Are dancers, dance companies, and organizations doing enough to promote dancesport with our youth?  The AAU’s Junior Olympics included dancesport in its program for the first time.  What should have been a giant shout from all dancesport aficionados seemed hardly a whisper.  In fact the silence was so deafening, that some would think that since it wasn’t their idea, the AAU’s effort shouldn’t have succeeded.  Oh, I am sure that doesn’t apply to anyone you know, but the result is still the same.  An excellent opportunity to advertise, promote, and strengthen dancesport was largely wasted.


Politics of the sort not even imagined by our Congress, continues to get in the way of progress.  Dancers everywhere should realize and demand that the organizations that purport to promote dance are there for that purpose and that purpose only, and not the other way around.  More and more regulations, restrictions, and requirements do not necessarily promote or protect the dance industry any more than more and more laws by Congress promote more business, freedom or even security.  The desire to show the world that you represent the whole world of dance, should not exclude those that could care less about your politics.  Children don’t care, and their parents should not have to.  These children should be able to develop their love of dance and even the competition thereof without being pawns in somebody else’s game of power politics.


I am amongst those that feel that one of the problems with sport in the United States is its lust for stars.  If you are not a member of the varsity team, are you even allowed on the field to play?  Going to school in Europe, I can remember, a much greater percentage of the youth participating in more if not all sports in School, allowing a lot greater percentage of youth to become exposed and yes, even familiar with many sports, dance included.  This was done to some degree through private or non-profit sport’s clubs, but it was promulgated and encouraged through the schools and with the support of sports’ organizations.  This country’s desire for stars at such an early age does not bode well for a sport like dance that requires speed, but also balance, coordination, style, and timing.  All this with partners, or team mates, if you will, who will grow at a different rate and different time than their necessary partners.  It maybe should be no surprise, that in countries where so many more children are exposed to dancesport, more champions evolve or are developed.  More possibilities exist to put together a team when more people know about the game.


We have an opportunity to let the youth of this country see the athleticism, glamour, excitement, and yes, even the star quality of winning in Dancesport.  Don’t let it go to waste.  We all know many dancesport competitors that started as athletes in other sports, and somewhere along the line, they were introduced to dancesport.  The AAU’s Junior Olympic program may just be what the sport needs to get it to the next level in this country.  Call your dancesport organization and demand that they support the cause.  For once, forget the politics, and do what is right.  You know politicians won’t do it without a demand from their constituents.  Other prominent sport’s organizations use their stars to motivate, inspire and even teach the youth through camps, youth events, and clinics.


Many of the top dancesport competitors appreciate the applause, and admiration they receive from the younger dancers.  It is hard to believe they wouldn’t gladly devote time to further the development of the next generation of dancers.  Until dancesport can support clinics in every community or competition with our top stars, we should at least support and continue the efforts made by those that have worked so hard to provide this AAU venue.  Future stars may well come from remote areas, but not until they have been exposed, excited and even enthralled by the excitement of the competition.  Many people saw Dancesport in a new light or for the very first time, thanks to the efforts of the few that worked so hard to make this AAU event happen.  Congratulations, support and thanks should go to those that did the work.  Well done, and best of luck to all in your future endeavors.  More importantly, let’s all work to keep the momentum going, and support youth events, clinics, etc. so that next year the event will be exponentially larger.




Michael S. Reichenbach


Published in:


Dance Week Magazine


2709 Medical Office Place

Goldsboro, NC 27534


Vol. XXVII No. 34

August 23, 2002

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