Olympic Day 2014 a Success!

The Nor Cal Chapter of USA Dance held two Olympic Day events in 2014 – On June 21st at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo and on June 22nd at The Shops At Tanforan in San Bruno.  Our guest Olympian was rower Mike Altman (2004 and 2008 Olympic Games).  Mike spoke to the audience about the Olympic values of perseverance, good sportsmanship and fair play and reminisced about his own personal journey to the Olympic Games.  Members of the public stopped by to speak with Mike afterword and to get his autograph.  Mike brought with him lots of Olympic athlete cards, which were a hit with the kids in the audience on both days and were eagerly picked up.

Since an important element of Olympic Day is to encourage people of all ages to become physically active, what better way to get good exercise than to dance.  Nor Cal Chapter members took to the floor with a series of DanceSport demonstrations, followed by a simple Cha Cha lesson, allowing members of the public from the very young to senior citizen age to stretch their legs and learn a few dance steps.

My thanks go out to all who made these events a success:  the USOC, the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee, Olympian Mike Altman, and the staffs of the Hillsdale Shopping Center and The Shops At Tanforan.

And thanks also to Nor Cal Board Members:  Vice President Karen Andersen, whose masterful job as MC kept the events moving while imparting information to the audience about the history of each dance and the dancers they were seeing; Chapter President Jim Kleinrath who did double duty as a demonstrator and dance instructor, and Chapter Secretary Mark Scardina, who also did double duty as DJ and photographer.

And a final special thank you to our wonderful DanceSport athletes, who shared their passion for dance with the public not only through their wonderful dance routines, but also by joining in the Cha Cha lesson afterward:  Pre-Teen athletes Tyler Li and Anjelica Lowe, Junior athletes Lance Yasinsky and Paloma Pronin, and Adult/Senior Athletes Jim Kleinrath dancing with his student Junko Tanabe.

The celebration of Olympic Day strengthens the link DanceSport has with the Olympic Movement, and the Nor Cal Chapter of USA Dance was very pleased to have done its part  in bringing the Olympic message to appreciative audiences in Northern California.

Sports for All Commission Has Held its First Meeting

I returned earlier this week from the first meeting of the WDSF Sports for All  Commission.  WDSF President Carlos Freitag welcomed us and made some opening remarks about the establishment of this Commission and the important work he hoped it would tackle.

Chair Heidi Estler of Germany, Sandy Brittain of Canada and Professor Rainbow Ho of Hong Kong and I spent the early part of the meeting getting to know one another better and discussing our respective backgrounds and what motivated us to become interested and involved in promoting dance and DanceSport in our own federations.  We also discussed how promotion of DanceSport could be tied in to the Olympic Movement as a whole.  We then got down to the business of planning future projects that we hope to roll out later in the year and in 2015.

I was happy to take the minutes of the meeting, and once the minutes are reviewed and approved, information will be released on the future plans and activities of the Commission.


WDSF Sports For All Commission Meeting

Next week I will be attending the first meeting of the WDSF Sports For All Commission.  The meeting will be held in Bucharest, Romania in conjunction with the WDSF’s Annual General Assembly.  On the Commission agenda will be a discussion of ideas on how the WDSF and its member federations can work with the IOC and the national Olympic Committees to further the Olympic message that participation in sport is a human right for all men, women and children of all economic strata and in all societies around the world.

If USA Dance members have any ideas they would like to suggest on this topic, please contact me.