Artistry, Sport or Both?

A New Year and new challenges await us all.  I’ll start off by discussing a concern I’ve had for a while now.  I am hearing a lot of talk these days from supporters of the World Dance Council (WDC) to the effect that those who choose to participate in WDC competitions are the “true artists”, while the World DanceSport Federation’s (WDSF) emphasis on dance as a “sport” places the artistic element in a subservient position.  I find this argument to be without merit, and any coaches who push their students to go the WDC route exclusively are doing those students a great disservice as well as revealing a bias that harms the development of DanceSport over-all.

Anyone who has seen a recent WDSF competitive event in either live or broadcast form knows that artistry is not only alive and well in DanceSport, but that those athletes who choose to compete in WDSF events are continually coming up with new and artistically inventive choreographic elements as well as pushing the envelope in terms of the strength, agility and stamina needed to compete at the world class level in WDSF competitions.

DanceSport is not something that is frozen in time, but is a continually evolving artistic and athletic endeavor.  Nor do DanceSport athletes who compete in WDSF events have to contend with the same couples winning all the major events year after year after year.  This is because the much larger pool of competitors that can be found in WDSF competitions than in the WDC means that all of them are constantly having to push themselves artistically and athletically in order to get ahead of the pack.

And in the WDSF, judges are required to continue taking adjudicator congresses in order to refresh their judging skills and become aware of new and developing trends in DanceSport.  The WDSF presently has within it over 90 participating countries, and because WDSF judges come from such a large variety of countries, their perspectives are more varied and they bring these perspectives to their judging assignments.

Also in the WDSF, the judging system is always under review and development as it should be and as it is in many sports, in an effort to make it fairer for competitors and more understandable for the general public.  This is part of the WDSF’s goal to bring DanceSport ever closer to becoming an Olympic Sport.  DanceSport is already accepted into the IOC-affiliated Games on several continents as well as the World Games; and the Pan American Games are on the horizon.

This evolutionary track on which the WDSF has placed competitive dance is good for athletes, officials and organizers as it will ultimately attract a growing fan and spectator base that will enjoy and appreciate the artistry and athleticism that is DanceSport.

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