By Taylor Wall
As I write this article for this month's issue of Sheer Dance, I am also watching the world's best athletes competing at the Rio Olympic Games. I watch the Final Five USA women's gymnastics team win the gold medal, and I am inspired to bring their showmanship and athleticism to my own dancing. I try to hold my breath along with the synchronized swimmers, and confirm that I would have drowned long before finishing a routine. I am also impressed by the runners and sprinters, who achieve more than I think I could ever, even if I trained for the rest of my life.
The Games are also on in the breakroom at work, where my co-workers keep asking me if ballroom dancing is in the Olympics. This leads to a number of discussions regarding the difference between the Olympics and the World Games, (where ballroom dancing has been included since 1997), and what the different styles are, (since only International Standard, International Latin, and Salsa are currently competed at the World Games). While I'm glad for the opportunity to share my love of ballroom dance with people who recognize the athleticism involved in the sport, I wish there were an easier answer so I could just say, "Yes, it airs on Saturday night and you should watch it."
Instead I have to tell them no, but that I am a member of USA Dance, a part of the World DanceSport Federation (an organization officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee), which strives for the day where ballroom dancers can compete at the Olympic Games. While I think this is many years off, especially for the American styles in which I personally compete, I love being able to say that I am a part of making that dream a reality.
In the meantime, I am happy to enjoy my dance journey and have fun along the way. In this issue, you will see articles and photos from our community members enjoying their own dance journeys, as they social dance with their ballroom dance friends. You will also see the University of Minnesota Ballroom Dance Club members prepare to return to classes and, perhaps more excitingly, weekly club lessons and competitive preparations. Perhaps it is these young dancers, hidden in our midst, who could one day represent the United States at the Olympic or World Games.