In a recent press release, Latin Dancesport World Champion, Stefano Di Filippo states that he will retire from the sport until his country changes their dance system. The Italian dance federation has banned its dancers from competing in the most elite competitions in the world in order to accomodate Olympic entries for Dancesport. It is a sad day today for ballroom dance fans, who have been following Di Filippo’s amazing career these past few years. Di Filippo’s personal statement is as follows:
Stefano Di Filippo – press release
Dear friends of the Dancing World,
I chose to speak to all of you in this great world of dance that we share, by using the most direct means of communication. Like all of us, at times we can feel like “hanging our shoes up” and stopping dancing, because maybe we reach a plateau, or find problems in our partnership, cost, or some other problem.
However, if you really want you can always find a way around the problem, everything is possible, real and valid!
But I believe it is not acceptable or valid to be put into a difficulty or problem by the choices and decisions of someone else, which is motivated by politics and power and not about dance.
In particular I am talking about the ban on dancing the biggest competitions in the world which are run in England such as the U.K, BRITISH and INTERNATIONAL Championships . For dancers they are, and have always been, something to build for and gauge your success throughout your career.
Recently I have been pressured not to dance in U.K. Competitions, and when on one occasion Olga and I were allowed to dance in England from our Federation, we found we have to suffer financial consequences after dancing !!??!!
When we danced recently in the International final, we enjoyed the experience so much and felt rejuvenated again as a dancer . Being surrounded once more by all the worlds top competitors and judges after our enforced isolation over the previous six month, felt great!!!
What was curios was the many compliments and praise offered by the worlds dancers, teachers, and judges, which was in sharp contrast to the silence and isolation shown to us after, by our Italian federation. I am not saying that all U.K. Competitions are great and all overseas competitions are bad, I am simply saying individually, we have the god given right in the year 2011 to decide for ourselves where and when we dance, and no one should be able to take that personal right to choose away from us.
I am who I am today as a result of my experiences over the last years in both I.D.S.F. and U.K. Competitions, and I value both equally, and feel as a dancer we should be able to compete in both and not have to concern ourselves with politics ! This letter is open to all of you to think about your position in this situation as we all are at moment. I would feel very bad if in the future, if more of you are placed under the same pressure I have been over the last year, which has obligated me to take the decision which sees me leaving the Italian Federation, and the country I love so much.
It is with a heavy heart I find myself out of F.I.D.S. and i will not return back until my freedom and the general goodwill and fairness returns to the Italian dance system. This is not just about me, I believe in a fair open system which is for all of us, in every country and every federation!
I am a dancer who strongly believes in the rules of the Olympic sport system, but I don’t understand at all, a sport without democracy .
Stefano Di Filippo
PS. My thanks goes to all the websites and papers that publish this in attempt to make our dance world a better place… ….enough is enough… !!!