Growth in Interest
During the last few years there has been an explosive growth in the interest in ballroom dancing throughout the United States. All age groups are involved.
College Students Lead The Way
The number of colleges that have ballroom dance programs continues to grow in all regions of the country, and many college dance clubs hold classes for their members in both social ballroom dancing as well as in competitive dance, also known as DanceSport.
Colleges and universities also hold dance competitions where college students can compete against students from other colleges. These collegiate ballroom dance competitions are attended by cheering crowds of students and the noise levels are similar to those at football and basketball games.
USA Dance holds an annual national collegiate dance competition that attracts a thousand or more collegiate competitors from around the country.
Now Moving Into High Schools & Elementary Schools
USA Dance is now working aggressively to move this devotion to ballroom dance into our high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. USA Dance chapters across the country are working with K-12 schools to promote ballroom dance training for all school age youth. Much of this interest is being spurred by efforts to make school age youth more active and to fight childhood obesity.
Such efforts take the form not only of after school dance clubs and programs staffed by teachers, parents and/or dance instructors drawn from the local community or the closest USA Dance chapter, but also may include ballroom dancing in the Physical Education curriculum of a school. In some school districts, competitions are organized where children from a number of schools compete against each other, further serving to motivate the children and increase their level of interest in ballroom dancing.
Effects of Olympic Recognition
Enthusiasm for ballroom dance has always been strong with adults, but the interest among all age groups has increased dramatically during the last few years.
Much of this increased interest is focused on DanceSport, the competitive version of ballroom dancing. This is attributed to the recognition of USA Dance as the National Governing Body of DanceSport in the U.S. by the USOC, and the recognition of the World DanceSport Federation as the International Governing Body of DanceSport by the IOC.
USA Dance and its international body, the World DanceSport Federation, are working in concert to increase the interest and access to DanceSport events all over the world. Such programs as Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and other dance-related programs also help to keep ballroom dancing and DanceSport in the public eye both in the U.S. and abroad.
The image of ballroom dancers has changed. Not only is the general public now used to seeing competitive dancers in striking Latin costumes or in flowing ballgowns and white tie and tails, but thousands of informally dressed couples are seen dancing socially in gymnasiums, recreation centers, and similar locations in communities large and small around the country.
USA Dance’s emphasis is on providing affordable opportunities to learn and practice ballroom dancing and this is proving very popular with the public. Thousands of new dancers are adopting this healthful and enjoyable recreational and sport activity.