About the bdf
+ THE BDF EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The BDF Executive Committee is made up of some of the most famous names in our Dance Industry and we are continually striving to bring the best events, competitions, congresses, training days and much more to our members and followers.
We hold committee meetings once a month to discuss all details of our Dance Industry and always keep the best interests of our member’s in mind. We after all set the BDF up because and for you.
We need your support so that we can support you and we thank you for your continued support too.
+ THE CHAIRMANS WELCOME
In October 1946 an organisation was formed and called the Competitors Federation, not long afterwards it was disbanded. The Ballroom Dancers’ Federation was then formed in 1958 and the first Chairman was Mr Hugh Carter.
There was a desire to further goodwill and co-operation between the Federation and the now named British Dance Council, and others who wished to utilise the professional services of the Federation members.
The Ballroom Dancers’ Federation is a leading organisation aiming to promote and protect the Dance Sport Industry.
a) To promote the spirit of good fellowship and sportsmanship and to protect and advance the interests of professional competitors and professionals in general.
b) To further the goodwill and co-operation between those who utilise the services of its members and the governing Dance Sport bodies.
Since its inception, the Federation has been responsible for inaugurating many events that have become part of the British dance calendar. The International Congress held biennially at the British Open Championships in Blackpool, where lectures on all aspects of our profession are presented. The Night of 100 Stars, this is the showcase for our Dance Sport industry. The present world championships known as Classic Show Dance and South-American Show Dance, were originally called segue –events which was the innovation of the BDF. Twenty-five years ago, the Federation resurrected the Star Championships originally run by the now defunct Star evening newspaper in the famous Earls Court Exhibition Hall. Later the Championship was held in the Great Room of the Grosvenor House on Park Lane together with a dinner dance called the Star Ball. During this period the BDF awards where introduced and have now grown to be one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the world today. The Ballroom Dancers’ Federation have undertaken the responsibility of organising European and World Championship events granted by the World Dance and Dance Sport Council to Great Britain, this has been achieved with the support of generous sponsors.
The funding of the Federation comes from many different areas; membership fees, functions, video commissions, patronage and sponsorship.
Delegates represent The Federation from the Executive Committee who sit on the board of directors for the British Dance Council; the Federation is very pro-active in bringing about changes; the most recent was with the World Dance and Dance Sport Council! Which was the abolition of the notorious Rule four. The other was a day of collaboration involving EADA, Festival 2000 and our own Star Professional Championships to present a spectacle of dancing from its very beginning to the pinnacle of our profession. The present Executive Committee continue to innovate, and further ideas in pursuit of high quality dancing, a legacy handed down from our illustrious past masters. As a body, the BDF have always tried to be visionary, thanks mainly to its officers, both past and present, who devote time and energy to promoting the Dance Sport Industry. The B.D.F. is still working towards improving, developing and innovating our industry.
The Federation exists to establish the qualities and standards for competitors, promoters and coaches/teachers.
We would like to thank our past and present officers for their incredible efforts for the Ballroom Dancing industry and detail below in chronological order the Chairmen, Vice Chairmen and Secretaries of our Federation…
1958 saw the first elected Chairman of the BDF, Mr. Hugh Carter who four years later in 1964 was replaced by Mr. Charles Jacobs following his sudden resignation.
In 1965 Mr. Sonny Binick was elected at the AGM and reined for 26 years and it was during this period with the help of Vice chairman Mr. Bob Burgess and Hon Secretary Mr. Walter Laird that the organisation grew to the prominence the organisation enjoys today.
In 1991 Mr. Sonny Binick was elevated to Hon President, the Vice Chairman Mr. Bob Burgess was elected as Chairman and remained there for two years after which time he was elevated to Hon Vice President along with Mr. Walter Laird.
1993 saw the election of Mr. Anthony Hurley who was to remain as Chairman until his retirement in 2001. He was originally supported by his Vice Chairman Mr. Richard Gleave OBE, and later by his very close friend Mr Keith Burton with Mr. Norman White as Hon Secretary. Mr. Anthony Hurley was then elevated to Hon President and shortly afterwards Mr. Norman White our very longstanding Hon Secretary and our very longstanding Hon Treasurer Mrs. Joy Weller were also made Hon Vice Presidents . In more recent times Mr. Richard Gleave has also been made an Hon Vice President.
2001 was the year Mr. Kenny Welsh was elected as Chairman supported by Mr. Steve Powell as Vice Chairman and Mr. David Sycamore Hon Secretary. Mr. Graham Oswick took over from Mr. David Sycamore in 2009 with David still an active member of the EC. In 2020, Mr Graham Oswick stepped down as Hon Secretary to Assistant Secretary and Mr John Durrant is the current BDF Hon Secretary.
Your Executive Committee is more hardworking now than it has ever been, and is more involved with the dancing industry in many more diverse projects.
Mr Kenny Welsh, BDF President
+ THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Always striving to bring our valued Members and our Dance Industry the best in Events, Congresses, Competitions & Training Days.
+ THE ROLE & BENEFITS OF BDF MEMBERSHIP
The Ballroom Dancers Federation was formed more than 60 years ago. Its formation was born out of the need for professional competitors to unite in order to raise the standards of conditions under which they competed. Since those early days the role of the BDF in today’s dance world has evolved immeasurably.
I summarise below the main areas in which the BDF is active:
The original raison d’être is still very much in evidence today. This takes the form of delegates who attend British Dance Council meetings to represent the interests of BDF members and generally nurture the well-being of the competition side of the business. This includes a seat on the influential International Professional Affairs Committee as well as the main Board of Directors. In addition, BDF delegates can make proposals to be forwarded by the BDC to the World Dance Council on such matters as rule changes etc.
Biennially the BDF organises the International Congress that takes place during the British Open Championships in May. This employs Lecturers with a vast range of knowledge, who lecture to a very appreciative audience comprised of dancers from the four corners of the globe. Of particular benefit to BDF members is that for the past few years entry has been free of charge for both days of the Congress for members of two years or more standing.
The BDF, although predominantly concerned with Professionals, recognises the importance of nurturing the talent of young dancers. The earlier they can be made aware of, and gain an understanding of, the important principles of Ballroom and Latin-American dancing, the greater their chances of realising their potential as adults. With this in mind the BDF has from time to time organised Youth Training Camps and Amateur Training Camps, which have included young couples from the ages of 10 years upwards.
Organising of Events
The Star Championships were in the 1950s some of the most prestigious titles contested by Professional competitors. Following a period when they were not run and not wishing the titles to be lost into oblivion, the BDF resurrected the titles by taking on the organising of the event. In recent years the Star Championships have taken on a new lease of life with a new venue and the addition of a Pro/Am showcase, which could in future be the seeds of growth of Pro/Am competitions. One of the most spectacular events in the dancing calendar is the Night of 100 Stars. This was the brainchild of former BDF Chairman and President, Sonny Binick, who wished to present the world’s best Professional couples in cabaret-style performances. Each year the couples surpass themselves with ever-better cabarets.
To organise a World or European Championship is a major task. It seems that there was no-one or any organisation in Great Britain willing to take this on. The BDF therefore stepped in and for some time now has presented either a World or European Ballroom or Latin-American Championship in Great Britain at least every second year. The expense of organising such a major event is so enormous that even a sold out Blackpool Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom is insufficient to cover the costs. Fortunately, the BDF has benefited from generous sponsors and the shortfall is made up from BDF Funds.
At one particular Championship some years ago which was being aired on television, the Executive Committee developed a formula, where the competitors danced an additional performance in which a combination of all five dances was performed without a break. At the time this was known as “Segue” and its popularity became such that World and European Segue Championships came into being in parallel with the standard Championships. This was the beginning of what are today known as Ballroom and Latin Showdance Championships.
The BDF Awards were introduced in order to give public recognition to people who had, in the BDF’s view, given outstanding service to dancing. The selection of Award recipients is given great thought by the selection committee and the Awards are highly coveted by the Profession.
The BDF assists its members in a variety of ways. Members can write to the Secretary and all correspondence is given full consideration by the Executive Committee. If necessary, members’ concerns can be brought up at BDC meetings as explained earlier. As well as this, BDF funds are used to assist couples representing Great Britain in World and European Championships with their travel expenses.
As can be seen from the above summary, the activities of the BDF have evolved from its humble beginnings to become multi-faceted. The Federation has been fortunate to have been guided and led by a small number of dedicated and enlightened Professionals. The present officers are mindful of the legacy they have inherited and are resolute in their intention to keep the BDF at the forefront of Competition Dancing in Great Britain.