Disrespecting dance


Coco LeGrand

With the popular debate on whether or not dance is a sport, most of Kirkwood is in support of their dance team being a sport.

Similar to other KHS sports, the KHS dance team has a varsity and JV team, practices three times a week and participates in various competitions. However, on the KHS athletics website, they’re still listed as a source of school spirit, rather than a sport. 

Tori Dillon, sophomore and JV pommie, said she has often felt this view reflected on the pommies’ performances. She said pommies are seen as a weaker sport or not a sport at all, even when they regularly do unnatural and high-risk movements.

“We’re very overlooked or looked down on,” Dillon said. “[People] don’t see the purpose [of the pommies]. [Either] no one is there or everyone is looking at their phones. It’s disrespectful. [Kirkwood] likes every other sport, [so] why not us? Why can’t we get the same attention?”

Danielle Klevorn, pommie head coach, said her athletes are constantly training hard to be on the team. She said dance is more complicated to define since it is an art as well as a sport.

“I wish dance could be a little bit more noticed,” Klevorn said. “What we do is super important to get the crowd excited. [We] show off our skill, provide entertainment and go out of our way to represent Kirkwood in our sport.”

Don’t be so quick to make assumptions about sports.

— Addie Campbell

Addie Campbell, senior and varsity pommie, believes the pommies put in just as much work as other sports.  She said this often goes unrecognized as a result of a lack of education on dance.

“We work most of the year competing against other teams,” Campbell said. “The sport is mentally-intense and a lot of people don’t realize or expect that. There’s a lot put into our practices that is both physically and mentally exerting.”

In addition to the common misconceptions, Jack Cannon, senior, said pommies not being considered a sport is due to sexism. He said games, like chess and golf which include much less physical activity than dance, are often considered sports. This idea is supported by the International Olympic Committee, who included chess as an Olympic sport in 1999, but have yet to do the same for dance.

“There are competitions where dance teams compete against other dance teams [with] placements, scores and everything,” Cannon said. “I think it should qualify as a sport. If people are saying the Kirkwood pommies aren’t a sport, [but] they call men’s golf a sport, I think that just comes from a standpoint of misogyny.”

Dillon has had similar experiences with sexism impacting the pommies. She said the societal expectations of men often influence their view of dance.

“[The] majority of people who look down on us are males,” Dillon said. “Guys are generally more athletic or act tough. It’s what they’re expected to do. They aren’t seen as gentle or delicate, [and] they think we’re a weaker sport. It’s kind of frustrating.” 

[Kirkwood] likes every other sport, [so] why not us? Why can’t we get the same attention?

— Tori Dillon

Despite the misogyny surrounding the pommies, Cannon said he has not seen much bias within Kirkwood. He said he’s surrounded by friends and family who are apart of the pommies.

“The pommies are pretty well respected at Kirkwood in my opinion,” Cannon said. “At least from what I’ve seen, but I’m around more people that are connected to them. I’m sure in [other] areas dance teams aren’t given the same level of respect.”

Campbell said she saw an increase in support this past year. She said it could possibly be because of the new coach or many changes in the program. 

“This year especially, [people] have been more aware of pommies being a sport and how much [work] we actually put in,” Campbell said. “I just think most people aren’t educated and don’t really know what goes into being a pommie or a dancer. It’s much more complicated than one would expect it to be. Don’t be so quick to make assumptions about sports.”