Author: USA Dance, Inc.

The world of DanceSport (competitive ballroom dance) sure can be hard to keep track of. Sometimes all the acronyms and different synonymous sounding terms make it difficult hard to understand.

Let's start with a brief definition of some of the key organizations affecting dance policy in the US and around the world.

• USA Dance: Formerly known as US Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association (USABDA). This non-profit corporation is recognized as the National Governing Body of DanceSport by the IDSF, the US Olympic Committee USOC and the US Congress. As such, USA Dance functions as the National Federation that runs the National Championship that determines the US representatives to IDSF World Championships. And of course this is the national organization that governs our local chapter.

• International DanceSport Federation (IDSF): This group runs the Amateur World DanceSport Championships along with other events. They govern 84 member federations and are recognized by the International Olympic Committee

• National Dance Council of America (NDCA): This non-profit corporation is a professional organization comprised of member organizations, not individuals. They are recognized by the WDDSC. They presume responsibility for assigning US titles. However the WDDSC assumes no responsibility for Amateur events and thus extends no such authority to the NDCA.

• World Dance Council (WDC) formerly known as the World Dance and DanceSport Council (WDDSC): This group runs the Professional World DanceSport Championships.

• American Ballroom Company (ABC): This for-profit corporation was assigned, by the NDCA, the rights to hold a variety of US titles in conjunction with running the US DanceSport Championships

There are also a few dance-style terms that are helpful to keep track of.

• Smooth = American Style form of dancing that entails: Fox Trot, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Waltz. This style is also sometimesreferred

to as "ballroom" too.

• Rhythm = American Style of dancing that entails: Swing, Rumba, Bolero, Mambo and Cha Cha. Of course there are several other dances that generally fall in this category but are not part of the competitive set. These include: Salsa and Merengue.

• Latin = International Style of dancing that entails: Cha Cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive

• Standard = International Style of dancing that entails: Fox Trot, Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep

Of course there are a variety of teaching organizations and numerous other competition organizers that operate un-sanctioned by the NDCA and USA Dance. In addition there are a multitude of organizations focusing on select styles of dance such as Argentine Tango, West Coast Swing or Salsa that may or may not belong to a larger sanctioning body.

Another point of confusion stems from the specific names of the titles. For example all of these titles would be presumed to mean the same thing by many competitors and the general public:

• US National DanceSport Latin Champion

• US National Latin DanceSport Champion

• National Latin DanceSport Champion

• US Latin DanceSport Champion

• US National Dance Latin Champion

• US National Latin Dance Champion

• National Latin Dance Champion

• US Latin Dance Champion

When you add the distinction of "professional" or "amateur" the name variations become boundless. If a trademark is issued for any one of these, or some other variation, what happens to the other names? Of course this example also holds, and compounds, for the usage of additional terms like: "World", "Global", and "International".

Our advice… look beyond the name. Ask yourself if the organization in question meets certain criteria. Do they have a regional or state structure? Is there sanctioning or affiliation with a larger body or is the scope of the title something invented in a board room?

And finally – if you win a national title does it stop there – or does it lead you to an international/world championship?

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