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National Championships 2014

Alexandra Caluen

April 16, 2013

Many of our chapter's Athletes have just wrapped up their competition season with the USA Dance Nationals here in Los Angeles. Our top-ranking competitors will likely be traveling to Baltimore next spring to do it all again.

Between now and then, they'll be competing at National Qualifying Events hosted by various USA Dance chapters, as well as doing warm-ups at some of the local and regional NDCA competitions.

Competing through USA Dance offers the following benefits:

Athletes compete only within their own age range
Athletes compete only within their own proficiency range
Athletes compete only within their preferred style
Athletes can start out competing in basic Bronze (with as few as two dances to prepare), working their way up to Championship over time
Athletes in syllabus levels do not need "costumes"
Athletes at Championship level earn the opportunity to travel and compete worldwide.

Here is the big catch about competing as a USA Dance Amateur DanceSport Athlete: you must dance with an amateur partner.

At any given time, we have dozens of chapter members who are working with professional coaches for showcase performances or pro-am competition. These dancers come in all ages, genders, sizes, and proficiency levels. Many of them choose to work with a professional partner because they want to advance their dancing, but can't find an amateur partner.

The downside of an amateur partner is that you now have three - or even four - people who need to fit training into their schedules. The competitors will need to work with a coach at least occasionally, and may choose to alternate lessons with the regular teachers of the leader and of the follower (my recommendation).

The upside is that your overall dance skills are going to improve at rocket speed. You will be bringing your individual creativity and abilities to the multi-level collaboration that is dancing with a partner.

If you are interested in competition - at any level - make sure your teachers know. DanceSport keeps ballroom studios in business, providing the base that supports group classes and social dances. If your current teacher doesn't coach for DanceSport, he or she can almost certainly refer you to someone who does, and can help you find a partner.

Here are the competition age divisions for USA Dance, based upon the individual's birthday occurring within a given calendar year:

Pre-Teen I: 9th or less

Pre-Teen II: 10th or 11th

Junior I: 12th or 13th

Junior II: 14th or 15th

Youth: 16th, 17th, or 18th

Adult: 19th or greater

Senior I: 35th or greater

Senior II: 45th or greater

Senior III: 55th or greater

For more complete guidelines on who can dance with whom, in which events, with what costume requirements, and other essential rules, download the free DanceSport Rulebook from under the DanceSport – Forms & Resources tab.

Recommended reading: Ballroom Dancing is Not for Sissies, by Elizabeth A. and Arthur A. Seagull, available on Amazon.