What Is Dancesport Competitive Ballroom Dancing?

ballroom dance etiquettes feature

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.

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How Ballroom Dancesport Works: Quick Overview

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.

Different Professional DanceSport Organizations certify judges who oversee the entire competition.

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
  • Posture
  • Expression
  • Musicality
  • Pleasing Lines
  • Appropriate Characterization
  • Overall performance
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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 correctly lead role without negatively affecting the other? 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?

The judges will represent their philosophy or views about the dance.

Since some judges represent some factors mentioned above over others, there is complete fairness.

The couples on the floor also have a massive 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 get the highest score.

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

Summer Team Match 2016 from Dance With Me on Vimeo.

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 adequately 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 subcategories where competitors are free to choose.

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.

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5 thoughts on “What Is Dancesport Competitive Ballroom Dancing?”

  1. Jamiro Hazel

    I have always been a lover of watching ballroom dancing, The history of ballroom dancing is very interesting. I must say there isn’t anything more captivating than seeing how two people move on the dance floor.

    I have always loved dancing but I do not  think I am the ballroom type lol. your article was very interesting thanks so much for sharing. 

  2. Craig

    My wife and I just recently spent a few private lessons learning to Fox Trot, it was primarily to show off a bit at our wedding admittedly. But we absolutely loved it and had so much fun! We are still newbies, only about 5 hours of total practice or so.

    At what point would it make sense to even consider participating in a competition? How much skill and practice do you need before you’re not an embarrassment on the dance floor?

    1. Jonathan

      I think the great thing about ballroom competitions is that you get to compete with students that are at the same level as you. Probably against people that had the same amount of lessons. But, if it comes to winning then is all about how much time you and your partner practice in your own time… After that is all about getting feedback on how you did, and improve… Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by 😀

  3. Winslow

    In truth, I am not a dancer. I grew up in a strict family that believed that dancing was not something a young Christian boy should do. Now my wife, on the other hand, loves to dance. I am sure that it has been a disappointment that I did not share he love for dance. 

    As for the competitive dance, my two left feet would land me flat of my face in the middle of the floor. I do love watching the competitive dancing shows on TV but never thought about amateurs competing in with professional dancers.

    You explained the rules very well and I know if my wife sees your site she will bug me until we find one near to us.

    Lots of fun.


    1. Jonathan

      haha! I’m sure she will 🙂 Thank you Winslow for stopping by!… 

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