Rules & Policies
Important Rules and Policies
Amateur Competitor Rules & Regulations
For the most up to date rules, please go here at
X. RULES FOR AMATEUR COMPETITORS
The rules in this section refer to amateur partnerships (one amateur dancer partnered by another amateur dancer)
X. RULES FOR AMATEUR COMPETITORS
A. AGE CATEGORY CLASSIFICATIONS
1. Age classifications, "a" through "f', will become effective on the individual's actual birthday. On a
year where a competitor is going to move from one classification to the next they may make this
change anytime during a 60-day period that begins 30 days prior to their birthday and ends 30 days
following their birthday.
a. Pre-Teen I: 9 years old or younger
b. Pre-Teen II: lO'h or 11th birthday
c. Junior I: 12th or 13'h birthday
d. Junior II: 14'h or 15'h birthday
e. Youth: 16th, 1 Th or 18th birthday
f. Under 21: At least one of the partners is at least 16 years old, and under 21 years old, on the day
of the competition, and neither member of the partnership is over 21 years of age on
the day of the competition.
g. Adult: l 9'h birthday or greater
(1) Senior I: One partner must have reached his or her 35'h birthday or greater and the other
partner must have reached his or her 30'" birthday or greater.
(2) Senior II: One partner must have reached his or her 45'h birthday or greater and the other
partner must have reached his or her 40'" birthday or greater.
(3) Senior III: One partner must have reached his or her 55'h birthday or greater and the other
partner must have reached his or her 50'" birthday or greater.
2. Organizers may combine age classifications as follows:
a. Pre-Teen I and Pre-Teen II into a single Pre-Teen classification.
b. Junior I and Junior II into a single Junior classification.
c. Senior I, Senior II, and Senior III into a single Senior classification.
d. Organizers may combine classifications not listed above by obtaining written permission from the
3. Organizers may offer additional age category competitions, such as "Under 21 ",etc.
4. Competitors may dance "up" or "down" as follows:
a. Pre-Teen I competitors may dance up one age classification to "Pre-Teen II".
b. Pre-Teen II competitors may dance up one age classification to "Junior I".
( 1) Pre-teen II competitors who dance up to junior must remain in the approved pre-teen
costumes. This rule applies to the individual, not to the couple - if only one member of the
partnership is a bonafide Junior age competitor then only that individual may wear a "Junior"
c. Junior I competitors may dance up one age classification to "Junior II".
d. Junior II competitors may dance up one age classification to "Youth".
e. Youth competitors may dance up to the Adult classification.
f. When an organizer combines age classifications (Pre-Teen I & II, Junior I & II or Senior I, II &
III) competitors may dance up or down as follows:
(1) Only Pre-Teen II age category competitors may dance up into the combined Junior age
(2) Combined Juniors may dance up into the combined Youth age category.
(3) Combined Seniors may dance down into the adult age category.
5. The following rules apply to competitors age 18 and under:
a. For Youth, Junior I and Junior II partnerships, one of the individuals may be no more than two
age classifications younger.
b. If one of the individuals in the partnership is two age classifications younger, then the younger
member of the partnership must request permission in writing from the NDCA Ballroom
Department and in tum receive written approval prior to being allowed to compete. (example - a
"Pre-Teen II" girl wishing to compete with a "Junior II" age boy)
( 1) If written permission is given for the individual to dance up two age classifications, then that
person may not return again to dance in the original younger age classification that they "gave
c. If one of the individuals in the partnership is one age classification younger, then the younger
member of the partnership may request permission in writing from the NDCA Ballroom
Department to relinquish their age classification and be allowed to move up one age classification.
This request will generally be allowed only if the individual making the request is already within
one year of reaching the next age classification.
d. Under no circumstance will a Pre-Teen I, Pre-Teen II, or a Junior I competitor be allowed to
compete in the Adult age classification.
e. A Junior II competitor may not apply for permission to dance up as an Adult until they are 15
years old, at which time they would need to apply to the Ballroom Department as noted above.
f. Youth competitors turning 19 years of age in the calendar year may still dance as youths until they
have graduated from "High School".
6. A couple's age classification eligibility is defined as the age of the older partner for the Pre-Teen I,
Pre-Teen II, Junior I, Junior II, Youth and Adult classifications, while it is defined as the age of the
younger partner for the Senior classifications.
B. PROFICIENCY CLASSIFICATIONS
Competition proficiency categories may be offered as follows:
1. Syllabus. Restricted to "medalist" level figures (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Novice Bronze, Novice Silver,
Novice Gold, Etc).
2. Novice. Open Syllabus. It is recommended that 'Novice" competitions generally be restricted to two
(2) of the allowed dances for each style.
3. Pre-Championship. Open Syllabus. It is recommended that "Pre-Championship" competitions
generally be restricted to three or four (3-4) of the allowed dances for each style.
4. Open Amateur. Open syllabus. All of the dances in each style must be done in this category in all
rounds, and in the order prescribed.
C. ELIGIBILITY DEFINITIONS
1. A competitor is eligible to dance in the "Syllabus", "Novice" and/or "Pre-Championship" proficiency
classifications until they accumulate three proficiency points. There is no limit to the number of
proficiency points that may be accumulated in the "Open Amateur" level.
2. A competitor receives one point when they either a) place first in their current classification when a
quarter-final was danced, or b) dance in the final of a higher proficiency event where a quarter-final
3. In the "Syllabus" categories proficiency points should be accumulated independently for each dance.
4. The eligibility to compete in a classification is applied to individual amateur competitors and not the
couple as an entity.
5. An amateur couple is only eligible to compete in a classification if both members of the couple are
6. An amateur competitor's eligibility is based on his/her accomplishments regardless of the number or
length of partnerships they have had.
7. It is the responsibility of all amateur competitors to ensure that they are eligible for the category in
which they desire to dance.
8. An amateur competitor may enter at most two consecutive proficiency classifications in any particular
style and age group at a particular competition.
9. An amateur competitor's ineligibility begins at the conclusion of the competition in which his/her
third point was acquired. In this case the word "competition" refers to the entire event (generally a
10. An amateur competitor's proficiency level as a Pro/Am shall not be used in determining his/her
amateur proficiency level.
D. DRESS AND/OR COSTUMING- PRE-TEENS
Pre-Teens must dress as listed below.
(a) Black or dark blue color only
(b) High waist optional
( c) Underfoot strap optional
( d) Satin stripes are allowed.
X. RULES FOR AMATEUR COMPETITORS
(a) Plain white or black long sleeved collared shirt only (no wing collars)
(b) No pleats or ribbing
(c) Sleeves to be worn at wrist length
(3) Black or dark blue vests are allowed, but sweaters and jackets are not allowed.
( 4) Tie - Black color only, may be either straight or bow
( 5) Socks - Black or dark blue color only
(6) Shoes- Heel height not to exceed 1.5 inches (must be black)
(7) Materials - Fabrics must be plain, ie: cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blend, wool blend
(a) No satin or shiny fabrics
(b) No rhinestones, glitter, metallic thread, patterns or sequins allowed
( c) Decorations - not allowed
(8) Makeup - Not allowed
(9) Hairstyle - Long hair must be worn in a pony tail
( 1) Skirt with top or simple dress with attached under garment or leotard top with full skirt
(a) Plain or pleated with minimum 1 to maximum 3 half circles. Only three panels total may
be used in the construction of the skirt, regardless of how many half circles. One plain
simple underskirt allowed which is no larger or longer than top layer, and is the same or
similar color as the outer skirt
(b) No godets or extra panels may be inserted into the skirt.
(c) No uneven hem lines, frills, splits, openings, lace, or sequins. Horsehair/Crinoline may
be used as part of the construction but not as a trim.
( d) Length of skirt must not be shorter than 3 inches above the knee cap and no longer than 3
inches below the knee cap
(e) At least one of the layers of the skirt must be solid (not sheer).
(a) Necklines: Boat, high neck, v-neck, sweetheart, 'peter pan' collar, and regular collar are
allowed. Edging or trim of any kind, including ribbon, satin, lace, sequins, etc, is not
allowed on the neckline
(b) Belting, as well as gathering or shirring is permissible from the waist down for a
maximum of two inches, provided it is part of the dress itself and not an accessory
( c) Edging or trim on the bodice is not allowed
( d) No backless bodices allowed.
(a) Long, short, elbow length, cap, puff. or sleeveless styles are allowed
(b) Cannot be replaced by trimmings, frills, or edging on the shoulder line
(c) No "finger loops" allowed
(a) Fabrics MUST be only one color throughout, and the color must be continuously the
(b) No rhinestones, glitter, metallic thread, pearls, patterns, sequins, or similar materials
(c) No use offeathers, fringes, bows, belts, frills or sequins
(d) No flesh color fabric
( e) Any use of color coordinated 'see through' fabric must be lined from waist to shoulder;
for use on arms no lining is needed
(t) Lace and/or burnout (also called Devore), or similar fabric, is not allowed. Lycra,
spandex, polyester, plain velvet, satin or jersey is encouraged.
( 6) Shoes and Socks
(a) Shoes - Heel height not to exceed 1.5 inches, and must be block heel style if a dance
shoe. If the shoe comes with rhinestones on the buckle then they are allowed. If the shoe
comes with glitter on the shoe then it is allowed.
(b) Socks: White ankle socks (may have a small amount oflace ), flesh colored pantyhose, or
light pink or white tights must be worn.
(c) No Fishnet Tights
(7) Accessories, jewelry, and makeup
(a) No use of arm bands, chokers or headbands
(b) No decoration is allowed on dress or in hair
(c) No jewelry is allowed, other than one small earring in each ear
(d) No makeup allowed
(e) Use of fake eyelashes, fake fingernails, colored or glitter hair spray is forbidden
c. For pre-teen one-dance or two-dance events, competition organizers may require that the
shirts/tops be white and the trousers/skirts be black.
E. DRESS AND/OR COSTUMING- JUNIOR, YOUTH & ADULT
1. Definition of "Syllabus Dress".
a. Gentlemen. Ballroom and Smooth Divisions: Dress pants, plain shirt and tie, and optional
cummerbund or vest or black sweater or tuxedo. No tail suits. Latin and Rhythm Divisions:
Dress pants, plain or ruffied shirt, optional tie and or vest.
b. Ladies. Ballroom and Smooth Divisions: Cocktail dress without excessive adornment. No ball
gowns. Latin and Rhythm Divisions: Leotards and wrap skirts or party/cocktail dresses without
2. Definition of "Open Amateur Dress".
a. Gentlemen. Ballroom and Smooth Divisions: Tailsuits. Latin and Rhythm Divisions: Latin
b. Ladies. Ballroom and Smooth Divisions: Ball gowns. Latin and Rhythm Divisions: Latin
3. For "Syllabus" competitions competitors must wear "Syllabus" Dress.
4. For "Novice" competitions competitors may wear either "Syllabus" or "Open Amateur" dress. The
competition organizer may stipulate one or the other for this category.
5. For "Pre-Championship" and "Open Amateur" competitions competitors should wear
6. Competition organizers may establish alternative dress and/or costume guidelines if they desire for
Juniors, Youths or Adults.
F. SYLLABUS - PRE-TEEN
Couples competing in the "Pre-Teen" category must dance restricted syllabi as noted below.
1. Pre-teen. Couples competing in this age category may only dance Bronze, Silver and Gold syllabus
figures from the NDCA Approved Figures, Elements & Restrictions (Appendix 1 ).
a. No embellishments of standard figures. No change oflevels, head rolls, foot flicks, syncopations
or delayed timings unless specified within the approved syllabus.
b. In addition to Closed Syllabus Events, organizers may offer open syllabus events for Pre-Teen II
provided they do not eliminate any closed divisions as well. Couples dancing in this category
must still wear approved costuming for that age level.
G. SYLLABUS - JUNIOR, YOUTH & ADULT
1. Couples competing in the "Junior", "Youth" and "Adult" categories are not restricted in syllabi unless
competing in a "Syllabus" event, or otherwise stipulated by the organizer.
a. No embellishments of standard figures. No change of levels, head rolls, foot flicks, syncopations
or delayed timings unless specified within the approved syllabus.