Why Having Dance Sport At The Olympics is Not A Good Idea

Elena Anashina

I bet a lot of you will agree with me that, during the Olympics the whole world comes to a “stand still”. Even the most olympicly-ignorant people are practically dragged into the olympic hype, thanks to the powers of mass media. During that time, everyone comes together to cheer their favourite athlete (or, cheer the winning one, for that matter). Productivity usually drops, and focus goes into the games. Well, you know how it is.

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But, unfortunately, Summer Olympics in Rio didn’t show any Dance Sport… And maybe, it’s for the best!

Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

Trust Me, I Wanted To Be Part Of It.

So, before you think that I’m an “Ultimate Dance Sport Olympic Hater”, let me explain my thoughts. I remember the conversation I had with my parents, that in order to participate in the olympics, I am willing to stay in the Amateur category for as long it takes. Given, of course, that Dance Sport gets approved. I would fantasize seeing myself on the podium with a medal, and would imagine the amount of work I’d need to put in, in order to be on that pedestal. But my dream started fading away when I got older, and completely vanished when the world of dance sport was broken into two completely separate governing bodies. Some speculate that the separation was initiated by the hunger for power and money, since one federation was, apparently, getting more publicity than the other. But, I’ll just stick to believing in the “cover” version, which is: “Time had come where dancers have to choose between “Dance” and “Sport”.

Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

It Worked Before, and It Was Promising!

Personally, I think things looked way more organic before the split. WDSF (former IDSF) would only govern Amateur dancers, and WDC would only have Professionals. This set up made complete sense to me, as – Amateurs are young, full of health and energy. They are driven and inspired to push “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. And Professionals? They are well seasoned dancers, who with age and wisdom are rethinking basics; re-evaluating movement; analyzing, re-analyzing – recreating their Dance, from a form of “sport” to a form of “art”. Everything about that setup, in my opinion, perfectly resinated with the Olympic mindset, since athletes must be Amateur in order to participate. Yet, still… nothing in 2020.

Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

Olympic Standards, Rules… and Benefits?

Okay, how about we pretend that Dance Sport is already part of the Olympics. What are we getting?
ISU-like judging system (which is already in effect, also known as DanceSport Judging System 2.0), strict set of “elements” to be performed, strict doping policy, and a complete sports-like mindset. An amazingly large flow of youth into sport, and perhaps, a more thorough governmental involvement. Sponsorships from big companies, commercial deals and pretty much the “celebrity” status to all striving olympic “dancers”. Dancers will be considered athletes, and the “art” part of dance will probably be left in the shadows.

Or, would it?

So then, Professional category would still be present, yet, most likely, not as popular. With it’s artistic approach it will probably lose it’s value in the public eye, once it gets compared to the “Olympic” Dance Sport (oh, and compared it will be, let’s trust ourselves on that.) Competitions will have a huge emphasis on Amateur divisions, and not so big on Professional. For instance, look at the current popularity factor of WDSF’s AL vs. PD, where it is evident that Amateur League is so much more popular. Pro-Am will stay strong, as people just like to dance and compete, and, most of the time, could really care less if they are first or last, since dancing is all about participation anyways. Pros would do shows, and still get compared to the Amateurs. Coaches will fight over competing couples. Judges, who are coaches as well, will sabotage results, and still play their political games for the sake of personal benefit or the beneficial result of their couples.

Don’t deny. It’s all there. And, frankly… it’s all there NOW!

Elena Anashina
Elena Anashina

So, the verdict:
What is the point of changing anything if we have the perfect balance? Two federations, two styles of dance, two completely antagonizing words “Dance Sport” as a representation of our industry…

So, I guess it is where it needs to be then.


Author: Egor Shalvarov
Photography: Elena Anashina
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review