|Competitive ballroom dancing, as distinct from the
leisure activity, has recently been renamed throughout the world as "dancesport"
(the sport of competition dancing).
Dancesport has a highly organized international
competition structure and is conducted at the highest competitive level. Dancesport will
be included in the 2000 Olympics as a demonstration event.
Dancesport is categorized in a complex way.
There are four styles:
- Modern (or "Standard", as it is now known internationally), incorporating the waltz, tango, slow
foxtrot, quickstep and Viennese waltz;
- Latin American, incorporating the cha cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble
- New Vogue, sequence dances Of Australian origin set to various rhythms involving the
quick waltz, foxtrot, tango and march time. There are currently 14 New Vogue Championship
- Old Time Dancing, covers sequence dances mostly of English origin, some of which use
foot positions based on ballet. Not all the Old Time Dances are necessarily old at all,
but the style of dancing is based in the old time tradition, rather than in the modern
Competitions are divided into amateur and professional categories. Amateur dancers are
divided up as Juvenile (under 13 years), Junior (13 and under 16), Adult (16 year and
over) and Senior (over 35). Eligibility is determined generally by the age of the older
partner, and it is not uncommon to have further special age divisions such as under 11,
for the tiny tots, and youth categories of 16 to 19 years.
Within each of these age divisions, there are five recognized levels or grades ranging
from A (top grade) to E in each dance style. When an event is termed "open", it
is open to all competitors within the age group, irrespective of their grading.
Competitors can improve their grades in each style, e.g.: be a C grade in Modern and a B
grade in Latin American.
Stamina: dancesport competitors proceed through heats to semi-finals and finals. In
each championship section, competitors must perform five two minute dances a round. From
an athletic viewpoint, a 1986 study conducted by the University of Freiburg, Germany,
demonstrated that the muscle exertion (measured by the production of lactic acid) and
breathing-rates of competitors performing one competition dance of about two minutes were
equal to those of cyclists, swimmers and an Olympic 800 metre runner over the same period