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USA Dance

See also: Categories: Organizations

Category: Organizations
Officially Founded: 1929
Headquarters: United Kingdom
President: Ken Richards - since January 2020


USA Dance - formerly the United States Amateur Ballroom Dance Association (USABDA), is the official national governing body for DanceSport (the competitive version of ballroom dancing) in the United States. USA Dance is a member of World DanceSport Federation (WDSF).


It is recognized as such by the World DanceSport Federation, the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), and the Amateur Sports Act of the United States Congress. In addition to promoting ballroom dancing as a recreational activity, USA Dance also promotes DanceSport nationally and internationally.

USA Dance organizes and hosts the annual USA Dance National DanceSport Championships which awards United States National titles and the opportunity to represent the U.S. at the WDSF World Championships. The 2010 championships were held in Los Angeles, CA and the 2011 championships will be held in Baltimore, MD. The organization has approximately 25,000 paying members and claims a "connection and outreach" to an estimated 200,000 dancers.


Purpose and Early Years

USA Dance, Inc. was organized in 1965 under the name of United States Amateur Ballroom Dance Association, Inc., also known nationwide as USABDA to promote the acceptance of ballroom dancing into the Olympics. In January 2005 a corporate resolution was filed with the state of Virginia changing the name to USA Dance, Inc.

In 1965 during the organization stage of USA Dance, the late Normand Martin, a leading social and competitive dancer and ballroom dance champion, organized a group of interested dancers to petition the Olympic Committee for inclusion of Ballroom Dancing into the Olympics. Those early efforts to get into the Olympics failed but in developing the bylaws, it was realized that the dance world of the American dancer went far past accommodating the "International Style" competitors who were interested in the Olympics. As the founders worked on defining the dancing guidelines and needs to be considered in developing the Bylaws, the American Style competitor and a vast number of serious and dedicated Social Dancers suddenly came into view.

The resultant Bylaws of USA Dance addressed four very important areas of association – the International Style competitors, the American Style competitors, the Social dancers, and the Youth and College dancers. Those early-on plans of USA Dance, while helping the competitors to compete nationally and internationally, also helped set the stage for the availability of floors, music and venue for the Social dancers which then were and still are, the backbone and strength of USA Dance.

Becomes a National Organization

During its early years USA Dance consisted primarily of a small number of members in the greater New York area, a few in the Washington, DC section of the country, plus a small number on the West Coast. In 1978 the Mid-Eastern Chapter was formed and actions were initiated to take USA Dance into other parts of the country and to commence creating a national organization. National elections were held in 1979 and the next few years saw the beginning of the present organization, with chapters being formed in several states.

During the 1980s efforts were made to bring all other amateur ballroom dance organizations into USA Dance. In 1985 USA Dance reorganized and was granted tax-exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service. New Bylaws were formulated providing for a national organization with a regional and chapter structure.

In 1987, a unification election was held that brought all amateurs into one national organization which then was recognized by the international world governing body, now known as the World DanceSport Federation. Since then USA Dance has functioned as the National Governing Body for all forms of amateur ballroom dancing in the United States.

Activities and Growth

Since the 1985 reorganization USA Dance focused on promoting the growth of all styles and forms of ballroom dancing, both competitive and recreational social dancing. This included a program to establish a network of chapters in each state. These efforts were very successful with major growth each year in the number of dancers, chapters and related activities such as competitions, workshops and social dances. Much volunteer labor and resources were devoted to promoting ballroom dance and DanceSport in colleges and secondary schools, a long term project that will extend over many years.

USA Dance Inc organizes and supports educational programs among the public about the healthful aspects of recreational ballroom dancing and Dancesport, the competitive form of ballroom dancing. These programs emphasize the physical, mental and social benefits of dancing, and include the expansion of dancing skills among those of all ages and capabilities.

Annually, USA Dance Inc conducts national, regional and local DanceSport Championships. National DanceSport Champions are selected and USA Dance helps to finance their participation in the IDSF World DanceSport Championships. United States representatives also are sent to the World DanceSport Games, which are held for Olympic recognized sports that are not yet in the Olympic Program.


In summary, USA Dance developed into a nationwide nonprofit organization of thousands of volunteers who love ballroom dancing and appreciate the excitement and romance, as well as the social and health benefits, that ballroom dancing brings into their lives.

At grass roots level in communities, colleges and secondary schools all over the country, USA Dance volunteers provides opportunities for the public to engage in affordable social ballroom dancing and DanceSport. Beginners are welcomed, helped to get started and then assisted in achieving their goals. USA Dance's goal is for everyone to dance.

Educational and Charitable Mission:

In furtherance of its educational and charitable purposes, USA DANCE INC promotes ballroom dancing as a recognized sport and a recreational activity, providing opportunities to all Americans. Objectives include:

1) Educating the general public on how ballroom dancing, as a sport or activity, can greatly enhance the physical and mental well-being and health of its participants, regardless of age, ability or interest level;

2) Also educating the general public about the social benefits of participating in organized dance activities;

3) Fostering and promoting a willingness and spirit of universal cooperation among co-existing dance, sports and social organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, businesses, teaching and competing professionals and amateurs, and other interest groups to sustain a high level of interest and participation in ballroom and latin dancing;

4) Providing a means of information exchange between the various dance related organizations and promoting a healthy and productive interaction between dancers of all organizations;

5) Eliminating restrictive conditions and policies that would prohibit or discourage participation in dance;

6) Promoting, guiding and supporting social and competitive ballroom dance programs at the collegiate and K-12 levels throughout the nation; and,

7) Fostering and helping sustain purposeful USA Dance chapters throughout the United States in all 50 states.

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