Dance Articles > Australian Dance Champions ejected from Nationals for wearing Freedom to Dance sash

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by Alskling, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    They stood up for their friends. That much they understand and admit freely. The president said there is more going on that they don't understand. Why would we question that statement?

    It is not a democracy and never claimed to be.

    She did not remove them for simply wearing a yellow sash. She removed them for inciting disruption. There is a difference.
  2. If that's the case, then I'm curious to know how and what the couple was doing to incite disruption... and what the disruption is exactly?
  3. Alskling

    Alskling Member

    Yes, if one presumes that wearing a yellow sash = inciting disruption. I don't. And how do you define disruption, exactly? Daring to disagree with the powers that be in a public forum in any way whatsoever, however silent? Do you honestly believe that riots were about to break out in the ballroom? What else would warrant such a response?

    As to democracy: WDSF proclaims itself to be a democratic organization in virtually every communique they issue. Here is just one quote from their website, and I could go on, but won't: "Democratic and efficient describe the style of governance and the structure of WDSF. The WDSF General Meeting elects the 12-member Presidium and delegates the management to the latter. On the operational level, the Managing Committee – made up of the President, First Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary General and Sports Director – tends to the day-to-day running of the federation. The committee is supported in its task by the standing commissions, by advisers and consultants, and by the administration."

    Last I checked, in a democracy, the governed are allowed to question those who govern them, and SHOULD. They work for us, not the reverse. Blind obedience ain't part of the deal.
  4. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    That's my whole problem with all of this. There's this really nasty battle going on, and as long as I've been trying to understand what it's about, I could find no explanation that adequately explains the behavior of the one body in particular. If it's because they don't know how to explain themselves, that's just bad management. If it's because they don't want to explain themselves, that's a lack of transparency, reflects hidden agendas and is also bad.

    I am still waiting for someone to provide an explanation that doesn't boil down to a nasty, petty, battle for control. I'm seeing a lot of stick, and not much carrot.
  5. rbazsz

    rbazsz New Member

    I don't understand the "Freedom to Dance" controversy so I went to their website to try to figure it out. There is nothing on the website that gave me a clue, which makes me just a tad bit suspicious about their motives. If their own website doesn't explain what all the fuss is about who will?

    I also watched the video of the dancers wearing the yellow sash. It certainly didn't look to me like their protest was anything that would warrant being ejected from the event.

    Without knowing all the facts it still seems to me that the treatment of the dancers was very heavy handed and somewhat scary.

    Would somebody please provide some information about what Freedom to Dance is all about?
  6. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    We should be careful what we wish for. Do we want DF to become the forum for the disputes at issue? (Just sayin'.)
  7. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    If someone understands this dispute, I'd be perfectly happy to take the explanation in PM.
  8. randomaeiou

    randomaeiou Member

    for those with fb accounts (who doesn't anymore? :rolleyes:)

    there's a significant amount of information openly available in the discussions/posts on the group page of ACDA (Australian Competitive Dancers' Association), including posts by the two dancers evicted.
  9. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Would they have also been ejected had they chosen to wear a red sash, or a blue sash, or a green sash in protest of their friends' banning?
  10. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Is it one of those slogans like 'pro choice' that was actually created to obscure the negative situation?
  11. sambanada

    sambanada Active Member

    What's actually going to suffer most from all this drama is the level of dance around the world. When all couples were in one circuit, we had a push for more competition. Now, both are a bit watrered down, with strong couples in both WDSF and WDC. With time, this can actually bring down the overall level a bit.
  12. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    Is there any reason to be afraid to discuss the issues, DL?
  13. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I don't know enough about them to know the answer to that! :)
  14. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    Anyone who didn't know what the sash meant would have dismissed it as an ornamentation for the dress. Anyone who did know what the sash meant would have felt heartened by her support. It was a silent protest, not intended to disrupt, or incite was merely there to show support.

    IMO, anyone seeking to limit which dancers dance which competitions forgets that the most crucial part of a competition are the competitors. You limit the competitors who can attend, and you eventually diminish the attractiveness of attending the competition by choice...
  15. Alskling

    Alskling Member

    The website you linked to above is mainly for the Freedom to Dance competition organized by Richard and Anne Gleave in England in May rather than an official organization website, as there isn't an "official" anything here. Richard is definitely the originator of the slogan "Freedom to Dance", and started a FB group of the same name. So far as I know the only goal of the group is what its name suggests: that dancers should be free to dance where they want and when they want without fear of punishment. Discussions in the FB group do tend to lean strongly anti-WDSF; on the other hand, WDSF appears to be the only organization that is actively banning dancers for doing the "wrong" competitions, so this isn't particularly surprising, as the group was created as a protest against just that. Beyond that, I don't think there's any dark conspiracy at work here to be suspicious of. Competitions have been organized under the slogan "Freedom to Dance", but while some of them are officially WDC or WDC-AL affiliated, most are non-aligned with either WDSF or WDC, and welcome all comers, and that is rather the point.

    The yellow color that was at issue at Australian Nationals is very recent, I think, and came from a Picbadge of a yellow ribbon that an Australian dancer created and asked people to add to their FB profile picture for the month of December to show support for the Australian couples who were banned from competing at Nationals. It is showing signs of going viral from there.

    Totally agree that the origins of this mess are complex and sometimes murky, and unless you have been personally affected and have been following developments for the last couple of years, it can be hard to figure out why everyone is so up in arms seemingly all of a sudden. And people who have been following it can find it hard to explain, or, since they're in the middle of it, don't realize they need to, since to them it's all crystal clear.
  16. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    So, near as I can figure out the chronology and likely motivations... (ignoring name changes, just using current names)

    WDC original org founded in the 1950's to govern professional dance, a couple of years later WDSF original org founded to govern amateur competition. WDC seems to be centered in England, while WDSF in continental Europe.

    Late 90's, WDSF becomes sole body recognized by IOC to govern Ballroom Dance, and everybody starts sticking "sport" after dance.

    2007ish, WDC creates WDC-AL, stepping on WDSF turf.
    2010, WDSF creates Professional Division, stepping back on WDC's toes.

    As near as I can remember, that's when I started seeing all the hubbub about who is allowed to dance where, and dancers getting banned.

    Now, it seems there is a belief that there has to be only one governing body to be taken seriously as a possible olympic sport. Opinions vary as to whether it is a realistic or desirable goal. It would also seem that WDC creating WDC-AL could be construed as an attempt by WDC to render WDSF redundant.

    I don't know why WDC started WDC-AL. Where there some onerous restrictions on WDSF amateur comps? WDSF professional division clearly seems to be a response to WDC-AL. And after that, restrictions on where one could compete seem to be part of an effort to establish One True Dance Governing Body (TM).

    Seems that someone could have used a reminder that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar....
  17. Alskling

    Alskling Member

    I think the rumblings about Blackpool boycotts and then the beginning of individual country amateur federations forbidding their couples to go may have been contiguous with the founding of WDC-AL. Not sure of cause and effect relationship, but the idea of banning couples for going to certain comps has been around longer than 2010. I think the Italians, Russians, Germans, and maybe Spaniards were enforcing it pretty heavily for their couples by around 2009-2010. It's in the last year or so that the idea of WDSF enforcing bans on their own came in, rather than bans being enforced at the national level, and WDSF is now reserving to themselves the right to ban couples for doing events even if their national WDSF member body has no objection to their participation. Best example of this is in the US, where USA Dance has said it will not prevent or punish its couples from doing any competition they wish to do, but there are cases now of WDSF banning, or at least threatening to ban, US couples for doing non-registered events.
  18. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Oh, thanks so much for that reminder. I remember now that some of the national bodies were unhappy that the judging panels did not reflect the same diversity as the competitors, i.e., their dancers were getting coaching from English judges and continental coaches wanted in on that action. Now let's see if I can avoid having another senior episode and remember where the money is going. ;-)
  19. DL

    DL Well-Known Member

    I thought I saw another post a few months ago that gave me the sense that different revenue models (in particular, pro-am vs. am-am) in different places were an additional underlying source of friction.

    (Please, I'm not trying to start discussion of the pros and cons of pro-am and am-am. I just mean that the money flows differently, depending which system dominates a given market.)
  20. Alskling

    Alskling Member

    Don't remember the thread, but I'm fairly sure money and power battles are at the root of most of this, cynic that I am. And just to further muddy the waters, WDSF has now added their own pro-am division, so now we've got two--or more--of everything. Is there such a thing as pro-am in any Olympic sport?

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