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Swing Dance America – Competition Rules
Swing Dance America (SDA) Rules
Statement of Swing
Swing is an American Rhythm Dance based on a foundation of 6-beat and 8-beat patterns that incorporate a wide variety of rhythms built on 2-beat single, delayed, double, triple, and blank rhythm units. The 6-beat patterns include, but are not limited to, passes, underarm turns, push-breaks, open-to-closed, and closed-to-open position patterns. The 8-beat patterns include, but are not limited to, whips, swing-outs, Lindy circles, and Shag pivots. Although they are not part of the foundation of the dance as stated above, 2- beat and 4-beat extension rhythm breaks may be incorporated to extend a pattern, to phrase the music, and/or to accent breaks.
The objective is to provide a competitive performance venue for the various unique styles of swing that have developed across the nation to include the Carolina Shag, Dallas Push, East Coast Swing, Hand Dancing, Hollywood Swing, Houston Whip,
Imperial Swing, Jive, Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, Rock-n-Roll, and West Coast Swing, to name a few.
This statement will be used only to identify the presence of Swing content in a performance. It is not intended to be a full definition of Swing, or to be used to evaluate the quality of the performance. Each Judge will evaluate the presence of Swing
content, which will be one of the criteria that determine a final score.
General Rules and Information
There will be a minimum of (5) judges for all competitions. In addition, SDA will have a Chief Judge and alternate judges available. A referee judge will be used for all routine divisions. All judges scores are final.
The Relative Placement System will be used to judge all competitions. All Competitors will be judged using the following criteria:
Prelims: All call backs in Prelims will be judged; using World Swing Dance Council call back system.
Timing – “How Your Body Connects to the Music”. Swing is a dance beginning on the downbeat. Timing extends to more finely distinctions than a single beat. It includes fractionally ahead or behind the beat, as well as matching the syncopated “swing” of the music.
Technique – “How Well You Do What You Do.” How well the Competitors execute the movements comprising their dance constitutes technique. We are looking for good footwork, balance, control, frame, and how well turns & spins are executed, and control of arms and hands.
Teamwork – How Well You Work Together.” Swing is a connected, partner dance. The demonstration of this connection and the appearance of lead/follow or action/reaction between the partners is an expected part of any competition. It is the ability to work together as a team. One partner ignoring or out-dancing the other, or jeopardizing the safety of the other (or other Competitors), indicates poor teamwork.
Content/Choreography – “What You Do.” The selection and order of movements and transitions executed during a dance comprises choreography. Good choreography demonstrates an intimate connection with the music and its phrasing, as well as variety and contrast of movements. Choreography must be tasteful and respectful to the audience.
Showmanship/Presentation – “How Well You Sell What You Do.” To create an atmosphere of excitement by inviting and generating interest in a performance is the desired effect of good presentation. While providing a good show is one aspect of presentation, a good show is not a substitute for good dancing.
In all divisions, the amount of Swing content that is required or allowed will be evaluated by each judge. A judge will mark his score sheet as follows.
Contest Categories and Qualifications
WSDC Jack & Jill Contests (WSDC Rules Apply. For more information go to www. worldsdc.com).
Competitors are allowed to compete as both Leaders and Followers in skill level Jack & Jills at Swing Dance America.
Here are details on how it works:
· Leader and Follower points will be tracked separately in Points Registry.
· Competitors qualify for their dance level based on either their Leader or Follower points, whichever is higher.
· Competitors are allowed to compete in their non-dominant role one level down, as long as they don’t qualify in both for the same division. No petitions will be approved for dancing more than one level down.
· Competitors will not be permitted to dance both roles in the same division.
Novice (skill level). A dancer who has earned less than 15 Novice WSDC points.
Intermediate (skill level). A dancer who has earned 15 or more Novice WSDC points and less than 30 Intermediate points.
Advance (skill level). A dancer who has earned 30 or more Intermediate WSDC points.
All Star (skill level). A dancer who has 45 Advance WSDC points in the last 3 years.
Juniors (age level). Competitor must be 10-17 years of age and have a parent or guardian’s signed consent.
Masters (age level). Competitor must be at least 50 years of age by end of event.
Chief Judge will determine format for all Jack & Jill Divisions based on number of competitors.
Strictly Swing & Strictly Hustle (Just Dance) Contests
Competitors may dance in One Skill Level and one Age Level with a different partner.
Intermediate (skill level). For couples who both compete at the Intermediate WSDC level.
Advance (skill level). For couples who both compete at the Advance WSDC level.
Masters (age level). For couples who are both age 50+ by end of the event.
Champion (skill level). For couples who have a least one partner who regularly competes in Invitation/Champion WCS divisions or the Master division of USWDC. Must be at least 18 years of age.
Chief Judge will determine format, and the number of heats for all Strictly Divisions; based on the number of competitors.
PLEASE BRING AN ELECTRONIC COPY OF YOUR MUSIC (mp3 format) READY AND AVAILABLE TO DELIVER TO THE APPROPRIATE CONTEST DJ PRIOR TO FLOOR TRIALS.
BRING AT LEAST TWO (2) CD’S WITH YOUR MUSIC TO THE EVENT – JUST IN CASE ONE HAS A SKIP, OR ONE GET BROKEN, ETC.
Rising Star Division: - Rising Star Tour
See details on the Rising Start Tour website.
Contact for event registration and sponsorship: firstname.lastname@example.org
This single division includes various styles of Swing including West Coast, East Coast, Lindy Hop, and Shag, Hand Dance.
Swing dancing that allows choreography with an "on the ground" approach to the dance. Drops, leans, circular movements and other partner weight support moves are allowed as long as both partners keep, at least, one foot on the floor.
Swing dancing that allows choreography with flair toward lifts and other partner weight support moves.
This division is offered for all styles of Swing including West Coast, East Coast, Lindy Hop, Hand, Shag and Hustle.
This division includes all recognizable forms of Hustle including: Three count, Latin, New York and Four Count.
Choreographed Hustle Routine danced in any Hustle style.
This is a Team Division that requires Eight (8) members per team.
1. Open to All Levels (including Champions)
2. Gender Neutral
3. Choose 1 Role – Lead or Follow (Competitors cannot compete in both roles)
4. No Lifts – any couple doing a lift will be disqualified
5. Scoring will be based on solid swing content and technique. Musicality and showmanship will be used as tie-
breakers at each judge’s discretion
1. The number of heats will be dependent on the number of entries
2. Dancers will be paired randomly for the prelim round(s) (and semifinal rounds if needed) and scored as a couple
3. Couples will receive a raw score based on a consistent scale that all judges will abide by; and, all couples are scored
4. Each heat will have a minimum of 3 songs, with each song approximately 2 minutes long
5. The top 16 couples will advance to the Finals
• Note: In the event a dancer needs to dance in multiple Prelim and/or Semifinal heat(s) and advances to
the finals with multiple partners, that dancer will only dance as a member of one couple in Finals. In
this circumstance, the dancer(s) in the next qualifying placement(s) in that role will advance to the
• Example: Leader “A” competes twice and places in the top 16 couples with two partners (Followers “X”
and “Y”). Leader “A” advances, as do both Followers “X” and “Y”. The Leader that placed 17th in
Prelims will be advanced to Finals.
1. Each dancer that advances to the Finals is awarded a point value based on their placement with their partner in
• The highest ranked couple based on the raw scores is given 1 point (each)
• The second ranked couple are each given 2 points
• This continues through all 16 placements
2. Each Leader and Follower are then randomly drawn into new partnerships for the Finals
3. The raw score for each partner in the new partnerships are then combined
• 1st place leader draws 12th place Follower = 13 points for this couple
• 4th place leader draws 1st place Follower = 5 points for this couple
• 14th place Leader draws 9th place Follower = 23 points for this couple
• This continues to generate a combined score for all 16 couples advancing to the Finals
4. The Tournament Bracket for the Head-to-Head Finals is then built as follows
• The couple with the lowest combined score is Seeded 1st
• The couple with the next lowest combined score is Seeded 2nd
• This continues through all 16 placements
5. A “Two-Tiered Bracket” is then built, with the following match-ups:
• 1st seeded couple against 16th seeded couple
• 4th seeded couple against 13th seeded couple
• 8th seeded couple against 9th seeded couple
• 5th seeded couple against 12th seeded couple
• 6th seeded couple against 11th seeded couple
• 7th seeded couple against 10th seeded couple
• 3rd seeded couple against 14th seeded couple
• 2nd seeded couple against 15th seeded couple
6. The Tournament Finals then has the seeded couples dance against each other for approximately 1 minute
7. After dancing, the couples turn their backs to the judges and the judges vote which couple advances to the next
8. The Tournament format consists of multiple rounds for the Finals;
• 16 couples – comprising 8 “Head-to-Head” dance-offs
• 8 couples – comprising 4 “Head-to-Head” dance-offs
• 4 couples – comprising 2 “Head-to-Head” dance-offs
• Placement Rounds:
o 3rd Place – the couples who do not win in the previous round compete for 3rd Place
o 1st & 2nd Place – the 2 remaining couples dance against each other to determine the winner