It is certainly understandable that different people would have different interests, and to some extent that is the beauty of Dancesport.  Different music, and cultures provide for different styles, moves, venues, and yes, even tastes.  Let’s look at Tennis; it is rigid in the courts used, hard-court, clay, or occasionally grass, but always the same size with specific specifications and rules.  The goal is simple.  You want to beat the other guy within the confines of the rules.  Tennis doesn’t dictate whether you serve underhanded, sideways, or overhead, only that you don’t cross the line.  You can hit from behind your back if you want to, as long as you score the point, then everybody gets impressed.  In Golf, the saying is, “You don’t have to paint a picture, you only have to put down the score.”  If you look at the recently released minutes from the highest of the high, the “WD&DSC” one might suspect that somebody is trying to micromanage the sport.

First, the continuing saga of what name to use is still being debated.  Agenda item 9.2 passed and says we should all, or at least the AGM use “Ballroom” instead of “Standard”?  Does anybody remember what happened to “Modern”?  Does anybody care?  Most people have to agree that the dances included in this category are anything but modern, but the inference that it can only be done in a Ballroom certainly won’t add to its popularity.  Most people don’t even want to go to a Ballroom, let alone want to have to find one in order to be able to enjoy their sport.

Second, Agenda Items 9.4, 9.4.1, and 9.4.2 did not pass yet, but says the rule, I mean guideline, for the elbow movement is BLAH,  BLAH  de BLAH.  Does this mean that Judges get to decide if you are dancing in accordance with the rules, not if you are dancing better than the other guy?  If this is true, then dancesport is really in trouble.  Not only does this look more and more like the movie, “Strictly Ballroom”, but also you have to wonder why they even need Judges, or what the qualifications for Judges should be.  We have heard in the past, as to the need for “top flight experienced competitive Judges”.  Their experience in competing is necessary to distinguish the true dancer.  Mere uninitiated, albeit learned, aficionados would never be able to ascertain whether someone’s “arm from shoulder to elbow is relatively inflexible and certainly should not change in height” da de da de da ….  I have to admit that one becomes curious to look at the other technical rules that exist for the Judges to consider.  However looking at how these minutes are written, one can probably assume that few people, if any, actually stay awake long enough to read all this stuff.  Certainly reading this “stuff” cannot be considered a requisite to being a Judge.  However not following the “rules” probably will disqualify you from being considered in the future and that is really scary.  The other scary part is that you cannot tell by reading this “stuff” if the 9.4.2 did not pass because of the substance or because it was only a guideline and not a rule.

Next, Agenda Item 9.5 proposes to add the Pivots (canter timing, we assume) to the Viennese Waltz.  This rule, to date, fell to defeat, but we can assume it will come back.  While this will undoubtedly move VW to the top of the hit parade of dances, one has to question why only one step.  I remember hearing once, a long time ago, that the Viennese Waltz was like the compulsories in Ice Skating.  Necessary to compare technique, with all the competitors doing the basics, so as to be able to ascertain technical expertise, and not just fluff, and glitter.  I remember thinking then, how clever it was to include it as part of the series of dances.  After all, the compulsories never warranted more than 15 or 20 seconds on Wild World of Sports.  Politics being what it is, one needs to ask, who benefits?  Certainly it is not easier or more fun for the audience.  The audience is still trying to figure out how to do the Fleckerals, and not teeter and kill your partner.  Or trying to figure out how exactly they cut the room to pick up on the other side and not lose their place.  Don’t they look like they are at a Pit Stop in a big race?  They sit around in the middle doing all that spinning stuff, and then off they go again.  How smoothly they get back on the track should qualify for points in my book.  Guess they won’t invite me.  At any rate, if making the dance more fun for the audience is the goal, open the floodgates.  Just think of the collisions possible with new choreography.  Then the dance will be more like Figure 8 Racing than Grand Prix.

Good stuff, like who won what awards, in Agenda Item 8 was left out.  It was received.  What does that mean?  Tell me names, and what they got the award for.  This award is presented to the Judge who saw the most elbows move, and this award is for the most toe releases discovered.  Seriously, Americans in particular want to know names.  If one of our own has qualified for an award, we want to let them know we are happy too.  By the way, you can see that 6.2, 6.2.1, 10.1, 10.2, and 12 all were congratulatory.  So time spent self-congratulating is certainly warranted in the minutes.  What is the rest of the story?  Just try to get through the Executive Board meeting minutes yourself.  I am too tired to read the rest.  Maybe, that is what they are hoping for.

Michael S. Reichenbach

Published in:

Dance Week Magazine

2709 Medical Office Place

Goldsboro, NC 27534

Vol. XXVIII,  No. 15

April 11, 2003

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