It is up to you whether you want to compete or to dance socially, however if competing is on the cards, here are some things that you will need to know...
Beginners – those who have had less than 1 year of ballroom and latin experience (steps and dresses restricted). Basic competitions are Beginner Waltz, Beginner Quickstep, Beginner Cha and Beginner Jive
Novice – those who have been dancing for over a year and who have started to build up some experience (steps and dresses restricted). Basic competitions are: Novice Waltz and Quickstep, Novice Cha Cha and Jive.
Pre-Intermediate - For dancers who have been dancing for years, but perhaps lack experience in competitions. Steps and dress is unrestricted in this category
Intermediate – for dancers who have been dancing for several years. Steps and dresses are not restricted. Intermediate dancers usually do a three dance ballroom and a three dance latin routine.
Intermediate Ballroom - Waltz, Viennese Waltz and Quickstep.
Intermediate Latin - Cha Cha, Paso Doble and Jive.
Advanced – for the advanced dancers.
Advanced dancers usually do a four dance ballroom and a four dance latin routine.
Advanced Ballroom - Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot and Quickstep
Advanced Latin - Cha cha, Samba, Paso Doble, Jive
Open events – these are open to anyone and vary depending on the competition. They could include Rock n Roll, Salsa and any other of the other 10 dances
For any new members of the team who are not beginners, please speak to the Team Captains for advice on the appropriate category to enter.
What to Expect
We’ll all meet at Parkinson steps on the morning of the competition and travel as a team. Many people like to do their hair before they get on the coach and then do their makeup on the way to the comp. We’ll make sure to point out all the competitors from Leeds so we can all cheer each other. When we arrive, we quickly get changed, and you’ll be given a number for the leader to wear. This is your number for the whole day and will be shouted if you make rounds, so make sure you know it!
Ballroom is first. You’ll always dance round 1 in each category you’ve entered, and then your number will be called for all subsequent rounds you make. When we’re not dancing we cheer on all the other Leeds couples, and everyone else will be cheering for you when you dance! Ballroom presentations are awarded, and then we get changed for rock n roll (usually the middle of the day) and then Latin. Latin works the same way as ballroom.
At the end of the day we have team match, and this is where the girls get to wear one of the fancy team dresses. You dance in a team of 4 couples and all your marks are added together to see if you make it into the next round. This is where get the pom poms out and cheer like mad for all the teams. We then pack up and return to Leeds and start training for the next comp!
Time to get serious! These are some rules to keep in mind for the smooth running of competitions whilst you're dancing:
You are restricted to syllabus steps in the Beginner and Novice sections. The routines you are taught in class will adhere to these rules. (Intermediate, Advanced and Open level categories are free from restrictions).
You are restricted to non-competition wear in the Beginner and Novice sections. If you are interested in investing in some dance wear it is best to identify clothing labelled 'practice wear'. Intermediate, Advanced and Open categories allow competition wear and professional couture.
Ensure you are ready when your number is announced, as you will not be allowed a second opportunity if you miss your heat
Show courtesy when you are on the floor. Watch out for other dancers and try not to cause collisions. Remember, it looks much better to stop mid-routine and continue/restart into clear space than to crash and restart.
Show courtesy to your partner. Walk on and off the floor together and bow/curtsey at least to each other, if not to the audience, before and after each dance.
Show support to dancers currently on the floor. Don't obstruct their space and engage only in complimentary or positive audience participation.
A list of the syllabus steps allowed for beginners and novice can be found here.
A list of restricted dress published by IVDA can be found here.
For the Official rules of the Inter-Varsity circuit, speak to the Team Captains.