Harry Shum’s Smart Videos About Dance and Sports

The whole dance/sport comparison can get a little tortured sometimes. Yes, dancers are athletes, but does that make dance a sport? There are objective ways to measure athletic performance, but are there objective ways to measure dance performance?

One of our favorites, Harry Shum, Jr., figured out how to sidestep that whole complicated mess while still exploring the interesting comparisons to be made between dance and sport. His new video series, “Parallels,” takes an up-close-and-personal look at the relationships between dance steps and athletic movements—how a saut de chat compares to a freestyle motocross stunt, for example, or how b-boying requires the same kind of rhythm as skateboarding. It’s all really well-done and (naturally) well-danced.

Motocross athlete Alexey Kolesnikov and ballet dancer Kylie Lewallen in "Parallels"

Motocross athlete Alexey Kolesnikov and ballet dancer Kylie Lewallen in “Parallels”

(Here’s a fun fact: Shum was inspired by a classic 1958 television special in which Gene Kelly reimagined the motions of world-class athletes as dance. Kelly even taught the likes of Micky Mantle and Sugar Ray Leonard dance routines.)

Take a look at all four of Shum’s videos, below.

Exploring Parallels: Introduction

Exploring Parallels: Grace

Exploring Parallels: Control

Exploring Parallels: Rhythm

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