Picture this: the dance world and the soccer world collaborate together on Messiah’s campus to see what the two disciplines can learn from each other.
That is exactly what we did with the dance vs. soccer experiment.
In October, we held a soccer practice where seven dancers and I came and tried our hand at the sport. Then, six men’s soccer players joined us in a dance class to learn the technique of ballet.
The dancers and the soccer players both came in with the mindset to see what similarities and differences there are between ballet and soccer. How could dance benefit soccer players and soccer benefit dancers? Turns out there are quite a few answers to this question.
At the beginning, both groups definitely struggled with learning a new discipline.
Soccer proved to be harder for the dancers than originally anticipated. Many of us were challenged by the constant cardio and keeping control of the ball while we played.
While dance helped many of us succeed in some ways at soccer, we could see how playing soccer could help us increase our agility, stamina and endurance.
We also appreciated how the soccer players incorporated their faith into their sport and were super encouraging towards us even when we struggled to keep up.
When it was time for the soccer players to try dance, they were fully committed and ready to step out of their comfort zone. They attempted all of the dance moves thrown at them with humility and humor.
Many of the soccer players struggled with flexibility, balance and coordination during the class. Dance was not quite as effortless as it appeared to be on stage.
One of the largest benefits dance could have on soccer is the increased flexibility. The players emphasized how being more flexible could help them kick the ball harder and also help them with injury prevention.
Ultimately, at the end of both of the experiments, both groups said they would try ballet or soccer again. The process was a fun learning experience, which will hopefully lead to further collaborations.
Watch the video for an inside look at the soccer practice and dance class and read the full article on the dance vs. soccer experiment in the November issue of The Swinging Bridge!