Show Choir: The Musical Sport – OPINION

Show Choir is an athletic and competition-based activity. We should regard it as a sport.


Alexis Jimenez Russell

Diversity show choir performs their show choir songs during the 2022 Swing Inn concert.

Eleanor McCalla

The glaring lights turn the stage into a colossal oven. Each move must be defined and exaggerated. Keep your balance on the slippery floor. Hairspray pervades your every pore. Your heart pounds with each move, but you can’t let the lightheadedness hinder your singing. Don’t go flat. Belt that note — now you’re sharp. You have 30 seconds to change your outfit. If you’re late… don’t be. The judge’s piercing eyes follow your every move. Synchronize. Make sure you hit the correct ending pose. Most importantly, smile through your mistakes; smile until your face aches.

Competitive show choir is one of the most challenging activities I have ever participated in, but one of the biggest lessons I have taken away from it is that you get out of show choir what you put into it. All those hours poring over the dancing videos and copying the choreographer’s every move. All the free periods spent with classmates in the choir room correcting each others’ mistakes. Each late-night bus ride after a hard-fought competition. Every twisted ankle, every ripped pair of tights. All of the weekends squandered away traveling to competitions in multiple states. With all of the pain and sacrifice that goes into each rehearsal and performance, it is shocking that some do not consider this competitively cutthroat demonstration of skill and cooperation to be a sport.

According to, a sport is “an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature….” Every aspect of this definition applies to show choir.

First, show choir is athletic. Throughout competition season in the winter, show choir is what gets me out of the house, gets me moving, and gets my heart rate up. It is unique because it is not only exercise for one’s body, but it also exercises one’s lungs and brain. We warm up just as a runner would do, and we concentrate on balance in the same way a gymnast would.

Secondly, show choir does involve skill and physical prowess, to some degree. Each participant must not only be able to dance but to move around quickly and synchronize their moves with everyone else. Not only is the dancing essential, one must be able to sing on pitch and to the tempo. Of course, those who would not generally consider themselves to be athletic can participate in show choir, but it takes practice and a ton of work to perfect, in the same way that basketball players must shoot hoop after hoop to strengthen their game.

Finally, show choir has about as much of a “competitive nature” as even the toughest of sports. At AHS, students must audition to be in Premiere, the top show choir in the school. This process is a competition in and of itself. Additionally, we take the show on the road to multiple competitions throughout Iowa and Nebraska, pitting our show against the performances of other schools in the area. Depending on the type of competition, judges either give us a rating from 1-3 or rank each show in order from best to worst. Sure, the competitors do not have any direct contact with each other. However, neither do those in golf, bowling, cross country, track, competitive dance, swimming, archery, and many other sports.

With all of the blood, sweat, and tears show choir participants pour into their performances and competitions, it is unfair to discount their activity as less than a sport or minimize the work that they put into every show.