General rules for all competitions
To compete at our event, you must:
- Have a pass eligible for comps (any pass except party pass & at the door entry)
- Register for each competition by the official entry deadline. (See the weekend schedule.)
- Pay any required entry fees.
- Meet all other specific entry requirements outlined in these rules.
Multiple registrations are allowed. You may choose to enter any competitions for which you meet the specific entry requirements. However, if you enter more than one couples competition (Strictly Swing, Rising Star), you must dance with a different partner each time. It is possible to compete in one level division and additionally in any open/age-based divisions.
Dancing in a non-traditional role
You are allowed to enter any competition in any role. You can dance different competitions in different roles. You can only compete in one role for leveled divisions (e.g. Jack & Jill Novice, Strictly Swing Novice). The level you compete in is determined by your WSDC point registry status. If you don't have points in your non-traditional role, you can compete 1 level down or petition for 2 levels down (e.g. male with leader points in advanced and no follower points can dance follower intermediate or petition for follower novice.)
Submitting a petition
If you want to enter a competition for which you do not meet the entry requirements, or want to change divisions, you should submit a petition. When you register, write a brief explanation describing the reason(s) for your request and submit it before the registration deadline. Include contact information (such as your cell phone number or hotel room number) so staff may reach you during the event.
Our competition director and chief judge will review your petition and approve or deny your request. Our competition staff will notify you as soon as possible of the decision. If you are requesting to change divisions, you should be prepared to compete in the original division if your petition is denied.
Our verification of your eligibility
We will verify that you are eligible for the competitions you enter by checking the World Swing Dance Council (WSDC) Points Registry and other sources of information, if applicable. In some cases (for example, if you submit a petition or do not have the required WSDC points), we may reassign you to a different division. (See swingdancecouncil.com for details about points.)
If you have concerns that other contestants are entered in an incorrect division or are ineligible, please inform our chief judge privately, as soon as possible. We will investigate and take appropriate action, if necessary.
If we determine before or during a competition that you have registered for the wrong division or are not eligible, we will reassign you to the correct division (if possible) or allow you to withdraw. If we discover your error after the finals, we may drop you (and your partner) out of awards. If we made the error and assigned you incorrectly, no penalty will be applied.
Our responsibilities as the organizer
- Selecting the competition officials. We will select a panel of judges, chief judge, scorer, referee judge, review panel, MCs, and competition DJs. We will provide the names of these officials prior to the event on our website. Our MC will announce the judges for each competition at the start of the competition. There will be a minimum of 5 judges for all competitions.
- Determining the rules and schedule. We will determine the rules for our competitions and post them in advance on our website. We will also post a full weekend schedule listing the times for all meetings, competitions, and awards. We will follow our posted schedule as much as possible. If we need to make any last-minute changes, we will announce them at the event.
- Registering contestants and verifying eligibility. We will collect entries from eligible competitors in advance and at the event. We will verify that you are eligible for each competition you enter. We will assign bib numbers to Strictly Swing leaders and Jack & Jill leaders and followers.
- Holding all competitions, or modifying them if necessary. We will do everything we can to hold all competitions as planned. If necessary, we may extend the registration deadline or change the eligibility requirements (for example, by combining divisions) if we receive insufficient entries. If we must cancel a competition, we will refund your entry fee, and we may invite you to perform an exhibition instead.
- Scoring the results. We will select a qualified scorer. We will use callbacks for all preliminary and semifinal heats, and relative placement for all finals.
- Announcing the results and presenting awards. We will announce the results of all competitions at our awards ceremony. Our scorer will post scores for public examination for approximately 1 hour after the announcement of the results and presentation of awards.
Your responsibilities as a competitor
- Planning ahead. You may register for competitions in advance or at the event (during times listed on the schedule). If you register in advance, you should plan to pick up your bib number(s) at the event. Be sure to check for any last-minute changes to the schedule.
- Knowing the rules. You should read the rules carefully prior to the competition. You are responsible for following the rules whether or not you have read them. If you have any questions, you should ask them at the contestant meeting or contact our chief judge ahead of time.
- Attending the competitors meeting. We will hold a brief meeting for the following competitions: Rising Star, Strictly Swing, Jack & Jill
Attendance at this meeting is optional. At the meeting, a representative of each couple will draw for dance order. If you and your partner both miss the meeting, we will ask someone else to draw for you.
- Being prepared to compete. You should be in the ballroom at least 15 minutes before your competition. During the competitions, we use marshalling to prepare the following heats prior dancing. Check which heat you are dancing in before the competition starts and follow the call for marshalling immediately. For Strictly Swing and Jack & Jill competitions, remember to bring your bib number. If you miss the competition (or withdraw after the registration deadline), you will forfeit your entry fee.
- Demonstrating good sporting conduct at all times. You must demonstrate good sporting conduct at all times, both on and off the competition floor. This includes treating your partners, other competitors, competition officials, spectators, and the event itself with respect. Demonstrating a poor attitude by behaving in ways that our chief judge, judging panel, or other competition officials deem inappropriate or disrespectful may result in a violation penalty or disqualification.
- Using appropriate channels to communicate your concerns. If you have questions or concerns about our competitions, you should use appropriate channels to share your concerns, such as at the contestant meeting or in private discussion with our chief judge. You are not allowed to confront, pressure, challenge, or argue with individual judges. If you harass or verbally abuse a judge or other competition official, we may disqualify you and may also ban you from competing at our events in the future.
- Reviewing your scores. You may review this information to see how you did. If you are unable to review your scores at the event, you also may contact our competition director after the event.
Dance requirements for competitions
The following dance requirements apply to all our competitions. If our judges determine that you have failed to meet one or more of these requirements, they may assign a violation penalty.
- Minimum swing content guidelines. This is a swing dance event. Therefore, our judges will expect to see recognizable swing content from both partners. Guidelines about swing content are provided under the format for each competition. Our judges will determine whether or not you have met our swing content requirement. If you fail to meet this requirement, you may earn a violation penalty.
- Social dance skills emphasis. Our Jack & Jill and Strictly Swing competitions are designed to showcase good social dance skills in spontaneous swing dancing. All dancing in these competitions should consist of lead/follow moves. Prearranged choreography is allowed only in routines performed in Rising Star.
- Connection. Swing is a connected partner dance. You must maintain physical contact with your partner throughout the dance, except for spins, turns, short breakaways, and recoveries. (Rising Star you may also break contact for acrobatic maneuvers.)
- Partner weight support moves (“tricks”). Like other patterns, these moves will be judged according to the standard criteria of timing, teamwork, and technique. Any moves that our judges deem unsafe may earn a violation penalty. When in doubt, leave it out.
We distinguish between two types of partner weight support moves:
- “In the air” support moves: In these moves, both feet of one partner are clearly off the floor. Lifts, aerials, and some acrobatic maneuvers are examples. “In the air” support moves are allowed only in Rising Star (where such moves are optional).
- “On the ground” support moves: In these moves, you and your partner both maintain physical contact with the floor. Drops, leans, circular movements, leveraged slides, and splits are examples. “On the ground” support moves are allowed in all competitions. However, any moves that our judges deem unsafe may earn a violation penalty. When in doubt, leave it out.
- Appropriate behavior and attire. It is our desire to encourage expressive and exciting dance performances without sacrificing quality of dancing and good taste. To maintain this balance, we encourage you to put on a good show (including humor where appropriate) but within the context of presenting solid dance fundamentals.
Keep in mind that all ages (including young dancers) will be present at our event, and that your performance might be streamed live online and recorded. Any action that our judges believe would make them uncomfortable in social dancing (such as inappropriate touching or simulating sexual behavior) may earn a violation penalty.
Check with our chief judge in advance if you have any questions regarding the acceptability of your choreography or competition attire.
Requesting a restart
This only applies to Rising Star or spotlighted dances.
You may request a restart only in certain cases, such as:
- You break a shoe or lose a vital piece of clothing.
- Our DJ plays the wrong music for your routine.
- Our sound system fails during your dance.
You may not request a restart simply because you are dissatisfied with your performance, partner, or music, or because you fail to remember part of your routine.
You must request a restart prior to your departure from the floor, and our chief judge must approve your request. Our chief judge may also call for a restart at any time.
- Music for our Jack & Jill and Strictly Swing competitions. Our competition DJ will select all music for our Jack & Jill and Strictly Swing competitions. Music for finals spotlight dances will be approximately the same length of time for each couple. The exact time of fade out is left to the DJ’s discretion to maximize the effectiveness of the music. If our judges need more time to determine callbacks or final placements, our chief judge may ask our competition DJ to play additional music.
- Music for Rising Star. You must provide your own music for your routine. You must submit your music to our competition DJ at least 3 hours prior to your competition. If possible, please bring your music to floor trials (see the weekend schedule). Please supply your music to the DJ on a USB flash drive. You may also want to bring a backup copy on a CD (marked with your name and the competition you are entering). You are responsible for retaining additional practice copies. You may reclaim your music from our competition DJ after the competition. Any music not reclaimed by the conclusion of the weekend will be discarded.
Our judging criteria
You will be judged on the following criteria:
- Timing. Swing is danced beginning on the downbeat. Good timing includes not only dancing on the correct beat but finer distinctions such as whether you are dancing to the syncopated “swing” of the music. Your syncopations and footwork also need to be on time.
- Teamwork. Swing is a connected partner dance. Demonstrating this connection through lead/follow or action/reaction with your partner is an expected part of any swing dance competition. A balanced performance of give-and-take with your partner should be your goal. Ignoring, disrespecting, or jeopardizing the safety of your partner indicates poor teamwork. Compensating and adjusting for your partner is an expected part of good teamwork.
- Technique. How well you execute the movements in your dance constitutes technique. Good technique includes clean execution and completion of dance elements such as control of balance and weight, foot placement, body lines, and spins and turns.
- Choreography. Choreography is the selection and order of movements and transitions during your dance. Such choreography may be spontaneous (for example, in a Jack & Jill) or prearranged in a routine (for example, in Rising Star). Good choreography demonstrates an intimate connection with the music and the ability to match patterns and syncopations to the phrasing of the music. It also includes identifiable swing patterns in order to provide variety and contrast.
- Musical interpretation. Good musical interpretation consists of adjusting the flow of your dance to fit the style, tempo, mood, and rhythm variations in the music. You should strive to demonstrate the ability to hear and interpret nuances in the music throughout your dance.
- Presentation. Creating an atmosphere of excitement by inviting interest in your performance is the desired effect of good presentation. Good presentation begins with your selection of appropriate attire. While providing a good show is one aspect of presentation, it cannot substitute for good dancing. You should aim primarily for demonstrating positive chemistry as a couple. Gratuitous mugging to the audience or the judges may result in a lower score. Good sporting conduct before, during, and after your dance is also an expected element of good presentation.
For all competitions, appropriate attire is required.
Jack & Jill
Our Jack & Jill competitions are designed to highlight skills in spontaneous West Coast Swing dancing with a variety of partners and music. A bit of “luck of the draw” comes into play as well. Competitors enter as individuals, are randomly assigned partners, and dance to music selected by our competition DJ.
To enter, you must be at least 13 years old. If you are under 18, you must have the consent of your parent or guardian to compete, and you should be comfortable social dancing with adults on a regular basis.
We are offering 4 divisions. There is no limit on the total number of entries in each division.
You may choose to enter as either a “leader” or “follower.” There are no gender restrictions for your chosen role as long as you meet the following criteria:
- You may enter only one Jack & Jill skill level division (Newcomer, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced/All-Stars). You must remain in that same role throughout the competition (prelims, semifinals, and finals).
- In most cases, you should enter the highest division for which you qualify in your chosen role.
- If you are on the border between two divisions, we recommend that you stay in the lower division until you have earned the WSDC points to move up and have at least one 1st place win.
- Points earned in one role do not qualify you to dance at the same level in the opposite role.
- If you want to enter a division for which you do not meet the entry requirements, or want to change divisions, or believe you qualify for a higher division, you should submit a petition. For example, if previous placements are not recorded in the WSDC Points Registry, list them in your petition.
- If you are unclear about which division is right for you, check with our chiefjudge before you register.
Jack & Jill divisions
Newcomer Jack & Jill. This division is intended for dancers with no or almost no competition experience. Only people that are not listed in the WSDC point registry database are allowed to enter.
Novice Jack & Jill. This division is intended for dancers with limited prior competition experience. To enter this division, you should know basic West Coast Swing (WCS) patterns like Starter step, Basic throwout, Tuck and turn throwout, Underarm turn, Left side pass, Right side pass, Push break, Whip. You may enter the Novice division if any of the following apply:
- You are relatively new to competition, and you haven’t earned any WSDC points; or
- You have earned fewer than 15 Novice points; or
- You have earned 15 or more Novice points but have not won 1st place; or
- You submit a successful petition to compete at this level.
Intermediate Jack & Jill. This division is intended for dancers with some previous competition experience and success. You may enter this division if any of the following apply:
- You have earned 15 or more Novice points and are ready to move up to the Intermediate level; or • You have earned 1 to 29 Intermediate points; or
- You have earned 30 or more Intermediate points but have not won 1st place; or
- You submit a successful petition to compete at this level.
Advanced/All-Stars Jack & Jill. This division is intended for dancers with significant competition experience and success. You may enter this division if any of the following apply:
- You have earned 30 or more Intermediate points and are ready to move up to the Advanced level; or
- You have earned 1 to 44 Advanced points within the past 3 years; or
- You have earned 45 or more Advanced points but have not won 1st place; or
- You are an All-Star level dancers but the event does not offer an AllStar division; or
- You submit a successful petition to compete at this level.
Invitational Jack & Jill. This division is by invitation only.
- All dancing in our Jack & Jill competitions should be lead/follow. Pre-choreographed routines are not allowed.
- Our judges will expect to see at least 90 percent recognizable swing content. For our Jack & Jill divisions, a majority of the swing content must be West Coast Swing.
- You and your partner must maintain physical contact except for spins, turns, short breakaways, and recoveries.
- “In the air” partner weight support moves (lifts, aerials) and acrobatic maneuvers are not allowed.
- “On the ground” support moves (such as drops) are allowed. However, you and your partner must both maintain physical contact with the floor during support moves.
- Support moves must be lead/follow social dance patterns that take the safety of your partner and other couples into consideration. Any moves that our judges deem unsafe may earn a violation penalty. When in doubt, leave it out.
- Costumes are not allowed. However, competition outfits suitable for social dancing are acceptable. Appropriate attire is required.
- For the Novice (Tier 3 competitions), we plan to hold 3 rounds: preliminaries, semifinals, and finals. For the other divisions, we plan to hold 2 rounds: semifinals and finals. However, we may add or omit a preliminary or semifinal round in any division, depending on the number of entries.
- During the preliminary and semifinal rounds, you will dance in heats with several partners selected randomly. Although you will be judged individually on a callback basis, you must demonstrate good teamwork with all your partners to advance to the next round.
- If there is an imbalance in the number of leaders and followers, some contestants will dance twice. However, even if your name is not called, you should remain in the ballroom throughout the competition, in case any additional competitors are needed at the last minute to dance again.
- Our chief judge will determine the exact number of finalists after our scorer has tallied the results of the callbacks.
- In the finals, we will use a random drawing (or some other random method) to determine your partner. No redraws will be permitted for any reason – it’s luck of the draw. Finalists will be judged as couples.
- For our Jack & Jill divisions, finals will be hold in the following format:
- Newcomer: All-Skate
- Novice: Push-Out Spotlight with 2-3 couples in parallel
- Intermediate, Advanced/All-Star: Spotlight
- Additional all-skate dances in finals can be requested by the judges.
- Eligible finalists in all divisions will earn WSDC points according to current WSDC policies. (See swingdancecouncil.com for details.)
We award the three highest placed couples in all competitions at the event.
We award event passes to international events. Unless stated otherwise for individual passes, the placeing competitors can choose between event passes in order of their placement (i.e. 1st place chooses first, then 2nd, and so on).
Disclaimer and copyright notice
We will make every effort to conduct all competitions in accordance with these rules. However, we reserve the right to make any changes that we deem necessary for any competition. If we need to make any changes to our competitions or to these rules, we will post them on our website (if possible) or announce them at the event.
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