In January, Title IX enforcer Norma Cantu, then Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Education Department, paid a visit to IWF headquarters. IWF VP-Publisher Grace Terzian’s 9-year-old daughter, Gracie, attended the session in order to present the following letter to Ms. Cantu:
Dear Ms. Cantu,
At school the boys and the girls have a big argument of whether dance is a sport. The girls say it is a sport, and the boys say it is not. We are angry and frustrated and have formed a club called D.I.A.S., which stands for Dance Is a Sport.
We all like dance and several of us are serious dancers. I am one of the serios [sic] dancers, and the other dancers and I think it is a hard workout. You also have to stretch and exercise a lot to get in shape. I compete as an individual and also on a dance team.
We tell the boys that if gymnastics and diving and ice skating are sports, then why isn’t dance a sport? My friends and I would like to be able to get scholarship money for dance someday.
It would help us if the Dept. of Education would recognize dance as a sport.
Gracie’s letter raises an interesting point: Why are girls’ traditional activities, such as dance, cheerleading, and drill team, excluded from the federal government’s male/female proportionality quotas at colleges? Perhaps fewer male teams would have to be eliminated if these competitive, female-popular activities were included in the formula.
Explains IWF Director of Policy Kimberly Schuld, “Women’s groups have historically fought to keep ‘girl’ sports out of the Title IX picture in order to direct young women into previously male-dominated territories. But with so many women participating in sports today, it’s wrong to attempt to discourage women with more traditional tastes from doing what they love to do.”