DanceSport competitive ballroom dancing is a competition where couples on a dance floor are compared to others by the most qualified judges.
The metrics for determining the winning couple include the execution and performance of various dance moves depending on a recognized or defined set of standards.
How Ballroom Dancesport Works
Audience participation is invited at DanceSport competitions. If you are part of the audience, you can call out your favorite couple using their designated number and cheer for them.
It will motivate the couple and might even get them recognized by the judges. All the dancers on the floor are divided depending on their proficiency (dancing skill level), dance styles and age to create a level playing field.
As their proficiency and dancing skills improve, any couple will be moved up to the next level and compete against dancers at that level.
Judges who oversee the entire competition are certified by different Professional DanceSport Organizations. The judges are former competitors or current instructors. The adjudication process can both the subjective and objective.
That’s why several judges will oversee the competition to guarantee fairness. Some of the things judges look for in the competitors include the following:
- Correct Musical Timing
- Pleasing Lines
- Appropriate Characterization
- Overall performance.
Besides these characteristics, the judges will also look for elements that relate to the couple’s dancing partnership which include the following:
- How does the couple hold each other? Does it appear pleasant and relaxed? Is it symmetrical?
- Does the couple appear grounded? Are they using their bodies, legs, and feet to provide a powerful and controlled movement on the dance floor?
- How connected does the couple appear? Does each partner meet their follow or lead role in the correct way without affecting the other in a negative way? Does the couple appear synchronized effortlessly?
- How well does the couple navigate through the floor with the other couples present? Does the couple do so effortlessly without bumping or interfering with anyone else on the floor?
With a large judging panel, every philosophy or views about dance will be represented.
Since some judges represent some factors mentioned above over others, there is complete fairness.
The couples on the floor also have a huge challenge of trying to get the judge’s attention since there are so many couples on the floor and the judges might pay very little attention to each couple before moving on. That’s where the audience participation comes in handy.
In the first rounds, the judges will be asked to call back a few dancers to move on to the next round. Couples with the most marks and who the judges think are the best will move on to the next round.
At least 6 or 7 couples will reach the final round. Here, the skating method will be used to determine the final results.
The couple with the highest marks overall will be the winner of the competition. In the event of a tie, there are rules to determine who will be given the highest marks.
Here, a Scrutineer (an official) will be used to tabulating the results from all the judge’s marks throughout the entire event then, doing the necessary calculations to determine the right placement for the couples.
It is complex and happens quite rarely but when it does, the tiebreaker rules apply to determine the winner and so on.
Let’s Take a Peek at What Happens Behind the Scenes at a Ballroom Dance Competition
About Pro-Am Category In DanceSport
Besides the skilled levels mentioned above, there is a Pro-Am category where the amateur students take a professional dancer as a partner.
In this category, the professional will be judged and he/she can dance with all the students available and compete with other dancers of similar skill. In this category, all the dance styles are available so you can choose anything you want to do.
Depending on the competition you have enrolled in, there should be different age division breakdowns and people are allowed to compete in a different age category.
Note that, the competitions will be divided into a syllabus thus the competitors will be restricted to the most appropriate dance steps for their experience level.
If you have an instructor, he/she should teach you the choreography for the competition beforehand, to prepare you fully for the competition. A competitor can choose any dance style they prefer and he/she will not be limited to just one.
They include international Latin dance styles, the international standard dance styles, the American Rhythm, and the American Smooth dance styles.
Each of these styles has its own subcategories where competitors are free to choose from. Another thing to worry about before participating in the event would be the overall cost.
For instance, you need to pay the dance instructor then buy tickets to the event and also pay the entry fees.
There are a few discounts available so you can find out the best way to make it cheaper with the packages available. Take a Peek at What Happens Behind the Scenes at a Ballroom Dance Competition.