For the past several years there have been a series of very deliberate actions from part of the dance community to position DanceSport for inclusion into the Summer Olympic Games.
This started with the introduction of the word DanceSport in 1997, and more recently, the launch of a New Judging System, based on the Skating System, in March 2013. This new judging system was introduced to the Grand Slam Series, the Latin and Standard events of The World Games and of the WDSF World DanceSport Games. See [Will a New Judging System Change the Way We Dance]
As well, there have been developments from Olympic bodies that are favourable to the inclusion of DanceSport in the Olympics. DanceSport was recognized as an Olympic eligible sport in the same year as the term DanceSport was introduced. And very significantly, the 28 sport limit for the Summer Olympic Games was scrapped in December, 2014. We covered that here – [Will DanceSport be in the 2020 Olympic Games?]
Since December 2014, there have been new and very interesting developments!
First, in March 2015, the Association for International Sport for All (TAFISA), a body recognized by the International Olympic Committee, and the 4th largest sports body in the world, announced the World Dance Council had been admitted as a member.
- Donnie Burns expressed his enthusiasm for this during the WDC’s 2015 series of annual meetings.
- This means that both major international ballroom dance associations, WDSF, and now WDC, are aligned with Olympic organizations that recognize DanceSport as sport.
- Wow! “Official” agreement that DanceSport is a sport as well as an art.
Then, in May of 2015, Tokyo opened an application process for additional event(s) to be included in the Olympic Games in 2020. Phase 2 will start June 22nd. Presentations will be made in August, and Tokyo’s final choice of events, to be proposed to the IOC, will be made by the end of September 2015. The IOC’s decision will then take place at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro in August of 2016.
- Tokyo Organizers have stated that any additional event(s) “Will serve as a driving force to promote the Olympic Movement and its values, with a focus on youth appeal.” And will “Add value to the Games by engaging the Japanese population and new audiences worldwide, reflecting the Tokyo 2020 Games vision.”
- Favourable points for DanceSport are the call for an increase in the number of female athletes and mixed events, and interest in any new event’s potential for popularity.
- Very few potential competing events are mixed, or have the proven popular audience interest as DanceSport given the current TV dance shows and the sell out crowds at the World Games,
Also, a very interesting movement has started amongst dancers! During the first week of June, just a few days before the application deadline in the first phase of Tokyo’s selection process, a “Bring DanceSport to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics” was created and instantly took off.
If you feel that DanceSport should be part of Olympics, and would like to show your support, a Petition is HERE!
A Facebook page supporting DanceSport in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games is found HERE!
- If you spend time on facebook, it is hard not to see a share or a comment related to this. The number of signatures in a short time, and the passion in the comments are impressive. And the support is as international as you can get, with signatures from every continent.
- Dancers are making their voices heard!
With all of this, the energy around DanceSport for the Olympics is very hot! But, there is a lot of opinionated talk about the pros as well as the cons.
- Exposure to a broader world wide audience
- More interest from and investment in youth
- Increased sponsorship funds for athletes
- Recognition of the supporting industry for dancers. The costume designers who make intricate and glamorous outfits that have the strength, comfort and movement to suit and enhance an athlete. The photographers who capture emotion and motion in stills, while dealing with unpredictable movement and dynamic floorcraft. And many more…
- Increased concern about doping among athletes
- Regulations imposed on the sport by the Olympic bodies
- Decreased access to certain coaches who may be tied to specific athletes by sponsors
- It means a change, which means a bit of the unknown
So far, based on the social media discussion, many more dancers seem to feel that the pros outweigh the cons, and are looking forward to seeing our sport showcased on Tokyo’s Olympic podiums.