It is nothing short of shifting paradigms. It is the most ambitious project ever taken on by the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF). Over the years to come, IDSF is to evolve into the World DanceSport Federation, the new governing body which unites all forms of dance practised as sport under a single umbrella.
During the 2007 IDSF Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the Presidium informed the delegates about the plans to restructure the world governing body for DanceSport. Exactly 50 years had passed since the IDSF predecessor organisation, the International Council of Amateur Dancers, was founded at the Wiesbaden home of German Champion Otto Teipel.
On the occasion of this anniversary, the IOC Honorary President for Life, HE Juan Antonio Samaranch, delivered the most appropriate address in Barcelona.
“The IDSF is an organisation which has reached its maturity. This requires changes. Criteria need to be updated and the challenges imposed by an increasing media society must be accepted,” Samaranch, who had accepted an appointment as the IDSF Ambassador at Large, told the delegates in attendance.
Since then IDSF worked incessantly on laying the groundwork to a comprehensive restructure, one capable of doing away with the factionalism in DanceSport – and one which allows to establish the new organisation as the cohesive force between the stakeholders in all sporting activities involving dance.
Important milestones have been reached. In December 2007, IDSF has entered into an agreement with the International Professional DanceSport Council (IPDSC). It provides for IDSF and IPDSC to coordinate dates and other matters pertaining to DanceSport competitions, and to work cooperatively in developing, implementing and enforcing competition, disciplinary and other rules.
IDSF President Carlos Freitag and Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee, have signed a formal cooperation agreement on 14 October 2008. Under the terms of this agreement, the two bodies pledge to jointly develop and promote Wheelchair DanceSport, and to work towards establishing a single international governing body for DanceSport.
On 7 December 2008, the United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC) joined IDSF as an Associate Member. The presidents of both organisations affixed their signatures to a contract which has IDSF recognise the UCWDC as the sole worldwide representative of Country Western Dance and Line Dance. UCWDC, on the other hand, pledges to support the fundamental principles and essential values of Olympism.
Based on these agreements and on longstanding alliances with other organisations – the World Rock ‘n’ Roll Confederation and the International Dance Organisation are IDSF Associate Members for several years already – DanceSport starts to redefine itself as an all-encompassing brand.
It will take much more time and effort before the new governing body finally emerges: other alliances need to be forged; democratic and federalist structures need to be developed; above all, paradigms need to be shifted and perspectives changed.