Dance turned into genuine sport at the beginning of the twentieth century, when French entrepreneur Camille de Rhynal and a group of superb dancers added the competitive to the social, and when they converted ballrooms into the venue for their contests.
The first Tango tournament with international participation took place in Nice, France, in 1907. Ballroom championships in Paris, Berlin and London were soon to follow. France, Germany and England continued to assume the lead in fostering the emergence of a sport that seemed to fit in perfectly with the roaring twenties.
An inaugural world championship truly deserving of such title was held in Bad Nauheim, Germany, in 1936. Couples from fifteen nations and three continents were involved. Even though World War II then brought most of the competitive dancing to a halt, a new sport was born. One that succeeded to keep in step with the rhythms of time.
The World DanceSport Federation coined the term "DanceSport" in the early 1980s. While the Sport in the composite aspires to be consistent with the generally accepted definitions, Dance is to remain the distinguishing artistic mark.
For some of the styles, DanceSport takes pride in upholding some of the traditions and panache of what was previously known as competitive ballroom dancing. But it has long abandoned the latter's narrow confines. Today, the most diverse dance styles that have adopted a sports-based culture, and that have established bona fide competition structures, fall under the genus name.
DanceSport has become an all-encompassing brand for an activity that is uniquely accessible and sociable, allowing participants to improve physical fitness and mental well-being, to interact, and to obtain results at all levels. Everybody is capable of moving to music. And dance transgresses all barriers of age, gender and culture.