Published: 31st January 2019
How about sports and dance combined? The unique art form of Dance Sport could soon be a part of the Special Olympics
Dance Sport includes traditional forms of ballroom dance like waltz, cha-cha, samba and folk dances from different countries
The brilliant artistry of dance combined with the athleticism of sports makes for quite a spectacle. But Dance Sport is more than just that. One of the latest categories to gain popularity in the field of international sport, Dance Sport is a great way to get people who are not particularly interested in traditional sports to participate in it competitively. Pierre Gider, Global Advisor for Dancing and Chair of Dance Sport, Special Olympics Resources Team is hoping that it will soon be recognised as an official sport at the Special Olympics.
“Everyone everywhere knows how to dance, but Dance Sport is where you can raise the level up to competition grade. There are different disciplines in it. The mother of Dance Sport is ballroom dance, which includes waltz, tango, cha-cha and samba. But we’ve also expanded it to include other forms like hip hop, street dance, modern contemporary and folk dances of different countries,” begins Gider.
Big step: Gider has been involved with Special Olympics for 13 years and has been instrumental in initiating and developing Dance as an official sport
In 2015, Dance Sport was first introduced in the Special Olympics as part of the demonstration sports in Los Angeles. A demonstration sport, unlike an official sport, is where you have to prove that it is a real sport and that you are able to provide infrastructure. “We have a plan for 2018-22. Within this frame, we hope to launch Dance Sport in about 24 different countries. India is one of them. Dancing, in general, is a very big part of the culture here in India. I experienced very motivated trainers as well as athletes. When we went through our curriculum, I just realised how much everyone loves to dance and how passionate they are about it,” says Gider.
So what exactly are the advantages? Gider explains, “First of all, Dance Sport gives you the chance to be included in any kind of social gathering. If there is music, you can just walk up to the dance floor and start dancing. Secondly, it is a very good exercise, even those who don’t like traditional sports, love to dance. Thirdly, you don’t need much infrastructure, you don’t need equipment, you don’t need a budget, you don’t need snow like winter sports.”
Reiterating the fact that it could be one of the easiest sports to train in, Gider says, “Everybody already knows about dance. It’s part of every culture. Dance Sport is just a little more elevated, a little more structured. We bring people who are working closely with children with intellectual disabilities and experts of Dance Sport to train the athletes.