolwide attention from teachers and students, and promotions other groups are not offered. Less popular extracurriculars like Art Club, Spanish Club and Culinary Club have the same attention problem as show choir. People simply don’t pay attention to them. While this may be frustrating, accepting show choir into the athletics world isn’t the solution.
Show choir is not judged purely for athletic ability. It’s participants don’t practice enough to build up strength and conditioning. For sports like swimming, practice is at least two hours a day, six days a week. Within the sports world, it’s true some sports require more physical strength than others, but most sports train in the weight room to build the muscle needed for sports.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
While show choir participants may say they are as active as athletes, it’s doubtful the entire 4th Avenue Company would show up to lift weights twice a week. This likely would not help them improve like it would for a sport.
Show choir is a performance art. According to Collins English Dictionary, “a performance art is a theatrical presentation that includes various art such as dance (or) music.” This is all show choir is. It tells a story using dance, music and singing. Additionally, the scoring system for show choir evaluates multiple categories, which include vocal technique, ensemble technique, performance, musicality, general musical effect, execution, design and overall impression.
Only a small fraction of what show choir is judged on has to do with athletic ability. And those parts only include the crispness of movement, energy of movement and quality of expression. This is basically how well-rehearsed the performers are with their parts and how enthusiastic they are while performing, not athletic ability.
By the majority of society, show choir is not accepted as a sport. One clear way to see this is show choir is covered under arts and/or entertainment sections of newspaper, not the sports section. Show choir is put in the arts and/or entertainment section because that is where readers expect it.
Show choir is physically demanding and it requires the same amount of activity as some sports, but in the end, show choir participants simply want their hard work to shine through to the rest of the world and to get the recognition they deserve.
City High sisters Rachel and Ruth Meehan have a different opinion.