Should DanceSport Be in the Olympics?

I was recently interviewed for an article (by commenter Sharon!) in a new newspaper put out by THE BALLROOM DANCE CHANNEL on this topic. Apparently it is controversial and the issue is becoming more pressing with the success of DANCING WITH THE STARS and SYTYCD. I gave my opinion here. I go into it in more detail (not necessarily the Olympics specifically, but the issue of whether Ballroom Dancing is more of an art or sport) in my article on Blackpool, which will hopefully be posted soon on EXPLORE DANCE.


  1. YAY! Thanks for mentioning this, Tonya…I’d like to be able to link to your piece when its ready, or maybe you could stop by BDC Social and give the link right in the comments there on the article. I do hope I’ll see some of your other readers stopping in and giving us an opinion, everyone always has such good insight here!

  2. I think (completely uneducated) that things like ballroom dancing are more or a sport these days though I suppose they once were a just “recreation”. Of course body talent is required to be a good “any type” dancer.

    But when you take something and make it a completion you turn it from something resembling or actually art and make into something resembling sport. Sports are about competing and wining. Art is about beauty and form and ideas.

    Are some artists /performers / dancers better at their craft than others? Of course, But they are usually competing (if you want to use that word) with themselves to be more perfect at their craft and a better “canvas” on which the dance is “painted”. Of course people DO compete to get accepted to positions in a school or company, or they are judged much they was they do in ballroom competitions. So there is some over lap here.

    Doing something and looking good doing it does not make it art.

  3. Congratulations for being cited in the article, that was a very nice introduction you got!! I agree with you that dance should not be in the Olympics. The “measuring” aspect really takes the focus away from what art should be.
    On another note, I have posted my review of my first Ailey performance here:

    I hope you can check it out when you have a minute!

  4. As the sport is now? No. As Tony, Maks, and Jonathan have all said and made excellent points, the system just doesn’t work right now. The fact that coaches of athletes can also be judges, it’s just not fair (that’s the main point, there are others). If things change then maybe. I think at some point it should. I mean the sport is just as much athletic (or even more) as “sports” such as Curlining. What I also think needs to change is channels such as ESPN showing effing’ poker on a sports channel. It’s sickening. I mean will someone please explain where the athleticism is in poker?

    Anyway, off the rant, I think in the future if things change in the sport, it should be an Olympic sport

  5. Thank you all for taking time to go and read my article. I meant everything I said about Tonya. I read her blog for about a year before I had guts enough to post anything. A lot of what I know about ballroom dance now is from reading her insightful comments. I do wish that you all would consider joining us at BDC Social, I want to post more articles like that one and really get some good discussion going there on the issues that are relevant to the ballroom world. If you click on my name at the top of this post, it should take you to the main portion of BDC and there is a link to the social part of the site there. What other topics would you all like to see covered?

  6. it is a sport

    GO TO THE OLYMPICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    LET US COMPETE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Competition Ballroom Dancing or DanceSport is much different in the U.S. than in other countries. I competed in Germany for 7 years. There the trainers/coaches are licensed at different levels, and the judges are licensed at different levels. A trainer is not automatically a judge and vice versa.

    Here everything has the influence of the Dance Studios which do not have Amateur Partners best interests in mind. They want the beginner to dance with the instructor (ProAm) in competition. This is emphasized by TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars”. Dance Studios are the ones that set up bronze, silver, and gold levels. Other countries do not have that. They also pushed the “American” style because it was easier and better for social dancing. The rest of the world does what we call international style. What iall these other categories do is water down our talent.

    In the late 80’s the American amateur champions moved to Munich and they were not the best couple in the Dance Club they joined. And the club they were in was only one of 7 in Munich. They did not compete much in Germany because they were always at or near the bottom. (They did get better.)

    In Germany you start out in the D class. After beating so many people and placing in the top 6 so many times, you advance to the C Class. Up to the A class. When you hit the A class you have to beat something like 210 people, and place in the top three 10 times to move to the Sonder (I call Super) class.

    The Germans have small competitions hosted by clubs. Our club may hold a D and C class Standard and Latin (Adult) or four events on a Saturday or Sunday. Since there are so many clubs there was a lot of opportunity to compete within driving range. I did 84 competitions in a little over 6 years. Here you have to fly and there are not very many opportunities in a year. It is too expensive.

    We have a long way to go before we can generate really good Ballroom Amateur Dancers. We have a bad system here.

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