While not all dancers choose to compete, dancing in a competition can foster self-esteem for young dancers.
Dancesport is the name given to competitive Ballroom Dancing. Competitions are held on local, regional, National, and International levels. Dancers compete in groups against other dancers of the same age and skill level. Although competition may bring visions of elaborate costumes, covered in rhinestones, in a competition sponsored by USA Dance, there are strict and simple guidelines for costumes. See the Rulebook (section 3.11) for the dress code.
Dancers are grouped by skill level, age, and dance style. They are compared with other couples by qualified judges, on relative performance and execution using a defined and recognized set of standards.
As skills and proficiency improve they advance and move up to the next higher level and compete against dancers at the higher proficiency level.
Age groups are based on the individual’s age. To determine a dancer’s age for a competition, subtract his/her birth year from the current calendar year..
|Pre-Teen I||Reach 9th birthday or less in the calendar year|
|Pre-Teen II||Reach 10th or 11th birthday in the calendar year|
|Junior I||Reach 12th or 13th birthday in the calendar year|
|Junior II||Reach 14th or 15th birthday in the calendar year|
|Youth||Reach 16th, 17th, or 18th birthday in the calendar year|
There are four major styles or divisions of dances: International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, and American Rhythm. Each style and each of the 4 or 5 dances within that style has distinct characteristics.
Each dance has a list of recognized steps associated with it. This list of steps is known as the “Syllabus.” The syllabus for each dance is broken into three levels, called bronze, silver, and gold steps. These steps are grouped together because of the level of difficulty. Once a dancer has mastered the Syllabus steps, he/she may dance in “Open Categories”: Novice, Pre Championship and Championship. See all rules and bylaws here.