IDSF History


In case you have the idea to write a report on the history of the International Dance Sport Federation IDSF, you need to apply to sources which for decades have dealt closely with this matter and have the so called insider wisdom. IDSF General Secretary Rudi Hubert immediately agreed to help me in this respect. With this he could refer to his comprehensive registration but as well to material which our unforgettable DTV registrar Archin Schaefer had collected during a long period of his life. On this basis I could combine and make up the following history.


There already had been early competitive encounters on the floors of several countries prior to the First World War, for instance big events in cities like Paris, Berlin and Baden-Baden. However - like competitions early in the Thirties" they were more of private nature, because no international organisations existed at that time for either professionals or amateurs.

It was from 1930 onwards, when the English Style" started to take hold of the Continent, International matches occurred more frequently, since now they already was a generally valid standard and style of competition dancing.

As early 1932, the German Amateur Association RPG - Reichsverband zur Pflege des Gesellschaftstanzes/German Imperial Association for the Promotion of Social Dancing - as it was called at that time, urged the English to found an International Amateur Organisation. Unfortunately their endeavors proved to be unsuccessful and it took another three years before - on December 10th, 1935 - the first International Amateur Association was finally founded in Prague under the name Federation Internationale de Dance pour Amateurs/International Amateur Dancers Federation FIDA". Founder members were the national associations of Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. It was not before long that the associations of the Baltic States, as well as Belgium, Canada, Italy and Norway followed. The Austrian Franz Buechler of Graz was elected as the first president of the new Federation.

Straight away FIDA became very active and in close co-operation with the German Association RPG it was possible - just prior to the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin to hold the first official World Championship at Bad Nauheim/Germany. The event was organised according to international rules and attended by participants from 15 countries of 3 continents. Subsequently all international competitions were now granted and controlled by FIDA until outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. With this tragedy immediately all international activities came to an end.

Not before five years after the end of this horrible war, the dancers made an other attempt, It was on the occasion of the European Championship in Velden/Austria on July 30th, 1950, when a group of progressive dancers tried to revive FIDA. But the success hoped for could not be realised. In England the professional were more successful. On September 21st, 1950, the international Council of Ballroom Dancing ICBD was founded in Edinburgh/Scotland at the instigation of Philip Richardson and became the first international professional dance organisation. Initially it consisted of nine European and three overseas members.

On July 1953, once again in Velden/Austria, FIDA was recognised. The representatives coming from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy and Yugoslavia. The Austrian Franz Buechler was again elected as president. Three more countries joint FIDA some time later: Finland on 06.12.1953, Switzerland on 15.08.1954 and The Netherlands on the 01.03.1955.

The hope of the Amateurs to achieve a close co-operation with the ICBD by a General Agreement failed, Because the interests of the two parties involved were to diverse.

Due to differences between professionals and amateurs in Switzerland, Austria and Germany - here the professional association ADTV supported its own amateur competition organisation DAT, and also due to discord within the actual FIDA area, in January 1956 - on the occasion of a convention in Munich, a resolution was passed, to suspend the activities of the FIDA until further notice. The time had not yet come!

It was in Kiel/Germany, where four years later, on January 24th, 1960, a final attempt to again revive FIDA - but in vain. It still took four more years till the end of 1964 for FIDA to finally cease its activities completely.

As a fact, just following the Munich decision in 1956, the amateurs no longer had any functioning international authoritative body. And this besides the fact, that the movement of competition dancing spread steadily. A strong circle of Amateurs could not stand this situation. At the instigation of the multifold German Champion Otto Teipel of Wiesbaden, the international Council of Amateur Dancers ICAD was founded on May 12th, 1957, at his domicile Wiesbaden with Otto Teipel as elected president.

This Amateur organisation was founded with the approval of the ICBD which had yielded to pressure from the British amateurs and had affiliated an amateur section to its Official Board. now the way was clear for England as well: they joined the ICAD. Further founder members were the national associations of Austria, Denmark, Germany, Italy and Switzerland and the two associations each fro France and The Netherlands. By July 7th, 1058, the associations from Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Yugoslavia had also joined. Thus by the 1958 the ICAD comprised of 14 national associations from 12 countries as its members.

The difficulties which finally led to the collapse of FIDA also stood in the way of the newly founded ICAD. Splits amongst amateur associations extended through al the European countries involved in Competition Dancing and the constantly recurring differences between professionals and amateurs finally led to Otto Teipels giving up of office at the General Meeting on May 13th, 1962.

For one year, the Competitions Officer of the German Dancesport Association DTV, Heinrich Bronner, Offenbach, took the office of the president. On June 23rd, 1963, Rolf Finke of Hannover was elected the new president in Anokke/Belgium. However complications continued and even under the president there were not even the rudiments of any constructive work on the international sector.

On June 27th, 1965 the future way of ICAD was decided and a chapter opened. Detlef Hegemann was the name of the newly elected President. The hopes for a relaxation of the International tension gain feasibility with the election of Detlef Hegemann of Bremen as President of ICAD. Hegemann, then President of the German Dancesport association DTV, had several times been German and European Champion with his partner and wife Ursula and their numerous appearance on the competition floors in many other countries had since the start of the Fiftieth kept him in touch with the existing problems. His personality, his objectivity in the face of every commitment and his total fairness under all circumstances were appreciated throughout Europe by professionals and Amateurs alike.

Young, energetic and ambitious, he filled ICAD and the later on IDSF with new life. Just three months after he took office, he made known his intention of straight away negotiating with the ICBD concerning the foundation of a Joint Committee with equal representation of amateurs and professionals, so that it might constitute a top-level instrument in the settlement of continual and constantly escalating tension between professional and /amateurs. In the ICBD, too, then under the administration of Alex Moore, the need for such an arrangement was recognised and on October 3rd, 1965 the Bremen Agreement' which made history in competition dancing was signed in Bremen and the Joint Committee was established. Initially it comprised of three and later of four members each from the ICBD and ICAD.

The basic idea underlying this Bremen agreement was demarcation of competence for international competitions. For the first time, the ICBD was acknowledging that the ICAD should be solely responsible for granting and controlling international championships and it was agreed upon to permit amateur adjudicators to officiate in international championships, although as a 3 : 4 minority. Since then, the Joint Committee has frequently proved its worth in settling differences of opinion and disputes which have arisen between professional and amateurs at both national and international level.

The constant consolidation of the ICAD and the actual smoothing out of tension between the two camps have had the effect of promoting international amateur competitive dancing as a whole and its improvement. With the existence of a functionally efficient international Federation, the conditions essential to acknowledgment of an incorporation of competitive dancing into the national Sports Organisations were also satisfied many national areas.

In the time to come after 1981 ICAD continuously developed while further amateur associations joined as members. In 1990, on November 11th, when the activities in direction of acknowledgment of Dance Sport by the International Olympic Committee IOC were intensified, it was time to change the name of the association and thus documentate immediately within the name of the representing body, that Competitive Dancing is a Sport. ICAD was changed to IDSF, The International Dance Sport Federation. A World Body had been established.

During the years of 1991/1992 following the historical changes in Eastern Europe, a considerable increase of the number of members took lace. But also Asia woke up and the Amateur Associations of this continent joint ICAD as well as Members. The endeavors of the IDSF Presidium to achieve the IOC recognition were deepened. In the report A long way to success, the Story of IOC Recognition for IDSF and Dance Sport" by IDSF Press Commissioner Werner J. Braun, this thorny way was described in details. In this respect two personalities of the IDSF Presidium need to be mentioned, who gained extraordinary merits for Dancesport: The Swiss IDSF Treasurer Rudolf Baumann and the Berlin/Munich IDSF General Secretary Rudi Hubert who together with Detlef Hegemann carried most of the burden. Their endeavors finally lead to the sentence formulated by the President of the International Olympic Committee, Juan Antonio Samarach, in the historical letter of April 6th, 1995, to the address of Detlef Hegemann, President of the World Body of the Amateur Dance Sport Competitors: I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate you for all efforts made in order to reach this goal and welcome you in the Olympic Family".

No one of us Sport Dancers who was not really moved and especially proud. The IDSF had reached the provisional recognition as an International Association representing a kind of Sport which fulfills the Olympic criteria.

The endeavors to become as well Member of the General Association of International Sports Federation GAISF were successfully finished. In October 1992 IDSF was granted unanimously the full membership of this Organisation. Again a personal success for Rudolf Baumann, IDSF Treasurer and now delegate for GAIF and IOC Affairs. GAISF is the Federation of a bout 80 Olympic and non-Olympic international Sport Associations besides IOC. It has the right to join the discussions within the IOC and assists IOC in all matters of Sport and Memberships. The President of GAISF, Dr. Un Yong Kim, Korea, as well holds the office of one of the Vice-Presidents of IOC.

Today IDSF comprises of 64 countries as members and in addition the World Rock 'n ' Roll Federation as associated Member. The number of single members of the Dance Sport Associations in total maybe estimated of about 2 millions. The German Dance Sport Association for example comprises of 180.000 members. The registrated competitors amount to app. 300.000. The number may be much higher because especially in Eastern Europe many youth and children couples are involved without being registrated and licensed as competitors.

In 22 countries the Amateur Dance Sport is Recognised by the National Olympic Committee, in many other countries promising negotiations have been taken up. The number of those Dancesport Associations which are recognised with the national authorities is even higher. Some National Olympic Committees presuppose for their own recognition of an Association the recognition to their Federation by the IOC while the IOC on the other hand wants as many as possible recognition's of Dance Sport Associations by National Olympic Committees.

The IDSF is confident and looks forward! On top of this successful World Body of Amateur Dance Sport we still find Detlef Hegemann as President - now fro 32 years. In succession, Since 1965 each IDSF election has seen him unanimously returning unopposed. Together with his fellow members of the Presidium he led IDSF to importance and success and we are convinced he will as well lead Dance Sport to full Olympic Recognition.

IDSF is continuing its way!

Copyright by
Werner J. Braun
IDSF Press Commissioner