The Swing of Things: When Dance and Sports Collide

Dance and Sports Collide

The overlap between professional sports and dance grows larger each passing day. Professional athletes, especially those who play the most popular sports in America, often have a reputation for being brawny and brutal bruisers. But cross-training is an important part of enhancing athletic skills like agility, strength and flexibility, and dance is the perfect way to accomplish this.

Dance is growing in popularity among athletes and their coaches, which doesn’t surprise us one bit. It’s fun, challenging and social – what’s not to love? And many former athletes are perfectly suited to dance, with the existing musculature and willingness to work hard that it takes to succeed.  So, read on for stories of athletes taking on the dance world, either to enhance or follow their sports careers!

Athletes Are Cleaning House on Dancing with the Stars

Athletes make some for some entertaining and often surprising performers on Dancing with the Stars. Apart from the nostalgia factor that comes with their familiar faces, they also tend to have a unique muscularity and skill set that characterizes their performances. Some incredible athletes have won in the past 24 seasons, so here’s a look back at what bringing athletes onto the show has done for the competition. Athletes have raised the bar, and there’s no coming down!

Can an MMA Fighter Hang with a Ballet Class?

Think about how hard an MMA fighter has to train to be able to fight for several rounds in an octagon. It’s a tough workout regimen to build and maintain their strength and fitness, so you would think there’s not much that can challenge an MMA fighter. But apparently, you would be wrong. This MMA fighter discovered that ballet is not an easy workout, and that dancers have to develop incredible strength and body control. It’s a different kind of strength that makes ballet so breath-taking, which makes it a challenging workout.


How Do Professional Dancers Actually Train?

The training regimen of a professional dancer can be brutal. It involves hours of strength training, flexibility building and balance work — not to mention dance classes and rehearsals without end. Many dancers actually struggle to eat enough calories in a day to maintain their hectic schedules, which says something about how hard they’re working! Many people still see dance as an art that doesn’t require much strength or fitness, and something that anyone can do easily. This is a stereotype that has existed for years, which keeps many people from even trying dance to begin with. So check out this “day in the life” story from a professional dancer, and see if you could hang with his intense schedule!


Cross-Training Can Be Fun

Athletes often find that cross-training is a great way to balance their bodies and keep them injury-free. These football players found that while they were already working hard on the field, the dancers at their high school were also working hard in the studio. The two groups started trading their training regimens to give their workouts a boost, and both of them ended up stronger, faster and better at their respective activities. As a plus, the dancers and the football players also gained some newfound respect for each other.


There’s Science Behind Cross-Training

A recent study has found that high school athletes who specialize in one sport tend to have a higher injury rate than athletes who play more than one sport. This is because repeating the same movement patterns and training styles over and over without changing it can create muscular imbalances and overuse injuries. Changing it up allows your muscles to recover and grow strength in different ways, which can end up enhancing your performance in every activity you do. And if you must cross-train anyway, dance is an excellent option!


Dance is a combination of athleticism and art that, at its best, is able to inspire and move audiences, as well as augment the experience of music. Athletes are uniquely suited to certain aspects of dance, but most quickly find that dance isn’t just about how easily you can move your body. It’s about how you use what your body can do to add to the music and express something that cannot be put into words. To find your local Fred Astaire Dance Studios and begin building your strength, fitness and artistry on the dance floor, visit