I was perusing the World Dance Council (WDC) website the other day and came across this statement on their home page: “The WDC is the World authority for all Dance for both Amateurs and Professionals”. How can the WDC be the “world authority” when it is the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), that is designated by the International Olympic Committee as the International Governing Body for DanceSport? Let’s compare the websites of the WDC and the WDSF to see what each one offers the amateur DanceSport competitor.
The Amateur League of the WDC lists two pages of competition rules, while the WDSF competition rules go on for 61 pages, with a number of supplemental documents. The WDSF rules cover everything from anti-doping, to proper organization of a competitive event, to the conduct of judges. In fact, there is an extensive supplementary section dealing specifically with the ethical behavior expected of adjudicators.
And the WDSF costume rules provide page after page of detailed descriptions of what is and is not allowed in competition, complete with diagrams. A particularly detailed description exists for the costuming of juvenile and junior competitors. The WDC’s costume rules for amateurs on the other hand, state only that costumes must be “in compliance with each of the Ballroom and Latin-american disciplines” and that they “shall conform with accepted norms for men and women in competition-dancing.” There is nothing listed on the WDC website to guide the parent on age-appropriate costuming for children.
And how important and significant does the WDC consider its amateur competitors to be? It devotes only one page to photo galleries from the limited number of WDC amateur competitions, with the last update being a competition that took place over six months ago. The WDSF, on the other hand, has close to 1,000 pages of photos from its competitions, including many of the most recent ones from 2014 supplemented by scores of videos.
And to top it off, the Chair of the WDC Amateur League is a professional whom the amateurs had no role in selecting, leaving one to wonder how much freedom competitors have within the Amateur League to chart their own course within the WDC. The WDSF, on the other hand, has an Athletes Commission where athletes may voice their opinion on a variety of subjects in a democratic manner and are surveyed on their interests and concerns. There is also a separate Professional Division so that professionals have their own area within the WDSF where issues specific to professionals may be addressed.
Competitors have the right to choose which competitive events they will enter. However, competitors who choose only to dance in WDC-affiliated amateur competitions are doing themselves a great disservice, and depriving themselves of the opportunity to compete in the world’s largest, most competitive and most comprehensive system of DanceSport competitions in the world – those organized under the WDSF umbrella and its network of over 90 national federations.