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Magazine » May June 2012 Issue » American Dancer EXCLUSIVE: Official Celebrity Ambassador

American Dancer EXCLUSIVE: Official Celebrity Ambassador

Michael Mecham
Date Published:
May 1, 2012

At the 2012 USA Dance National DanceSport Championships, honorary celebrity judge Carrie Ann Inaba returned to present the Star Quality Awards to this year's competitors who have that extra intangible "X factor" that draws an audience in. Carrie Ann also became the first official National Celebrity Ambassador for USA Dance and shared some of her thoughts about her new responsibility and the growing popularity of ballroom dancing around the country.

American Dancer- As the official National Celebrity Ambassador for USA Dance, what are some of your roles and responsibilities?

Carrie Ann Inaba-Part of my role is to further the mission of USA Dance. We want more people dancing, and we want to improve the quality of dancing out there. What's so wonderful about USA Dance is they are open to trying new things. That's what the Star Quality Award is all about. It's outside the normal restriction of judging. I get to judge people based on that "X factor" where their technique may not be perfect, but they still have something special. I think that will help grow the sport because then you have people that may have that certain quality, that appeals to mass public, heading towards the Olympics. Because what do we want? We want DanceSport in the Olympics.

AD-Do you have any ideas about how USA Dance can reach out to more people and draw more people into the sport?

CA-You know what I would love to see? I would love to see USA Dance take the winners of the national competition and utilize them more, doing more showcases so that the American public could see these people up close and get a sense of what its like to be at a real ballroom dance competition. I think people would be flocking to these events, and I think we want to raise that kind of awareness.

AD-This is the third national competition you have attended, how has your perspective of the sport changed over the years?

CA-I didn't come from the ballroom dance world. I was a professional dancer in the commercial world, so ballroom dance has always been something fascinating and otherworldly to me, and I think it's that way for most of America. But now that Dancing With the Stars has been on now for 14 seasons, I think we have grown to love the formality and the technique and the connection between man and woman that is formed during this kind of dancing. I think that is what is so alluring to people. You have the competitive element of it, but you also have the elegance put together, plus a lot of sequins and a lot of spray tans, which is always fun for everybody.