We were told to stretch, stretch our legs, stretch our arms, stretch everything. Ballerinas are what everyone called us, athletes are what we are. I believe that ballet is a sport. We do the splits, lifts, and plies; others toss a ball, tackle, and run. What’s the difference between them and us? I don’t think there’s a difference, except maybe the fact that we are working harder. The men in ballet, what few there are, lift the women, and have you seen their leg muscles? Those don’t get there from just sitting down; those get there from real exercise. And what is a sport without exercise? The answer is: nothing. People in ballet sweat too, just like people in other sports. We are always trying our hardest, same as other athletes. When I was younger, for stretches, we did splits. For our exercise we held onto the bar and we had to learn to put our leg all the way up on the bar, and many other things. These stretches have helped me later in life, because now I’m a lot more flexible than I could have been if I never took ballet. I get better on the sit and reach, I know how to stretch, and I have stronger leg muscles than I could have had. Ballerinas get torn ligaments, broken bones, strains, and cramps, nothing that other athletes don’t get. We go through pain too. We go through rejection, not making it. We may not be as “big” as some other sports out there, but we still make it, and the professionals still get paid for it. Speaking of professionals, there’s something else we have in common with other athletes; there are professionals that get paid. So why is ballet not considered a sport in most places? We entertain others, while telling a story, every movement has a meaning, we don’t just do it for fun, we do it for a reason. For instance, The Nutcracker ballet has a story behind it and with the movements you can tell what that story is. Some of the movements are hard to do and you can only do them with practice and years of training, just like other sports. I truly believe that we ballerinas are athletes and that ballet should be considered a sport everywhere.
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