Federation of Dance Sport SA & Dance Sport School League

Sports, Arts and Culture

20 February 2018
Chairperson: Ms B Dlulane (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Dance Sport School League (DSSL) and the Federation of Dance Sport South Africa (DSSA) briefed the Committee on the funding challenges they faced, the involvement of the Department of Sport and Recreation, accreditation and affiliation, the curriculum, the benefits of dance sport at schools, and how dance sport was the fastest growing sport that could be introduced in any school environment.

They described how dance sport created many jobs for the youth, as they could train to be a choreographer, coach, judge, examiner, scrutineer, educator, skills development dancer and more. The sport tackled tough social and environmental problems, including drug and alcohol abuse. It allowed for mass participation, development and growth for the youth, and created a relationship with school principals. With dance sport, there would be an increased sense of purpose, school spirit and physical performance among students.

Members asked questions about the sources of funding; if disabled people were accommodated in dance sport; the levies that schools had to pay to be a member; affiliations with other federations or organisations; how many women were on the executive teams; if dance sport was inclusive of adults and youth that were out of school; what kind of jobs could be created for the youth; which provinces had dance sport in schools, and if dance sport was accessible to government schools in rural areas.

The Committee requested the DSSL and DSSA to create a plan which could be presented to the Department to help the organisations to secure funding.

Meeting report

Dance Sport School League

Mr Craig Bullock, Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Dance Sport School League (DSSL), described the benefits of dance sport in education at schools, the structure of the league, its accreditation, new age careers, how dance could change lives, the goals set for school principals, and the results of dance sport.

Dance sport had an athlete-structured approach, and followed the most successful models of rugby, cricket, netball and hockey. It received international accreditation from the highest dance bodies in the world, including the International Dance Organisation (IDO),  World Dance Sport Federation (WDSF) and World Dance Council (WDC).

Dance sport created many jobs for the youth, as they could train to be a choreographer, coach, judge, examiner, scrutineer, educator, skills development dancer and more. It tackled tough social and environmental problems. It allowed for mass participation, development and growth for the youth and created a relationship with school principals.

Countries like Namibia, Mauritius, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Denmark were interested in the DSSL format.

With dance sport, there would be an increased sense of purpose, school spirit and physical performance among students. It would help to combat the problem of drugs and alcohol abuse by giving the youth a sense of purpose.

Dance Sport South Africa

Mr Kennedy Ford, Treasurer: Dance Sport South Africa (DSSA), and a school principal, described the structure of dance sport in all nine provinces, the development in smaller provinces, funding from the Department of Sport and Recreation, and the management and coordination of events.

He said the main challenges facing the organisation were:

  • To gather funding for couples to represent South Africa in the World Dance Sport Championships in different countries. At the moment, individuals were required to cover their own costs and many could not afford to.
  • The money that the federation received could not cover all its needs, given the budget of R750 000.
  • There was a lack of teachers and there was not enough money to train them. Many of the qualified teachers operated from studios in the suburbs, thus making lessons inaccessible to youth in lower income areas.
  • There was a need to expand dance sport for the physically challenged, visually impaired and learners with barriers.

Mr Ford said DSSA was affiliated to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), there was full representation of males and females, and the funds received were used for the interprovincial championship, the South African National Championship and the Adjudicators Congress.

Discussion on DSSL

Mr L Ntshayisa (AIC) asked what plans had been developed between the DSSL and the principals for dance sport.

Mr D Bergman (DA) asked if the DSSL was affiliated with SASCOC. What resources did it need from the Department?

Mr T Mhlongo (DA) asked if the DSSL received funding from the Department. Which schools were affiliated with dance sport in Gauteng and the Western Cape? Was dance sport affiliated with a ballet dance academy?

Ms B Abrahams (ANC) wanted to know how youth that were not in school could be involved, and to what extent this involvement could be. How did the organisation motivate youth, and how many academies did dance sport have in South Africa? Was dance sport focused only on youth?

Ms B Dlomo (ANC) asked where in Durban the interprovincial tournament was held. Were there women represented in the executive team? Were all communities and rural areas that lacked resources included?

Mr S Mmusi (ANC) noted that Mr Bullock was an international judge. How had that come about, and had he been elected for the position? How popular was dance sport in provinces other than Gauteng and the Western Cape? How could dance sport engage with the homeless youth? How did dance sport promote indigenous dance, given that it was in South Africa and there were many types of indigenous dances? As a person with a disability, he wanted to know if dance sport accommodated people living with disabilities.

Ms D Manana (ANC) asked how many people were on the executive team, and how many of them were women. As women were well represented in dance teams, one would expect them also to be represented in the executive. Mr Bullock had mentioned that dance sport followed the most successful sporting codes, but did he not agree that soccer was the highest sporting code in South Africa because of its popularity? If so, why was that sporting code not followed by dance sport? Why was the sporting code for cricket, hockey and netball followed? What happened to the youth that was not at school? How many provinces were involved so far? Was the DSSL ready to use dance sport for transformation in schools, particularly in rural areas?

Mr S Ralegoma (ANC) wanted to know what the plan was for making dance sport popular, like cricket and rugby. A plan was necessary so that the Committee could see how the DSSA and DSSL planned to grow. How was it being made accessible to the people?

The Chairperson asked what kind of job opportunities DSSL could create. There was an idea that the only jobs available were those that required people with previous training. Given that there were many people addicted to drugs and alcohol, were there jobs that affected youths and adults could participate in, as no one could be left behind? It was always interesting to see elderly people participating in group sports and exercising to remain healthy. Could elderly people participate in dance sport?

DSSL’s Response

Mr Bullock said there was an emphasis on the leadership in dance sport. Youths looked up to principals for leadership. They looked up to authority to educate them. The principals did not necessarily run the programme in their schools, but they did encourage it to take place. Without the buy-in from the principals, it would not be possible to run the programme. The DSSL encouraged principals to take pride in their schools, whether it be a rural or private school, as there was no discrimination. When the principals saw the benefits of the programme in their school and among the students, it remained an incentive to keep it.

One of the challenges faced was education. Dance sport required no equipment or uniform. It could be done in school halls, classrooms and fields. It was not necessary to put in a soccer field or to build equipment. The most important was to have the buy-in from the principals. With the principal’s leadership, it would filter down to the coaches, then to the teachers and finally, the students.

The DSSL was affiliated with SASCOC and very proud of it. One of the dancers from Gauteng was going to the Youth Olympics to represent the whole of Africa. This boy had competed against millions in Africa and was only 16 years old. He had passed phase one and beaten millions. He had passed phase two and beaten thousands. Phase three was competing against 60 other dancers in Japan. The final stage would be stage four, which was the top 24. This had been possible through the endorsement of SASCOC. The problem was that there was no funding to pay for travel and accommodation. He had had to pay for himself to participate in the first two phases but he needed help to pay for phase three. The DSSL would use fundraisers to raise money, but it did need help.

There were currently 15 schools in Johannesburg that were a part of the DSSL. They were both private and public primary and high schools. There was no discrimination in dance sport. Government schools could not compete in rugby and hockey, because it was expensive to introduce and maintain the infrastructure these sports required. The cost to introduce dance sport in schools was very low, as it required no equipment to be bought. Everything that was necessary to run the programme was already available at schools. The schools paid a levy, and that was how the DSSL sustained itself.

The Dance Sports School League was ‘street dance.’ It consisted of hip hop, pantsula, break-dancing, popping, locking and anything relating to street culture. Why was choose ballet not chosen? Because ballet was for people who could afford it, and it did not encourage mass participation. It was for people who could afford to pay for ballet shoes and ballet attire. Dance sport did not need an outfit because students were representing their school in their physical education (PE) kit. The DSSL had chose street dance to build a culture of mass participation. It was for boys and girls, short and tall, and for all shapes and sizes. It did not discriminate.

DSSL could get the ordinary youth involved because it offered the opportunity to compete at the district, regional, and national level. It got the youth that was out of school to participate by training them to become coaches, judges, disc jockeys (DJs) and masters of ceremonies (MCd). MCs were necessary to host and entertain at events. The possibilities were endless.

There were many academies that were involved in dance sport in Gauteng. The DSSL had two levels to compete within. The first level was grassroots, which was for all the schools. The second level was higher performance, which was for academies -- and there were many. Every dance academy could be a part of the DSSL.

Dance sport was not only for the youth. It was also for adults. There had been an adult dance team that had represented South Africa in the world championships, and had won a gold medal. The age division for dance sport was from three years old until 103 years old. There really was no age restriction.  

The inter-provincial tournament had been held at a resort in the south of Durban. Ideally, a tournament should take place at a school that had hostels, as the youth were traveling from all over South Africa and needed accommodation. However, the resort had been very affordable. The tournament was meant to be hosted in the Western Cape this year, but due to the water restrictions, it could not. Kwa-Zulu Natal had invited the DSSL to host it there again. It was an exciting and challenging opportunity for the youth.

One of the schools in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) -- one that required no school fees -- was a part of the school league. There was no discrimination against rural schools. It was for every school. DSSL just did not have funding to reach everywhere. It funded itself through the levy paid for by schools. If a school could not afford it, the DSSL was at a disadvantage. Its strategy was to attract private schools that could afford to pay a levy that could also cover the levy for rural schools.

Mr Bullock said that he had first studied to become a regional judge and passed, and had since studied to become a national judge. To become an international judge, he had had to study overseas and pay for it himself. He was currently the only African international judge for street dance. He wanted to put the country on the map for street dance, and paid for it all his own way.

Dance sport was very popular. There were 16 priority sports in the country. Dance sport was more popular than golf, and was the fastest growing sport in the world. There were thousands of athletes who wanted to do dance sports, and the DSSL’s reach was great because it was involved in the schools. Most importantly, it was building traditions in the schools. The youth was engaged through dancing, being active and being involved in movement. As Africans, it was most important to keep them fit and healthy. Street dance was a part of traditional dance. When the youth did the pantsula or danced in the township, all these different street styles made up a part of the curriculum.

The DSSL had a disability department. There were differently able-bodied dancers within the programme. The programme did not discriminate -- the same curriculum that was used for able-bodied dancers was used for disabled dancers. A dancer that was struggling with any disability could still be a part of the programme.

The executive team had a chairman, a secretary and a treasurer. The secretary, disability chairman and development officer were females. There were more females on the executive team than there were males.

Soccer was a great sport that was loved around the world, but it had not been successfully introduced into schools. Netball, cricket, hockey and rugby were successful because money had been invested into them. Soccer was lagging behind because there was not enough money going into it at the school level to ensure that it produced great soccer players. Unless soccer got more funding and more structures that were fairly implemented, it would be at a disadvantage. There were currently not enough coaches and judges going into all the government and rural schools to train pupils. Soccer was not in the top 20 for world ranking, whereas the other sports were in at least the top 10 sporting codes, so dance sport did not want to be at the same disadvantage.

The DSSL was ready to transform dance sport in South Africa, especially in the rural areas. It was in Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape, and had moved into Mpumalanga and North West Province. It was difficult to move into all provinces, as resources were limited and not enough coaches and judges could be trained. However, the DSSL was spreading the resources as far as possible.

The Chairperson concluded the questioning and suggested that follow up questions should be asked after the second presentation by the Federation of Dance Sport South Africa.

Further discussion

Ms Manana stated that the presentation had been very good if it was a representation of the work that was being done on the ground. She asked if the DSSL had received funding from SASCOC to help pay for the dancer going to the Youth Olympics. If the dance league had traditional dance, would it not want to partner with the Department of Arts and Culture? Many federations had previously had teachers demanding pay for teaching overtime, and had refused to work. How would the DSSL and DSSA solve this challenge should it arise?

Ms Abrahams asked how the DSSA performed its electoral procedures. Because the resources were limited, did both parties have any sponsors, and who were they? Did they have evaluation and monitoring of all their expenditure? What was the relationship with SASCOC regarding a marketing strategy? What were the affiliation fees? Perhaps the communities could help to pay for athletes to compete overseas, like her own community had been able to support a judo competitor. How did the DSSL determine what style of dance to teach once it was in a community?

Mr Mhlongo asked if more details could be given about the levy and how often schools paid it. Did both organisations receive sponsorship from private companies, and was there a financial statement that showed expenditure and a clean audit?

Dance Sport South Africa Response

Mr Ford replied that DSSA received funding only from the Department of Sport and Recreation. It had started years ago as R300 000, had escalated to R400 000, and in 2016 it was R700 000. In 2017, they had received R750 000. Up until four years ago, it had also received funding from the national lottery.

He said that universities had their own competitions. All the teachers that went into the schools to teach dance sport, ran the programme as extra mural activities, and did so free of charge.

There were five ladies out of an executive team of 11 members. There used to be seven, but two of them had resigned.

The registration fee for schools was R110 annually.

It was important to understand dance sport in the context of South Africa. DSSA had competition. Although it was the custodian, there were at least six or seven other federations that were not recognised by SASCOC and the Department. These federations received funding. They were the DSSA’s opposition, and it was struggling. A letter of complaint had been sent to the Minister of Sport at the time, Mr Ngconde Balfour, complaining that dance sport was the only sport where the custodian was not being recognised. There were other sports that were still run by those that had money and decided how the sport should operate, and that was the problem DSSA was facing. They were taking the DSSA’s dancers. In other words, their children were at those federations that had the money. When sending someone overseas, those federations tell the athletes that they do not have to go with a blazer or tracksuit, as they do not have colours. There was still apartheid in SA sports, to put it bluntly.

Dance Sport School League Response

Mr Bullock said that his organisation was called the Street Dance Association, and it had started in 2015. It had then become an associate member of the DSSA. It did not receive any funding from the government, DSSA or private funding. Everything that it had was from the levy received from schools. The annual levy for a school was R2 000. This covered the training of a judge, a coach and scrutineers from the school. They also ran weekly fixtures for the whole of term one. The DSSL had had to raise money for the 16-year-old athlete from fundraisers and use his parents’ money to send him overseas, as there was no other funding.

The DSSL would gladly partner with the Department of Arts and Culture and any other departments that would be willing. They would also be glad to partner with the Department of Education and the Department of Tourism. The goal was to make dance sport recognised in the country.

The DSSL had national and provincial structures. Every provincial structure had its own bank account, a chairman, a secretary and a treasurer. The structure was exactly like the national structure. Through the schools, there had not been an experience where teachers wanted to get paid, because the DSSL was giving them the skills to run dance sport at the school. However, it would be a discussion at a future executive meeting to make an allowance through the provincial structures, to create funds to pay them. However, there had not been a problem.

The main focus for street dance was hip hop, because it was the most popular dance style around the globe, but traditional dances could be a part of street dance. It was called street dance so that all styles could be a part of it.

The Chairperson thanked the DSSL and DSSA, and asked if there were any remaining questions or remarks.

Mr Mhlongo said that for the Members to come on board, they had to know exactly how the association was run. What had caused the DSSA to apply for funding from the lotto, and how had they received it? He suggested that the next time both parties presented, they should present their financial statements. He asked both parties how they marketed dance sport, and whether it was by social media, as he was on the website and found it to be outdated. He also stated that those were the kind of mechanisms used to analyse organisations. 

Ms Abrahams asked what made the DSSL want to represent South Africa overseas while they did not receive any funding from the government.

The Chairperson responded that the suggestion made by Mr Mhlongo was a good one. Athletes could not be assisted if they were not an affiliate, or did not belong to a federation. SASCOC would love to assist in order for the South African flag to be worn internationally. Because the DSSA was present, the DSSL should share its problems with it and find a way to register these street dancers. If an individual was not registered with a union in labour law, no one would assist them. The government worked according to structure, and if the DSSA and DSSL were not structured properly, the government would not be able to help. SASCOC would only take people from a federation.

The Chairperson suggested that the DSSA should check on how it could help the DSSL. The Committee would see what it could request from the Department. The federation should see what it could do to request funds from the lotto. There was a recommendation that the long presentation from the DSSL be forwarded to the secretary. and that communication lines remain open between the DSSA and the Committee.

Mr Ford thanked the Chairperson and the Committee Members, and Mr Bullock said that he was thankful for the invitation and the opportunity to learn from their wisdom. Although the DSSL was new, it was excited for the future. He replied to Ms Abrahams that the DSSL was passionate about what it did and wanted to see the youth receive every opportunity possible, and that the passion would eventually bring the money.

Consideration of outstanding Committee minutes

Mr Ramegola appreciated for the unique style of the report.

Ms Abrahams asked if there would be a back page for tracking persons.

Mr Mhlongo asked if it was possible for them to be up to date with the minutes, and what was happening with the position of the content advisor.

Ms Manana asked about the progress of the international trip.

The Chairperson responded that she had already requested that the process should be fast tracked, but was unaware of how far along the process was.

The meeting was adjourned

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