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Professional Division of DanceSport

See also: Categories: Terminology, Dance, Ballroom, DanceSport, Latin

Professional DanceSport competitors usually evolve from the Amateur Division as they partake in higher standards of education, training, and experience.


The Professional Division of DanceSport is a competitive division of Ballroom Dancing. A Professional is a member of a profession or is any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession.


Professional sports are sports in which participants are financially remunerated for the time they spend competing or training.

In the majority of sports which feature professionals, the professionals will participate at a higher standard of performance than amateur competitors. However, the majority of worldwide sporting participants are amateurs. Even though this is so, Professional DanceSport competitors who were once in the Amateur Division of DanceSport have mostly likely won and received remuneration for lessons, shows and wins, much prior to their change of status.

The History & The Difference in DanceSport


To make the most rigorous distinction between a professional and an amateur in sports was, above all, an Anglo-Saxon axiom. At the turn of the twentieth century – and in sports like athletics, golf and tennis – such distinctions were made more from a societal point of view than anything else. Sports were the privilege of an upper class that could afford to practice them for pleasure only. Earning one’s living through dexterity, skills and physical virtues was considered inappropriate in the “working class” not only in the United Kingdom of the Victorian era, but elsewhere too.


The first competitive dancers, however, had no reservations about declaring themselves professionals. Many were teaching dance and enterprising in related ventures. To be a professional seemed perfectly acceptable for the pioneers who hardly considered dance to be sport.

While sporting amateurism remained a zealously guarded ideal until the 1960s, professionalism was the coveted status and synonymous with mastery in dance. When the German Imperial Association for the Fostering of Social Dance initiated the founding of the International Federation for Amateur Dancers in 1935, it was a counter movement of sorts to the rule by British dance professionals.

This “amateur” division was adopted in the name of the organization that later became the World DanceSport Federation as well. The International Council of Amateur Dancers founded in 1957 was to contrast with the International Council of Ballroom Dancing (today known as the World Dance Council), the organization which dance teachers had founded in 1950.

Putting nearly all emphasis on the distinction between amateur and professional status had made for some irreconcilable differences between two opposing groups over many years.


Today, perspectives have changed. Every dancer turning professional looks back at a successful career as an “amateur.” The quotation marks are perfectly in order: such status does no longer exist! The new professional will have won and received remuneration for lessons, shows and wins, much prior to his or her change of status.

In DanceSport competitions such as The World Games and the Asian Games, etc., athletes from both divisions unite and contest for the same titles. Both amateurs and professionals have drawn much closer to their levels of dancing, even to a point that distinguishing between them is probably the hardest part.

Hear it from the Pros

What does change is the approach taken to dance itself. A change of attitude as much as a change of style! The two World DanceSport Federation Professional Division World Champion couples explain the difference between the Amateur Division of DanceSport.

“We do fewer competitions than we used to do as “amateurs.” We do a little bit more teaching and more shows now. And we changed our routines and our dancing.”

Silvia Pitton, ITA - WDSF PD World Champion Standard

“We also seem to have more time to train now. And that is very positive!”

Paolo Bosco, ITA - WDSF PD World Champion Standard

“As a professional you are expected to show more mature and adult dancing. You should demonstrate a profound understanding of each dance.”

Anna Firstova, RUS - WDSF PD World Champion Latin

“People tell us that we look more relaxed and mature. In fact, we are enjoying our dancing just as much as we did before. But it is less sport and more art!”

Alexey Silde, RUS - WDSF PD World Champion Latin

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