Competitions - What To Expect


On competition day, we leave the Parkinson Steps early in the morning, travel by coach to the competition and don’t arrive back in Leeds till late.  Times and prices will be confirmed nearer the time of each competition, but on average we leave before 7 am, get back after 12 am and the cost of the competition and coach is approximately £25, which should be paid to the Treasurer before the day of the competition.  However, this varies depending on the competition. It is important that everyone is there before the coach is due to leave as unfortunately we will not be able to wait for you.


When you arrive at the competition, each partnership will be given a number by your captains, which the lead dancer (male or female) pins on their back.  It should be placed in the center so it can be clearly seen. You will dance in a heat with many other couples and be marked by the judges.  If you gain sufficient marks, you will be recalled to dance again; this procedure is repeated until the event has 6 couples remaining.


Parents and friends are always welcome and actively encouraged to come and support the team.


Top Tips:
  • Get to bed early the night before so you are well rested for the long day ahead – it’s a long day but lots of fun!

  • Have lots of food and drink (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as there are not always places around to buy food.  

  • Bring some money: buy anything from stalls at the venue including food/drink or anything dance related.

  • Bring safety pins for your number (especially lead dancers)

  • Bring a shoe brush if you have one.

  • Bring something warm to wear off the dance floor such as your Dancesport hoodie.


Remember competitions are meant to be fun so don’t get too stressed about them and remember to cheer loudly and support the rest of the team!


What to Wear - Beginners and Novice (Restricted Dress)

At Beginner and Novice level there are restrictions on what you are allowed to wear, which have been set and are enforced by IVDA.  This includes: any sparkles, sequins, diamantes, feathers or glitter larger than a 7x7cm template. Unfortunately if you break one of these rules you will be asked to change.  If you are unsure whether your outfit is suitable, please check the Team Captain.  Try and wear plain clothes with lots of movement and you shouldn’t have any problems.


As Leeds University Dancesport Team colours are black and gold, we expect all your competition dancewear to be black (apart from ladies shoes – recommended tan colour) and you will be lent a gold sash (females) or gold tie for ballroom (males) to wear during all dances at competitions.  This makes the team look professional and recognisable on the floor.



  • Ballroom - smart black trousers that are comfortable to dance in, white or black shirt and tie.  To make you look more professional, it is recommended you either wear a black or grey waistcoat or a slim fit black jumper.


  • Latin - smart black trousers with a black shirt (open collared) or top.  The only practice wear tops allowed are black turtle neck tops.


  • Shoes - Generally males only purchase one pair of shoes at first so it is recommended you wear Ballroom shoes with black socks, however, Latin shoes with a Cuban heel can be worn.


  • NO - no ruffled shirts, tight lycra or bright coloured rugby tops, this includes DSI shirts which you can buy.


  • Ballroom - a long skirt or dress, must be below the knee and should be just above ankle length.  You will need to be able to move and stretch out in it and take big steps so make sure it’s not too tight.


  • Latin - Ra-ra skirt and top or skater (or similar) dress.  It is recommended if your skirt is very short you wear black hot pants underneath to protect your modesty.  If you decide to wear tights, make sure you bring a spare pair in case yours ladder.


  • Shoes - It is recommended ladies first purchase Latin shoes and they can be worn for both, but you are more than welcome to wear Ballroom shoes for ballroom.  It is not recommended to wear shop bought high heels as they don’t have the same support or flexibility.


  • NO - no tailor made dresses, skirts or tops (must be off the peg – need to be able to prove this), no practice wear dresses allowed or skirts with binding at bottom, no fringing, no gloves with adornment (sparkle) is allowed but bracelets may be worn over gloves.


  • Jewellery - recommended but not compulsory although please ensure that it does not get in your way whilst dancing. Rings and watches are not advised.  The team has a stock of jewellery which you can borrow or buy, or you can purchase your own.


What to Wear Intermediate and Advanced (Open Dress)

Ladies are allowed to wear their own stoned dresses, or we can supply one from team stock, however for the team match you will need to wear team colours.  Males are welcome to wear Dancesport jackets or tail suits.


For the Team Match, girls will be provided with a team dress by the equipment officer, assigned before the competition.



Hair and Make Up

Throughout the year there will be opportunities to learn how to style yourself for competitions including how to do your hair and make-up.  Unfortunately, styling is very important in looking professional on the floor and pleases judges so it’s important that we don’t just dance well but we also look good!


  • Men - it is very simple; you need tidy looking hair which won’t get in your way when dancing.  It is recommended that you slick your hair back with gel or hairspray, however it is not essential for your first competition.


  • Ladies - there is no set style prescribed however it must be off the face and tidily scraped off your face, usually in the form of a neat bun for Ballroom and bun, ponytail or plait for Latin.  The style you choose is up to you, feel free to experiment with swirls, twists, plaits and more but ensure your hair is securely fastened away from the face so it doesn’t get in the way of your smile.  Hair packs with everything you will need for competitions will be available to buy; please contact the Equipment Officer. 


  • Makeup - you want to emphasise your features under the harsh lighting of the competition floor.  Many people wear strong eye makeup with false eyelashes (not essential but lots of mascara is recommended) and bright lipstick.


  • Tanning - It is common for many females and some males, especially for the bigger competitions, to get a fake tan to stop them looking washed out on the floor, however this is not essential for beginners and there is no pressure to try one.

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