Dance Challenges the Mind and Body


Matthew Prifogle

AT the Kristie Wright School of Dance recital, Junior Gretchen Prifogle does an arabesque. Ballet is one of the hardest types of dance to do.

By Carissa Dawson, Logansport High School

When thinking of different sports, people often go back to all the same ones; football, baseball, basketball, and so on. Dance doesn’t usually cross a person’s mind. This is often due to it being a performance. People don’t tend to realize that performance can also include many things that go on behind the scenes.

“When you’re dancing, it has to be perfect, or it’s wrong,” senior Emily Cole said. “This means all people see is the beauty, the art, the finished product. What they don’t see is the years upon years of training it takes to be a good dancer, let alone a great one.”

The Logansport Dance Team performs a group number in the Variety Show. They danced to a mashup of a variety of hip-hop songs. (Jerika Razer)

Since dancing takes so long to become exceptional at, many dancers begin at young ages. This means that dancing is a lifelong commitment. Junior Gretchen Prifogle has danced most of her life at just 16 years old.

“I have danced for 13 years,” Prifogle said. “If I quit dancing today, I think my body wouldn’t want to function. That’s the thing about dancers, they have to replace parts of their bodies way before they should ever need to. Between their knees, ankles, and hips especially.”

Dance is very physically demanding, but also mentally challenging. Usually, when arguing one way or another, it always comes down to muscle strength and what the body goes through. When playing football, they often practice drills and learn plays. Dance is similar to that in the way that dancers have to think through every movement throughout their entire bodies, down to what their finger is doing.

“If you don’t do it, you really don’t know,” sophomore Madison Zimmerer said. “For instance, when doing a plie exercise, most people wouldn’t know that you have to focus on your arms too. It’s more than that even. You have to focus on your hips turning out. If you tendu, your foot has to point. Your leg has to point, and your knee has to be completely straight. There are so many factors that only dancers can really think of.”

Senior Caitlin Wright from Carrol and Junior Gretchen Prifogle perform a duet in the 2022 Kristie Wright School of Dance recital. They danced to “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” by Lorde. The dance told a story and was very emotional.

Dance students usually learn ballet first as it is the most used style of dance. This can be hard because there are many moves that require a person to be flexible and do things that their bodies aren’t naturally able to do.

“The basics of every style of dance is rooted in ballet,” Cole said. “When you learn ballet you’re literally teaching your body to move in ways it’s not meant to, which makes it incredibly uncomfortable until you get used to it.”

The biggest counterargument to whether dance is a sport or not is that not all dancers compete. Though many dancers all over the world compete, many don’t. This doesn’t make them any less of an athlete though.

Junior Connor Gibson performs an emotional lyrical solo at the Variety Show. He danced to “A Woman’s Work” by Kate Bush. (Jerika Razer)

“If you’re at tennis practice, but you don’t play at the match, are you still playing a sport when you’re at practice?” Zimmerer said. “I personally don’t compete, but I still do a sport, dance.”

After all, there are many ways to define an athlete. According to, “an athlete is a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill.”

“To define an athlete is someone who works, works, and works, and practices and practices to get something,” Prifogle said. “That’s exactly what we do. That’s why I think dance is a sport, we do the same thing athletes do but in a different way.”

This story was originally published on LHS Magpie on November 21, 2022.