The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF) have initiated conversations regarding the transfer of governance of Para dance sport.
Para dance is one of nine international Para sports currently under the governance of the IPC – the so-called World Para Sports. Para dance sport has been governed by the IPC since 1998 and is practiced in more than 30 countries. At the last World Championships in Bonn, Germany in 2019, 225 athletes (124 women and 101 men) from 26 countries competed across 21 medal events. The next World Championships are set to take place in Ulsan, South Korea from 26 to 28 November 2021.
The WDSF and IPC have agreed on a process involving a series of steps to be taken, with the aim of completing the transfer of governance of Para dance sport to the WDSF by early 2022. While the WDSF Governing Board has unanimously supported the in-principle inclusion of Para dance sport, negotiations remain ongoing, with final approval subject to a vote by the full WDSF membership of any agreement at its Annual or an Extra-ordinary General Meeting.
IPC President Andrew Parsons said: “We look forward to welcoming the World DanceSport Federation into the Paralympic Movement, as we believe the WDSF to be the ideal home for Para dance sport to grow and to thrive.
“At the last IPC General Assembly in 2019, the IPC published Governance Review proposals that included a managed exit process for World Para Sports. Our work together with the WDSF marks an important step in this process, which has received strong support from our membership.”
WDSF President Shawn Tay said: “The vision of the WDSF is to make DanceSport even more global, more ageless, more accessible, more inclusive and more relevant to all. We want to further develop Para dance sport to reach its fullest potential, and we look forward to welcoming the Para dance sport community to our federation, subject to the approval of our Annual General Meeting.”
Camila Rodrigues, World Para Dance Sport Manager, said: “This is one of the most important announcements in the history of our sport. DanceSport is unique and is a common passion we share with the WDSF. In many countries, this integration is already a reality for some our members. If the transfer of governance is approved, we will continue to work with the IPC and WDSF to help bring about a smooth and successful transition.”
Jeffrey van Meerkerk, Chair of the WDSF Working Group for the Inclusion of Para dance sport, said: “Everybody is capable of moving to music. DanceSport unites and transcends the barriers of physical abilities. Should the transfer of governance be approved, we can build upon the successful collaboration we see in several countries already today.
“Both WDSF and IPC will work closely together with the respective WDSF National Member Bodies and the National Paralympic Committees to establish a platform for successful collaboration. This approach will enable parties to agree to a best suitable Para dance sport development structure at country level. In partnership with the IPC, we would seek to leverage the strength of our global reach and help Para dance sport grow and develop worldwide. The WDSF would also aim for the inclusion of Para dance sport in the 2028 Paralympic Games.”