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President’s Message – WDO

By AD Staff
Staff Author

Congratulations to athletes who competed at the USA Dance National Ballroom DanceSport Championships this year and a special thank you to the coaches, parents, studio owners, volunteers, and officials who invest time and energy into making the event a great success for the athletes, year in and year out. As we kick off our 2023-2024 season and beyond, we have a number of long-term strategic initiatives to announce that will reshape our organization by strengthening existing relationships and creating new ones all in service to our core mission to improve the quality and quantity of dance in the United States. This announcement, which was made this weekend, marks the first of several important announcements we will have for you in the coming weeks and months. 

After discussions with top officials in both organizations, dating back to 2021, the USA Dance Board of Directors voted unanimously, with one abstention, to become a National Organization for the United States with the World Dance Organization (WDO). This is in addition to our National Member Body status with the World DanceSport Federation – the main difference being that the WDO does not consider itself an International Governing Body for DanceSport – that right is held exclusively by the WDSF. We have no intention of severing ties with the WDSF – an organization we take great pride in being a member of.

You should know that we are not the first WDSF National Member Body to hold recognition from several international organizations. There are several National Member Bodies that are actually recognized by both the WDSF and the World Dance Council (WDC), and many others who are national member bodies of the International Dance Organization (IDO).

The Board has made this decision as part of our ongoing pursuit to strengthen existing efforts and open new opportunities to grow the Ballroom Division. It is our belief this affiliation will benefit all DanceSport Ballroom Division members – athletes, organizers, and officials as well as provide additional resources to support our Social Dance chapters.

Our affiliation with the WDO will work almost exactly the same as with the WDSF in that

  1. Our athletes & officials will be free to join one, both, or neither of the two international bodies and take part in their competitions including representing at WDO and WDSF World Championships. In fact, the WDO runs Junior 1 World Championships so it will now grow opportunities for our World Team to compete abroad.
  2. Our competition organizers will have the opportunity to bid for one, both, or neither events to be ran at their USA Dance-sanctioned competitions. This means one of our Open Championships may also have a WDO World Senior Championship and a WDSF Open event, etc. providing more opportunities for our athletes to compete.
  3. Our organizers will have the opportunity to hire judges from one, both, or neither of the international bodies to judge their competitions alongside USA Dance adjudicators.


The WDO does work a little differently than the WDSF in that athletes and adjudicators are able to join directly. However, those who join through our federation actually pay a lower membership fee to the WDO – so it’s a win-win situation where you get access to more events, more work, and for a lower WDO membership fee.

We have already seen the benefit of this affiliation, before it became officially announced, through several new adjudicator applications and the sanctioning application for a brand-new competition that will take place this October in Los Angeles, California organized by Karina Smirnoff, Denis Kutepov, and Renata Shvarts. Whether tied to our affiliation with WDO or through our internal development of our new competition circuit, we expect to have a number of competitions published on our competition calendar shortly. In fact, we have already sanctioned the Regional Championships for four of the six regions this year.

We look forward to building bridges and growing DanceSport in the United States with you in the coming years and look forward to making remaining exciting announcements in the coming weeks!


Ken Richards


USA Dance, Inc.


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