by Ken Richards, President of USA Dance
Hello fellow members of USA Dance and welcome to this fourth edition of the American Dance Online Magazine. David Getchell and his team are to be commended for their hard work in developing this membership benefit filled with news and information about our dance community. As I reflect on the past year and the mission I set out to accomplish as the USA Dance National President, I am generally pleased and extremely optimistic for the future.
Yes, COVID variants, the supply chain, and a host of world and national events have done their best to slow our progress. But hey, we are dancers and know when to turn all that off, turn on the music, and move! And that is what we have done… membership is climbing, Breaking DanceSport is now fully integrated into our “Dance” organization, transparency of our financials and what is happening in all those meetings has been completely turned around, and our website has become the user-friendly tool we can rely on for accurate and current information that is easy to find.
Training Camps with great attendance and sharing of knowledge are happening due to our reformed Education Department, Social Dancers are taking to the floor again across the country, and all have the new opportunity to avail themselves of special discounts for online training from Dance Vision.
Behind the scenes, regular meetings are happening with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee along with detailed work of our National Governing Body (NGB) Task Force to bring us fully in line with the latest requirements and ready for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Our athletes, coaches, and parents are now able to access TrueSport Training, and our commitment to SafeSport has taken new strides forward. And how great is it that, thanks to the efforts of Louis Van Amstel, we now have the first official adoption of DanceSport into the Special Olympics program in Utah. (See the announcement and videos from the event here.) I had the pleasure to participate in the kick-off event performance with my Special Olympian partner, Laura Lemon.
USA Dance President Ken Richards with his Special Olympian partner, Laura Lemon, and Special Olympics Dance Ambassador Louie Van Amstel at the first-ever Utah Special Olympics DanceSport Performance, November 6, 2021.
I just got off the phone with one of the more exciting 2 ½ hour meetings I have attended this year…finalizing plans for 2022’s return of a fully integrated National DanceSport Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is one of those reasons people volunteer – to enjoy the thrill of making things better for others and seeing what we can create. The Nationals Organizing Committee in partnership with the local Chapter of Social Dancers in Pittsburgh will be rolling out all the details soon. There are a ton of important changes coming to this Nationals…like single dance entry options, pro/am titles, teacher/student titles, professional titles, workshops, a dance social, and the National Collegiate titles – WOW!
Also looking forward, one of the big agenda items for 2022 is the simplification of chapter reporting. And we are going to need your help and input to get us there. Speaking of this, and apologizing for this small diversion, I will make a push now that those 1099 reports must be submitted as soon as possible in January to complete our obligation to our shared vendors. Remember, any amount paid must be reported, because a vendor could be accumulating income from multiple chapters of the National organization.
Of course, we will continue to give dancers new reasons to become members and hopefully see that continue to grow. We will also be pursuing corporate sponsors for DanceSport. Just as soon as the new Vice President of Social Dance volunteer is finalized (no spoiler alert yet), I expect big plans for a national conference, cruise, or other such activities to move to the top of the agenda, as we continue to get America dancing again.
With that, on behalf of the Board of Directors and our National Volunteers, I would like to wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!