When some sports and disciplines are somewhat similar, confusion seems to swirl around the masses, and people end up not knowing where one sport begins, where another ends and whether any relatable disciplines are actually parts of that sport or a separate entity.
In this case, rhythmic gymnastics are often confused with dancing, and rightfully so. What are the differences, what are the unique parts of both? Here is everything you need to know to settle that dilemma.
Rhythmic Gymnastics is Its Own Discipline
Rhythmic gymnastics were invented in the 19th century and were popularized and turned into a known discipline in the 20th. In 1996, they were added to the Olympic Games. Rhythmic Gymnastics involve a combination of dancing, gymnastics, as well as handling apparatuses, which are the hoop, ball, ribbons, club and rope. The athlete has to dance to music, while performing gymnastic movements and handling an apparatus of their choice. The judges would give them a score based on difficulty and execution. Both difficulty and execution have their predetermined sheets which help evaluate individual performances and choreographies.
Dancing is a Broad Term
When one says dancing, do they mean classical ballroom dances, ballet, contemporary dancing, jazz, breakdancing, boogey, or salsa? There are so many dances that one could spend days and weeks trying to name them all. Dancing in general, represents freedom of motion, of expression. A specific dance, however, gives you less freedom, by giving you some restrictions in the form of basic movements, the music, as well what is expected of a dancer.
Dancing, however, does not always have to be a competition. Dancing is often done for fun and the joy of movement.
Rhythmic Gymnastics is an Athletic Discipline
When something has gymnastics in it, you can be sure that it involves acrobatic movements which are really difficult and involve potential danger. They are known as risks in the gymnastics world. These movements can bring you more points, but they take years to master, and they are anything but risk-free.
Even rhythmic gymnastics, for all its dancing and the handling of the apparatuses, still has a very strong focus on the gymnastics, having the athletes/dancers stretch and work out many hours of a day, probably up to 6 days per week. They still, however, perform to music, which associates it with dancing.
Dancing Can Also Be Difficult
Choose any classical dance and you will find yourself faced with endless exercising to get any of the moves right. For example, ballet is about as rigorous as gymnastics, in regards to exercise, and especially the diet.
Breakdancing has many gymnastics elements which were adapted and in most cases, made harder, where the dancers move more like athletes, performing moves which require a lot of strength and agility.
Even folklore dances, from almost any country, can be difficult and require rigorous exercise. Some are endurance based, where dancers basically workout as endurance athletes. In some aspects, rhythmic gymnastics are very similar to dancing.
What Are the Differences?
Rhythmic gymnastics is a sport, primarily, which involves dancing and music, but is mainly a competitive sport.
It combines elements of dancing and music, with gymnastics and props, to make something special. It is a way for very athletic dancers to express themselves and win gold medals.
Dancing, on the other hand, unless one is doing traditional ballet or any traditional dances, is more about expression and enjoying the music. Dancing has tournaments and competitions, but it is primarily thought of as an aesthetic way of expression, as well as a way of socialization.
Now that you know, you can better understand the slight and not so slight differences between dancing and rhythmic gymnastics.