What is WDSF and Who Can Participate?

By Rose-Ann Lynch
Managing Editor
Photo Courtesy of Carson Zullinger
WDSF events are open to all USA Dance competitive couples

What is WDSF?

WDSF is the world governing body for DanceSport.  USA Dance is the Recognized Sport Organization for DanceSport in the United States.  

Who can dance in a WDSF event hosted in the United States?

WDSF events are open to all WDSF members who are in good standing of WDSF, and who meet the age requirements to compete in a particular event.  These events are not limited to Championship-level dancers, but all dancers compete at the Open level; they are not limited to the Syllabus.  As an example, in 2020, the first WDSF World Smooth Championships were held in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was one Open event in the Adult age-category.  As a result, well over 60 United States Smooth couples, ages Adult to Senior IV, participated in this event, dancing their best Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Open routines.  It was an exciting time to be on the floor, and to see how many rounds each couple made it through.  In the end the first WDSF World Smooth Adult Championship title went to Kristers Smits & Elizabeth Shlimovich (USA).

As a USA Dance Member, am I automatically a WDSF Member?

No, USA Dance couples wishing to compete in WDSF events must sign up as WDSF members.  They can start that process at:  https://www.worlddancesport.org/News/WDSF/Start_Applying_Now-914.  Any questions about the process should be referred to the USA Dance International Advisor to the President, Katusha Wilder, at international-advisor@usadance.org.

Is there a separate fee for WDSF?

Yes, there is a separate fee for being a WDSF member.  There is not, however, usually a separate cost to dance WDSF events within a competition.

Are there age categories in WDSF?

Yes, the age categories are very similar to those used by USA Dance — Jr II, Youth, Adult, Under-21, and Senior I-IV.  Some events might also be labeled as Open – for all age categories, or specify ages like 35 and up or 50 and up.  

How many WDSF events may I dance at a competition in the United States?

You may dance as many WDSF events as you wish, as long as you meet the age requirements.  If you are a Sr III Standard couple, for example, you may compete in Adult, Sr I, Sr II, and Sr III Standard.  Of course, you will likely do better in the Sr II and Sr III categories, but you are not limited to those two age categories.  Just make sure you plan for dancing extra rounds.  

Which USA Dance NQEs currently are carrying WDSF events?

Currently, Chicago and Gumbo are scheduled to have WDSF events.  Gumbo is also hosting the Sr II World 10-Dance Championship.  It should be very exciting.  Sadly, many WDSF events were temporarily halted during the pandemic.  Hopefully, in 2023, you may see more WDSF events incorporated in our upcoming NQEs.

Does this mean that I may also enter WDSF events overseas?

Once you are a member of WDSF, you may indeed register for and participate in WDSF events overseas.  For more information on WDSF events overseas, check out a great primer written by Yanina Kisler:  https://americandancer.org/so-you-want-to-compete-in-a-european-ballroom-dance-competition/

How do WDSF Rankings work?

For a great explanation on WDSF Rankings and Stars, check out Senior IV World Finalist David Getchell’s piece at:  https://4q21.americandancer.org/rankingsandstars/

Does this mean that I may enter the World Championships?  

Those participating in the World Championships require approval/endorsement from the USA Dance International Advisor to the President, Katusha Wilder, at international-advisor@usadance.org or the USA Dance Vice President of DanceSport, Katrina Volgina, at dancesport-vp@usadance.org.  This is to ensure appropriate representation from the United States at World-level events.  

So, what do I do to get ready for WDSF events?

Start by applying for your WDSF membership, take advantage of the great USA Dance competitions listed above, and Practice Practice, Practice!

Dancers are reminded that USA Dance encourages the freedom to dance in all types of events and competitions.  Go out and have fun.  But don’t forget to take advantage of the upcoming NQEs, register early, and qualify for the 2023 Nationals!!!

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