Even at a time when the young sport was still known as competitive ballroom dancing, it received wide acceptance across Europe, North America and in parts of Asia. More and more expert dancers sought the thrill of competition and public recognition for their skills. Contested by amateurs and professionals in separate championships, dancing drew capacity crowds and garnered good exposure on television. The first ever live transmission of a tournament dates back to the early sixties.
However, public perception as well as the dancers' self-interpretation maintained a certain ambiguity when it came to DanceSport's classification alongside all the other sports. Whether tails, gowns and high heels were considered incompatible with the notion of how athletes had to be dressed, or whether the ballrooms contrasted too much from the other sporting venues, fact is that certain idiosyncrasies kept competitive dance in a league of its own. Forever straddling performing arts and sports, it took its time to find the true identity. That different organisations overseeing the dance competitions held different views on the matter did certainly not help either.
With the WDSF predecessor organisation, the International Council of Amateur Dancers, opting to change its name to International DanceSport Federation (and later again to World DanceSport Federation), it affirmed its vision of dance as sport - in the true sense of the word - and set out to establish it within the international sporting movement.
Abandoning the previous policy of “splendid isolation,” DanceSport was soon able to join the world sports movement.
By 1992 WDSF had become a full member of the General Association of International Sports Federations (SportAccord), an umbrella organisation made up of more than 100 sports governing bodies. Soon thereafter, DanceSport was recognised by the International Olympic Committee and thus became eligible to be included in the Olympic Programme.
WDSF has set its aims high and campaigns persistently to bring DanceSport to the future Games of the Olympiad. Through its membership in the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations it is grouped together with the governing bodies of other sports seeking to achieve the same. When golf and rugby were voted for inclusion into the 2016 Olympics by the 121st IOC Session, reaching their ambitious goal was certainly postponed for the other candidates, but it also made a clear statement about the IOC reviewing the Olympic Programme periodically, in earnest and in a fair process.
Today, DanceSport and its governing body are firmly embedded in the structures that constitute world sports. The number of organisations and sporting events that WDSF and DanceSport are associated with has grown even further.