Oh England ... 18/03/2011

Oh EnglandMembers will be aware of the ongoing discussions about the most famous English DanceSport competitions and IDSF. On this subject, as on some of the other subjects in DanceSport today, there are too many rumours and guesses, and only very few facts. I am writing this to provide you with some current as well as accurate information about IDSF and England.

First, despite the rumours that are being spread by people who proclaim 'Freedom to Dance' but are false friends to dancing, I emphasise what I have said before: the IDSF Presidium will not take action against athletes, adjudicators and other officials who participate in the “Top Three” competitions in England in 2011, namely, the Blackpool Festival, the International Ballroom Championships at the Royal Albert Hall, London; and the U.K. Open Championships at Bournemouth, England.

However, IDSF continues to discuss and plan the future of DanceSport with the progressive supporters of our sport in England. We have been consulting actively with different organisers of competitions in England and expect great progress for IDSF there in the near future.

After years of trying to work inside British Dance Council (BDC), our former IDSF Member, the English Amateur DanceSport Association, decided that it was not possible to continue with the present management of BDC, and resigned its membership in BDC. IDSF DanceSport in England has now been reorganised in a new IDSF Member Body, DanceSport England, under the presidency of the very able David Corfield, whom many of you know as a long time supporter of IDSF.

Because of increasing signs of change, on January 2011, IDSF Sports Director Marco Sietas and I travelled to London and, over several days, held a series of very productive meetings with a number of key people there.

We had meetings with well-known organisers of the most important English competitions, explaining very carefully what our actual situation is and what can happen, if in future they do not try to include into their events some competitions under the IDSF Rules and Regulations.

We also had a very important meeting with the person responsible for the production of the Blackpool Festival. We discussed how important Blackpool is for our athletes and that it would be a pity, if the growing number of IDSF athletes around the world could not enter that competition. We also advised that it would be very important for Blackpool and IDSF to be able to include an IDSF competition in the Blackpool Festival, in order to again bring all IDSF athletes back to Blackpool.

Finally, we held meetings with well-known English coaches and producers, reiterating the advice given by us previously, with very adequate notice, that in the future we will find it increasingly difficult to allow our athletes to attend unregistered English competitions for well-known sporting reasons.

England is one of the originators of competitive dancing. IDSF respects its long history of achievement and its contribution to our sport. Years ago, England dominated international DanceSport.

But many of the athletes and coaches who once trained there have since returned to their native countries and built powerful, successful DanceSport cultures, using the IDSF system. They have competed successfully against English athletes and the old English model of competition.

The most progressive DanceSport people in England look back at their past with pride, but are dissatisfied with England's position today. They realise that their country can only foster the growth DanceSport, and compete more successfully in international DanceSport, by joining the IDSF DanceSport system, keeping pace with the most modern and respected methods and systems.

We look forward to that day, too, and will continue our discussions and planning with those people who can best take English DanceSport into a successful future.

I hope that this gives you a clearer picture of the Presidium’s current policy and its work in England.

Carlos Freitag
IDSF President

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