Ballroom Dance > Anyone know status of B'room dancing as an Olympic sport?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by jxntwinkletoes, Aug 17, 2004.

  1. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    And you're saying you actually want your dancing to be associated with that? Not me, thanks!

    Seriously, it occurs to me that ballroom is perhaps better off as an activity for people who are at least somewhat physically active to participate in, than it would be as primarily something for couch potatos to watch on television.
  2. robin

    robin New Member

    There are a few factors why this may actually be the case:

    1) the olympics generally allow only one team from each country in an event. In individual events maybe up to three competitors. The Blackpool pro-ballroom final had 4 english couples in them, at least one of them would not be allowed to compete in the olympics. Chances are that for a new sport, at most 2, probably one couple per country would be allowed

    2) the olympics are strict about nationality, mixed nationality teams are not allowed in any events as far as i know. A lot of, if not most, dancesport couples, particularly in the latin, are of mixed nationality. Bryan and Carmen certainly couldn't compete for example.

    Anyway, the benefit would be mainly to bring dancing into the public eye, rather than creating an ultimate dancesport competition. I could imagine dancing as a demonstration event if the olympics were to be held in London in 2012, which i think would be great for exposure of the sport.

    Besides, the various protests and controversies in a wide variety of sports at the olympics have probably shown that we're too hard on dancing in assuming it's all corrupt while the other events are all clean... ;).
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Exactly my thought, robin. I mean, nobody thinks of the Olympics as the definitive basketball competition, for example. Yet basketball is an Olympic sport. So why the uproar over ballroom dance? Couldn't the scenario be similar? *shrug*

    And, from the perspective of an American, if ballroom were an Olympic sport, perhaps (possibly not, but maybe) US governmental and non-govermental organizations would spend more time and resources on the sport. That can't be bad, can it?
  4. DancePoet

    DancePoet Well-Known Member

    If ice dancing can be a sport in the Olympics, why not Dance Sports!

    And if folks want golf, karate, tug-of-war, and skydiving, too, why the heck not?

    I wonder what the IOC uses as their criteria for entry as an Olympic event?
  5. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    All this other junk is gonna make the Olympics about 2 months long.
  6. Angelo

    Angelo Member

    The Blackppol pro ballroom had four english couples but only two placed in the top three spots (which would be the medal spots for the olympics). I understand that some people may be left out at some times, but not everyone can go. Each participating nation will presumably send their best team. Since we have no idea what could constitute a team, I think any definitive statements like the one Chris made are inaccurate.

    I don't know what the nationality rules are for the olympics, but if they are as strict as you say, then this may indeed prevent some of the best couples from competeing. I have however seen in the past week a russian who competes for Spain and a number of Americans whio compete on the Greek national baseball team, so there might be some felixibitity in the rules, but like I said I don't know what the rules are.

    While this is an interesting topic for discussion , I still would rather see dancesport left out of the olympics as I think it has too many sports included already
  7. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Somewhere you started assuming that I was talking only about the Olympic equivelent to a final round, when in fact I'm talking about the whole competition as it would be held there. You may tend to see the best on TV, but there are a lot of 2nd rate (or more accurately, true hobbyist/amateur) entrants from non-powerhouse countries in existing events, and there would be in ballroom too. Even more so if the numbers of top people who can go are limited either due to being clustered in a handfull of countries, or by being mixed nationality partnerships.

    So there really would be a mix of abilities, and unlike in some other sports you probably wouldn't easily see this in the material the couples were dancing - expect to see fairly similar routines as in existing dancesport competitions, differing primarily in quality of execution. But if compulsory figures were a part of it, and espeically if they were reshown on TV with commentary, people would start to see the real meaningfull differences between the blackpool semifinalist quality dancers, and everybody else. It's possible that having these difference highlighted for all to see would start to change the priorities of the lesser dancers to putting less emphasis on immitating the routines and absolute movement of the top competitors and towards putting more emphasis on matching their quality.
  8. tbrennen

    tbrennen Member

    A couple of points: Televised DanceSport and DanceSport in the Olympics

    There have been several US-based attempts to televise DanceSport in the US.

    The first and by far the most successful (watched by many, many viewers) was the Championship Ballroom Dancing produced by the Boston PBS station (WGBH?) with Aida Moreno as the producer. She had a big success on her hands and reruns of those shows are still shown on PBS stations. Ask anyone about competitive ballroom and many, if not most, will respond with something like, "oh, I saw that on PBS!" Unfortunately, Aida made the decision that viewers were more interested in the show stuff than in the competitive stuff and more and more of the show-type events were highlighted. This culminated in the last production she did having NO competitive events at all except for the show dance competitions for the Standard and, I think, the Latin. The televised production was the worst I had ever seen for this show. I talked with Aida around that time and she was convinced that this was what the public wanted. I believe she was wrong. Couple this with the fact that she was increasingly distracted by the incredible success of another show she was producing at the time (Antiques Roadshow) and she probably starting losing interest. Apparently, she was unwilling or WGBH was unwilling to fund the show to the extent they had been before and no one (including the Ohio Star Ball organizer) was able or willing to come up with the shortfall. Championship Ballroom Dancing died.

    The second most successful show as the NBC production of an international IDSF event produced by IMG (an international sports promotion group) and showing International Latin and Standard competition with some of the best amateur competitors in the world. The show was promoted moderately well in the weeks leading up to the actual televised time and the ratings were great. Everyone was encouraged.

    The following events over the next one to two years that were produced by IMG here in the US were not so successful. They were shown on ESPN and I think another cable channel. However, these shows were NOT well promoted on those networks prior to the actual showing and the ratings were not very good. Everyone got discouraged.

    There was also some heavy taping of the Heritage one (maybe two?) years and that footage was shown in a whole series of shows on a cable channel (Goodlife TV? - I didn't get the channel so I am not sure). Those shows were shown for several years but I don't know the financial results.

    As noted in previous posts, an attempt was made by the IDSF to make DanceSport more TV friendly by including some individually judged portions of the competition. I don't know how the competitors who actually competed in those events felt but the audience loved it. They got to "know" the couples better. However, this did not affect the success of the comps on TV.

    All the above ties into the Olympics. There is no way that a sport is going to get into the Summer Olympics without some surety on the part of the IOC that that sport is going to generate advertising dollars. If DanceSport was generating big advertising dollars on TV, DanceSport, one way or another, would become an Olympic event sport. Except for Germany (maybe others, too), DanceSport on TV is just not all that successful financially.

    As far as DanceSport in the Olympics, the second major stumbling block is the judging. Having the judges also coach is a major problem and a total non-starter. The can be worked around by using judges similar to those in ice skating competition but, again as noted in previous posts, the extremely subjective nature of DanceSport adjudication stands in the way. An idea discussed in recent posts suggest that the competitors be judged by the ability of the couples to do certain figures. Whether or not you agree with this, almost no public viewer of the event is going to understand why the judges would be marking one way or another. (Remember that by far the most popular couple in Championships Ballroom Dancing was Pierre and Mireille. They weren't the best dancers but they were the best performers and the audience loved them.)

    OK, those are two barriors for DanceSport in the Olympics. On the other side, the 2008 Olympics are in Beijing. China is making a major push into DanceSport right now and, by looking at the Blackpool results, you can see that they are doing pretty well. There is a tremendous amount of interest in DanceSport in China. If the Chinese government wanted to push, they could probably force DanceSport into the 2008 games. The host country does have influence on this kind of stuff. However, this is unlikely.

    I do believe that having DanceSport in the Olympics would be very, very good for the sport. Rules would probably become more consistent, more people would start dancing, and the judging would probably start moving on the road to a fairer, more reliable system.
  9. cy_phi

    cy_phi Member

    tbrennen, thank you for validating some of my points, especially on judging, I made earlier in this topic.

    In order for Dancesport to succeed in the Olympics or just as Dancesport, judges should only judge for living; coaches should only coach for a living. You don't see Bela Karoly judging a gymnastics comp in addition to coaching the US team. Nor do you see Pat Riley as a referee in a game with the team he coaches. It just doesn't happen. Integrity in any sport is of the utmost importance. Just take a look at the history of baseball and other pro sports.

    I realize, as most of us do, that judges make a living judging and coaching, and people do have a right to make living. However, something has to change in order for Dancesport to evolve in the public eye. Therein lies the solution; in order for judges to make a living solely judging dance comps, TV ad revenue has to compensate them adequately that way it ensures that they do not have to coach. However, TV revenue can be raised only when Dancesport events appear on TV, which hardly exists today.

    For the Dancesport on TV, I bought up a similar topic before:
  10. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for providing this contextualizing info Turttle, much appreciated! :D
  11. robin

    robin New Member

    How exactly would it work if judges were only judging?

    Presumably we would still need people with sufficient expertise, so I would imagine all the judges would have to have been top dancers or coaches at some point in their lives before becoming "professional judges". All these people *love* dancing and want to teach, even if they don't need the money. Can you really imagine the someone like the Hiltons just doing nothing all year apart from judging a few competitions???

    As for having people who are just judges, having never been competitors or coaches: Dancing is not like football or baseball where a judge needs to learn the rules and apply them. Judges in dancesport have to evaluate the performance of the competitors directly.

    I would much rather have a judge who has coached an opposing couple than a judge who has learnt about dancing from a book, videos or lectures, rather than having competed and coached himself.

    I think the bias in dancing competitions is overestimated by many competitors. I've never felt "cheated" due to biased judging. I think the idea of having a committee of buerocrats juding each dancers routine based on a start value and deducations being applied for particular errors like in gymnastics and diving is much more frightening than the possibility of one or two biased judges in a panel of 9 or even more....
  12. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    This really is the crux of the matter robin... the people best qualified to teach are also those best qualified to teach; and to limit them from doing one or the either actually deprives the ballroom community of (at least an element of) this expertise.
  13. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    You're welcome!

    Basketball already gets more air time per season than probably the whole summer and winter Olympics put together. Any pressure from the Olympics to change is much smaller than the pressures that come from within the NBA itself.

    I guess it depends on whether one thinks governmental involvement is good or bad. Me, I think any time the government gets involved, things tend to go downhill, so I personally think that would be bad - but I can see how others might differ on that.
  14. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Especially when the judges don't seem to be able to do basic arithmetic, as seems to have just happened in the men's gymnastics.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    When I saw that news item, I thought about this thread. Apparently what happened is that the judges gave the South Korean gymnast a starting score of 9.9 for his routine's difficulty, versus what was decided later should have been a 10.0. Since the men's gymnastics competition was the closest in history, that 0.10 of a point completely changed the results. The American got gold, when he would have gotten silver. And the two South Koreans came in silver and bronze, rather than gold and bronze. How embarrassing. Three judges were suspended. But, so far, the officials are refusing to change the result.

    Anyway. Back to ballroom dance. I assume that a similar system of handicapping routines based on difficulty level would be put in place, right? Would such a system make sense?

    And, just as an aside, if ballroom routines were done with several couples on the floor simultaneously (which I think they should) , what role would/should floorcraft play in the scoring? Conversely, if couples were judged individually as in figure skating, how could the results be representative of a couple's dancing ability while omitting something as important as floorcraft? :?
  16. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    Actually, it wasn't decided later - supposedly it's objective, and the same routine was assigned a difficulty of 10 in the previous two rounds of the competition - so why reduce it in the final?

    I suspect if the chairman of the judging panel had been a French judge favoring a Russian competitor, rather than a U.S. judge favoring a U.S. competitor, we'd be hearing much more about it in the press.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Ahh. The plot thickens ...
  18. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    And herein lies the focus of my disagreement over subjective sports being in the Olympics...and hence my rather unpopular opinion that Ballroom/Dancesport has no place in the Olympics either.

    I don't agree that the judging/coaching predicament is the heart of the issue, but the fact that the process of subjective scoring itself is inherinetly flawed.
  19. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I wouldn't call that an unpopular position - of people who I've heard really look at the issue in depth, the majority seem to conclude either that dancing doesn't belong in the olympics, or that the olympics would be bad for dancing. Those who've really looked at the issues and still support it tend to be USABDA or IDSF officers. Of course that's just the view from my corner of the world.
  20. tasche

    tasche New Member

    Well just bc the start vlaue could have been .1 higher doesn't necessarily mean that that his score for that event would automatically been .1 higher

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