Country dance is a grassroots DanceSport. It is inclusive, casual, friendly, ... fun! It is accessible to people of all ages, abilities, sizes and shapes. It is as much about participating as it is about winning. It has a sense of community that is at least as strong as the competitive spirit. It is uniquely American, yet built on core values that are shared around the world.
Country dance is inseparable from the music that gives it form. Part of the appeal of country dancing is that it is linked to one of the most popular - and commercially successful - music genres in the world. Country dance can be traced back to rodeo socials in the west and barn dances in the east of the United States of America. These dances were definitely not choreographed for royalty or commissioned by the wealthy. They were shared in a sense of community and celebration by the working class.
Country western music is written in a wide variety of rhythms. While the signature dance is the Two-Step, several other dances borrow from other styles and fall under the "Country" brand as well. Up to eight dances are contested: Polka, Triple Two, Nightclub, Cha Cha Cha, Waltz, Two-Step, East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing. The choreography chosen for line dance competitions is based on these rhythms too.
In November 1989, a group of independent event organisers met in Grantville, USA, to form the United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC). These founding fathers shared the desire to unite under one set of competition rules and to establish firm standards for their country dance events. These organisers adopted the North American Rules, which were developed by many of the same people in 1988, and granted full sanctioning to events that committed to adhere these rules.
Every year, UCWDC sanctions World and European Championships as well as approximately 50 other events all around the world.