USA DANCE HISTORY
USA Dance Celebrated our 50th Anniversary in 2015 – Read below and then read more about our organization’s history and growth.
Purpose and Early Years
USA Dance, Inc. was organized in 1965 under the name of United States Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association, Inc., also known nationwide as USABDA to promote the acceptance of ballroom dancing into the Olympics. In January 2005 a corporate resolution was filed with the state of Virginia changing the name to USA Dance, Inc.
In 1965 during the organization stage of USA Dance, the late Normand Martin, a leading social and competitive dancer and ballroom dance champion, organized a group of interested dancers to petition the Olympic Committee for inclusion of Ballroom Dancing into the Olympics. Those early efforts to get into the Olympics failed but in developing the bylaws, it was realized that the dance world of the American dancer went far past accommodating the “International Style” competitors who were interested in the Olympics. As the founders worked on defining the dancing guidelines and needs to be considered in developing the Bylaws, the American Style competitor and a vast number of serious and dedicated Social Dancers suddenly came into view.
The resultant Bylaws of USA Dance addressed four very important areas of association – the International Style competitors, the American Style competitors, the Social dancers, and the Youth and College dancers. Those early-on plans of USA Dance, while helping the competitors to compete nationally and internationally, also helped set the stage for the availability of floors, music and venue for the Social dancers which then were and still are, the backbone and strength of USA Dance.
Becomes a National Organization
During its early years USA Dance consisted primarily of a small number of members in the greater New York area, a few in the Washington, DC section of the country, plus a small number on the West Coast. In 1978 the Mid-Eastern Chapter was formed and actions were initiated to take USA Dance into other parts of the country and to commence creating a national organization. National elections were held in 1979 and the next few years saw the beginning of the present organization, with chapters being formed in several states.
During the 1980s efforts were made to bring all other amateur ballroom dance organizations into USA Dance. In 1985 USA Dance reorganized and was granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. New Bylaws were formulated providing for a national organization with a regional and chapter structure.
In 1987, a unification election was held that brought all amateurs into one national organization which then was recognized by the international world governing body, now known as the International DanceSport Federation (IDSF). Since then USA Dance has functioned as the National Governing Body for all forms of amateur ballroom dancing in the United States.
Activities and Growth
Since the 1985 reorganization USA Dance focused on promoting the growth of all styles and forms of ballroom dancing, both competitive and recreational social dancing. This included a program to establish a network of chapters in each state. These efforts were very successful with major growth each year in the number of dancers, chapters and related activities such as competitions, workshops and social dances. Much volunteer labor and resources were devoted to promoting ballroom dance and DanceSport in colleges and secondary schools, a long term project that will extend over many years.
USA Dance Inc organizes and supports educational programs among the public about the healthful aspects of recreational ballroom dancing and Dancesport, the competitive form of ballroom dancing. These programs emphasize the physical, mental and social benefits of dancing, and include the expansion of dancing skills among those of all ages and capabilities.
Annually, USA Dance Inc conducts national, regional and local DanceSport Championships. National DanceSport Champions are selected and USA Dance helps to finance their participation in the IDSF World DanceSport Championships. United States representatives also are sent to the World Games, which are held for Olympic recognized sports that are not yet in the Olympic Program.
Journey Into The Olympics
The last few years produced significant progress in DanceSport’s journey into the Olympics. In 1997 the IDSF was granted full recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the worldwide governing body for DanceSport. Then in 1999, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) granted Affiliate membership to USA Dance Inc.
The next step in USA Dance’s journey into the Olympics will be for the IOC to grant Program Status to DanceSport. That’s when DanceSport will be added to the Olympic Program. It is our hope that this will occur soon.
Focus of Current Activities
USA Dance Inc continues efforts to gain full status for DanceSport as an Olympic Program Sport and also to prepare for that day will continue. However, the main focus of USA Dance’s current activities is on actions to enable members to have fun dancing, achieve their dance goals and to grow the sport, regardless of what may happen some day regarding the Olympics.
In 1999 a separate Social Division was established to promote and guide the growth of social ballroom dancing in the United States. The goal is to promote social dancing as a healthful lifetime recreational activity, suitable for families and for those who are so inclined a progression to competitions encouraged.
Also in 1999, the Youth College Network was restructured and the staff of volunteers was greatly expanded to provide a promotional and management organization that will be capable of meeting the immense challenge of taking social ballroom dancing and DanceSport into every college and secondary school in this nation. That is a major goal for USA Dance volunteers in the next decade. It is the foundation of USA Dance’s program to create here in the United States a pool of world class DanceSport Athletes that will dominate the international world of dance in the years ahead.
In summary, USA Dance developed into a nationwide nonprofit organization of thousands of volunteers who love ballroom dancing and appreciate the excitement and romance, as well as the social and health benefits, that ballroom dancing brings into their lives.
At grass roots level in communities, colleges and secondary schools all over the country, USA Dance volunteers provides opportunities for the public to engage in affordable social ballroom dancing and DanceSport. Beginners are welcomed, helped to get started and then assisted in achieving their goals. USA Dance’s goal is for everyone to dance.