Competitive dance

Competitive dance

Competitive dance is a popular, widespread activity in which competition is the main focus and the competitors perform dances in any of several permitted dance styles-such as ballet, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, and tap. Couples perform several different dances in front of judges who evaluate and score each routine. The judges have scorecards for each couple and award points based on costumes, musicality, technique, appropriateness, skills, presentation, and showmanship. The couple with the most points is declared the winner.
Most competitions reward winners with trophies, ribbons, plaques, and medals, but some competitions give something more. Money and scholarships can also be presented at the more popular competitions.

DanceSport is the official name for competitive ballroom dancing. In a dancesport competition, couples dance together on the same floor while being judged on their speed, elegance, body action, and dramatic movements.

Skill levels:

In a dance competition, dancers show off and compare their skills with other dancers of the same level. The competitors are required to perform at least one dance from a particular division. As competitors move up in skill level, they are required to perform more dances in the category level.

The United States recognizes the following amateur skill levels for competition:
  • Championship
  • Pre-Championship
  • Novice

Age levels:

United States DanceSport competitions are divided into the following age levels:
  • Pre-Teen I: 9 years and under
  • Pre-Teen II: 10 and 11 years
  • Junior I: 12 and 13 years
  • Junior II: 14 and 15 years
  • Youth: 16-18 years
  • Adult A: 19-34 years
  • Adult B: 35-49years
  • Senior: 50 and older


The following is a list of events offered at a dance competition:

International Style Standard
  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Viennese Waltz
  • Foxtrot
  • Quickstep
Latin American
  • Cha Cha
  • Samba
  • Rumba
  • Paso Doble
  • Jive
American Style Smooth
  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Foxtrot
  • Viennese Waltz
American Rhythm
  • Cha Cha
  • Rumba
  • East Coast Swing
  • Bolero
  • Mambo
Miscellaneous Theater Arts
  • Cabaret
  • Night Club
  • West Coast Swing
  • Salsa
  • Hustle
  • Night Club Two Step

The competitive dance industry largely consists of competition production companies-also sometimes called dance competition companies-that organizes and conducts regional competitions at stops along their annual, nationwide tours. There are approximately 200 such companies operating in the United States and Canada alone. Competition production companies move from one metropolitan area to another, stopping for a few days in each area to conduct a regional competition.
Some companies also conduct one or more national competitions after their regional tours have ended.
Dancers must continuously train to maintain and improve their technique, balance skills, strength and flexibility. Competitive dancing requires dedication as many months may be spent practicing dance and developing dance routines.