60 minutes • Documentary • Produced in association with: The National Film Board and The CBC • Production year: 1997
The Dancing Game is a film about passions for recognition, for money, for glory, and for the perfectly executed Cha Cha Cha.
On April 6, 1995, Juan Antonio Samaranch, the head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), sent a long-awaited message to Rudi Baumann, the Treasurer of the International Dance Sport Federation (IDSP). After 13 years of lobbying, the IOC had elevated dancesport to the status of “Recognized Federation”- the first step towards participation in the Olympic Games. The competition for this classification is fierce. More then a dozen international sports bodies applied. Only three got it: surfing, rugby, and dancesport, better known as ballroom dancing.
The players at the heart of the ferocious lobbying effort for acceptance into the Olympic program include European aristocrats, bankers, business moguls, and thousands of registered amateur competitors who Cha Cha, Samba and Rumba their way across the world’s dance floors. In two years, this new sport – worth $500 million in the U.S alone – may become a permanent part of the Summer Olympics’ line-up, and the only sport other than ice-dancing in which the two gender compete together,
Against the horizon of ballroom dancing’s larger hopes, we set the personal struggle of two couples. Claude Crevier and Kathy McCraw are the Canadian Amateur Latin Champions. They are amateurs in the classical definition of their own country. They hold down full-time jobs and have to scrimp and save to take lessons from top coaches and attend international competitions. Ralf and Olga Muller are the German Amateur Latin Champions, enjoying superstar status in Europe. Their only job is to practice – all day, every day – thanks to the help of sponsors and revenues from the family dance school. The two couples share a love of dance and a desire to be World Champions. They face off on the dance floor at the World Amateur Lain Championships in Kassel Germany… a prelude, perhaps to a future battle for Olympic Gold.
Directed by: Christa Schadt
Written by: Matthew Hart and Simcha Jacobovici
Producers: Elliott Halpern and Simcha Jacobovici