By Duncan Mackay

DancesportDecember 9 - Dancesport is set to be included on the programme when the European Games makes its debut at Baku in 2015 in what could be the next step to it achieving Olympic recognition.

It is expected to be be confirmed as one of two non-Olympic sports, along with karate, when the full programme is finalised next March following the decision by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) in Rome yesterday to hold the Games.

Dancesport was the name invented originally to help competitive ballroom dancing gain Olympic recognition and the the international governing body, World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), is recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

The WDSF now embraces several different genres of dance and has a total of 88 members, 65 of whom are recognised by their National Olympic Committees. 

The move to include dancesport is bound to lead to criticism and derision but Patrick Hickey, President of the EOC, believes that it will help establish the European Games on the international calendar.

"The European Games are not meant to be a carbon copy of the Olympics," he told insidethegames.

"We want to be different, we want to be innovative."

Victoria Pendelton and Brendan Cole Strictly Come DancingOlympic cycling gold medallist Victoria Pendleton is among the stars to have appeared in the 2012 edition of BBC's Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing

Dancesport's growth has been massively helped by the popularity of shows like Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing, which started on the BBC in 2004 and is now shown in more than 40 countries around the world.

"We have taken note that all across Europe the big draws on TV are dance programmes which invariably involves an athlete," said Hickey.

"There will be different styles included [in the European Games] such as hip hop."

Dancesport made its debut at a major international event in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, where there were five events in standard dance and five in Latin.

China won the gold medal in all ten events.

Dancesport at 2010 Asian GamesDancesport was included on the programme for the 2010 Asian Games, including the Paso doble

Dancesport can trace its history back to 1907 when the first unofficial World Ballroom Championships were held in Paris. 

Originally founded in 1957 as the International Council of Amateur Dancers (ICAD), it took up the name International DanceSport Federation (IDSF) in 1990, becoming a member of General Association of International Sports Federations (GASIF) - now SportAccord - in 1992.

In 2011, it was renamed to WDSF to emphasise the global character of the organisation.

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