is ballroom dancing a sport

Is ballroom dancing a sport?

Everyone has had the pleasure of seeing couples gliding across the floor  and doing ballroom dancing.

To most that has always seemed like an easy and effortless thing to do. This is why ballroom dancing has always been considered as nothing more than a social activity.

Over the years this sport has advanced and has had many changes to accommodate the modern aspects of society. You can read my article about the history of ballroom dancing.

Many people have sacrificed everything in order to be world champions for this activity.

Despite all the sacrifices and development of this activity there is a question that always remains: Is ballroom dancing a sport?

In this post I will do my best to answer this question for you as I have more then a decade of experience as a competitive ballroom and a Latin American dancer.

Ok folks let’s get into it now

What is ballroom dancing

Ballroom dancing is basically were two people ( a couple) are linked together through their body features to produce a circular movement across the floor.

You can click here to check my detailed explanation about how it originated ballroom dancing a sport?

ballroom involves the man wearing clothing that is very formal while the woman wears a very beautiful gown.

Unlike Latin American dancing (a segment of ballroom and Latin American dancing), in ballroom dancing the women wear gowns that cover their whole body.

When couples practice or rehearse for dance competitions there are costumes that they use. You can check out the practice wear of ballroom dancers by clicking here.

Ballroom dancing also requires that the couple dancing exactly with music while adding their own style while they perform.

Ballroom dancing is generally put in the category of contemprary dancing and jazz because it is elegent and consindered very gracefull.



Ballroom dancing and sport

You might have heard the name dancesport when people are talking about ballroom and Latin American dancing nowadays.

You see this word in itself describes the essence of what ballroom and Latin American dancing is, which is a sport.

I can see you doubting the fact that  dancing is not a sport and that it is only the name it is given, well think of this what does sports involve, let’s have a lot.

Essentials of sports

  • Point systems
  • Uniform
  • Judges
  • sessions
  • Mental work
  • Physical work

The above factors are what the university of California specifies as what constitutes an activity to be called a sport.

We will expand on each of these for the dancesport to uncover the truth you are looking for.

Point system

If you have been involved in ballroom and Latin American dancing you will know that in order to go from one level of your dance catergory you  need to have certain points.

There are for levels which use the point system in order to move up (levele 1, level2, level 3 and levele 4).

You need adequate points on each level to move up. That is how I was able to move ranks when I started dancing.

When you get to the dress section (the advanced levels) your points are only those from adjudicators who give you a score on your dancing.

In these levels there are no points for moving up a level. (novice to Professional).

You can see how critical the point system is for ballroom and Latin American dancing right.

Alright let’s go to the next point,( excuse the pun).


Is ballroom dancing a sport?

In ballroom and Latin American dancing there are custom that you need to wear in Oder to be allowed to dance.

There  is a strict dress code rule for all levels which dancers need to abide by at all times.

Start grade levels (Level1 -4) all have a simplistic way of dressing up; The boys wear a white shirt and black pants while the ladies wear a long costume.

In the dress section (Novice to Professional) the dress code is more open and it can be as fancy as possible.

For more and detailed dressed code for ballroom and Latin American dancing clothing you can check out my post here.

Even though the dresses are fancy they still have to abide by the rules that are set by the dancesport Federation.

Still in doubt?

The following section should already be enough proof to you for “Is ballroom dancing a sport?”

Let’s get into it…


Ballroom and Latin American dancing is by far as sport which depends on the adjudication system to decide winners.

On a local competition there are 3 adjudicators but if the stakes are high, like a world champion, then the adjudicators can be as many as 9 or 11.

You will have noted that there is an odd number of adjudicators and you may be wondering why…well the simply answer is to remove biasism at all costs and fair judgement.

Yeah yeah I know you might be saying well Thabo but there can still be politics that control those results…

You are absolutely right politics as there and will always be there as long as we are dealing with human beings.

The odd number system is just a standard used to be fair as possible as especially when there are many adjudicators.


ballroom dance south africa

The more the couples the more sessions that will be done.

When couples are more then 7 it becomes a semifinal and as more couples increase the you will have quarterfinals and so on.

Mental work

Ballroom and Latin American dancing is a big mental sport. You may ask why? well I will explain.

When you are competing to win against  your competitors it becomes really tough mentally because even if you are well prepared it can be intimidating, which can derail your dancing capabilities.

This is why for my dancing students I have a program where I feature psychology which will enable to be strong mentally when  they are at a dancing competition.

Physical work

I have heard many people ask me do you work out when you dance?….my eyes pop whenever I hear this statement.

This is because people underestimate the workout you get when you do dancing and it is is ballroom dancing a sport?actually more than many sports I know because you work-out without even knowing this.

Have you ever danced to music in you car or perhaps your house and all of a sudden you end up breaking a sweat? I bet you have right?

This is the power of dancing to music like ballroom and Latin American dancing.

There you have it folks ballroom and Latin American dancing fits all the criteria for an activity being a sport.

Here is a footage of some ballroom dancers competing in what is an Olympic stage.

Final thoughts

Over the years the debate of whether ballroom and Latin American dancing is a sport or not has always been there even when I was in my high school year my friends would tell me that this activity is not a sport.

This article has uncovered  the answer to this question: is ballroom dancing a sport?

This activity fits all the points which the University of California deems an activity to be called a sport such as Uniform, point system etc.

I hope this article was able to answer the question you had about this sport.

If you would like to share any thoughts you are more then welcome to leave a comment on the comment section below or if you have any questions you would like to ask me.

2 thoughts on “Is ballroom dancing a sport?”

  1. I hadn’t thought that ballroom dancing was a sport, more an art. But I think that considering what you have said, that it can be validated as a sport using the UOC factors that make up a sport. I also think they have missed one factor… entertainment. After all it is entertainment.. what ever sport you think about – why do they do it? it might be to win, but those that sponsor it, do it because people watch and it entertains… Come Dancing on UK TV which is specifically about the various types of ballroom dancing and all the people who come to watch the competitions. The one thing I would query… UOC talk about uniform… do you think that a tennis player wears a uniform? Maybe they were thinking more laterally in that you have to wear particular clothing to do the sport?

    1. Hey
      Yes entertainment can also be something connected to a sport since at the end of the day it depends on the audience.
      Yes Tennis might not have uniform as such because it is usually one person against the other, but if you look at all sports especially those with pairs or groups you will find uniform.
      Thank you for an engaging comment

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