© Chris Phan
© Chris Phan

Frequently Asked Questions

I am not a gay, lesbian, bi, trans...queer - can I still dance?

This competition is open to same-gender couples and to reverse-role couples (female leader and male follower). Everyone is welcome to compete regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and we welcome people who identify as queer and/or transgender. There is a place on the registration form to indicate each dancer’s gender identity. Reverse-role couples will be judged separately from same-gender couples, and the female must lead at least 75% of the time. Because the straight ballroom world does not allow participation of same-gender or reverse-role couples, our competition is limited to those categories of couples.

Why "Queer" Dancesport Classic?

The April Follies Organizing Committee decided to change the language we use from “same-sex” to “same-gender” or “queer” to be more inclusive to our community.

What should I wear?

You should wear something in which you are comfortable and which is appropriate for the style and level at which you are dancing. At higher levels, you should consider wearing dance costumes, as appearance is one of the factors in adjudication.

What is a One-Dance Event?

It is a single dance, danced in competition against other couples of the same proficiency level. One-Dance Events have a style and a level as shown below:

  • Styles: International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, & American Rhythm
  • Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced–see Rules and Policies for more details.

It is a single dance, danced in competition against other couples of the same proficiency level. One-Dance Events have a style and a level as shown below:

  • Styles: International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, & American Rhythm
  • Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced–see Rules and Policies for more details.
What are these new couple "Categories" all about?

The new couple categories were created in 2015 to make April Follies a more inclusive and welcoming event for the LGBT community. In all graded events, there are now 3 categories of couples:

  • Male Identified: both dancers identify as males
  • Female Identified: both dancers identify as females
  • Open: allows for any gender configuration or combination

Everyone is welcome to compete regardless of sexual orientation or gender identify. There is a place on the registration form for each couple entering a graded event to indicate which of these 3 categories that couple is entering. In all non–graded events, all couple configurations are welcome to compete and will be judged against each other. See Rules and Policies for more details.

How much can I dance in the One-Dance Events?

That depends on you and how many partners you wish to dance with. Here are the rules:

  • Each couple may enter any or all dances in any or all styles. Example: you and your partner may dance in the Beginner American Cha-Cha and the Intermediate International Tango
  • A particular couple may enter only one proficiency level (Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced) ) in a particular style.
  • An individual may dance with more than one partner, but cannot dance in the same style and proficiency level with more than one partner. Example:  you may enter the Beginner American Waltz with Chris, and the Advanced American Waltz with Dana.
  • If an individual who has danced in the One-Dance Events wishes to enter a Graded Event in that same style, that person must enter with either a different partner or with the partner with whom he/she danced at the highest proficiency level in that style. In the example described in the previous bullet, you would enter the Graded American Smooth Event with Dana (having danced with Dana at the higher proficiency level). Chris could still dance the Graded American Smooth, but would have to do so with a different partner.

Are you confused by all this? So are we, but it’s clear if you go back and read it again! Of course, if you still have questions, please contact us and we’ll help you out.

Which events will be run as Graded Events?

Men’s and Women’s International Standard, International Latin, American Smooth, American Rhythm, and Argentine Tango will be run as Graded Events. Graded events will be held only if at least 3 couples have entered that event. Please note that Argentine Tango has been added to the list of graded events. Read the 2016 rules carefully.

Which dances in each graded event will be used for grading?

The following is a list of which dances will be used to do the grading. Keep in mind that if you get put into a higher grade, you will need to dance additional dance(s) appropriate to your category.

  • Standard: Waltz, Tango, Quickstep (1st round) – Waltz, Quickstep (2nd round if needed)
  • Latin: Cha-Cha, Rumba, Jive (1st round) – Cha-Cha, Rumba (2nd round if needed)
  • Smooth: Waltz, Foxtrot (both grading rounds)
  • Rhythm: Cha-Cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing (1st round) – Cha-Cha, East Coast Swing (2nd round if needed)
  • Argentine Tango: Tango
What is a Graded Event?

It is a multiple dance competition in which your proficiency level is determined only after you dance for a panel of grading judges. You will be asked when you register to estimate the grade in which you expect to be placed, but that information will be used only for scheduling purposes and will not be shared with the judges at any time.

What are the Social Dance Events?

Social Dances are events in a particular dance or group of dances that is neither a One-Dance Event nor a Graded Event. In the Social Dance Events, all couples compete against each other at the same time. If we get a large number of entries for a particular style, we might choose to run it as a Graded Event (see FAQ immediately above). Here is a list of the dances we intend to offer as Open Events. If you don’t see something you would like to dance in, let us know. Maybe we can add it. See competition rules for details.

One-Dance Partner Events:

Country Western 2-Step, Country Western Waltz, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Nightclub 2-Step

Line Dance Events:

Dizzy (beginning/intermediate), 50 Ways (intermediate/advanced) NOTE: these change from year to year.

Luck-of-the-Draw Events:

West Coast Swing, Nightclub Two-Step
What are these "multi-dance" events, and how do they work?
  1. Beginners: a 2-dance event in which both dancers must be new to competition (one year or less) or to competing in that style of dance (one year or less)
  2. 50-Plus: a 2-dance event in which each dancer must be at least 50 years young or older
  3. Pro-am: a 3-dance event for Pro-am couples

Competitors in these events will dance multiple consecutive dances as described in the competition Rules. Each dance is scored separately, and an average score will determine the final placements. Mult-dance events are not syllabus restricted.

Is it only for same-gender couples?

The main reason we are running these same-gender dance events is that there is no other opportunity for same-gender couples to compete unless we run our own competitions.

In our graded events (those listed in section D below), there will be 3 separate categories of couples each of which will be judged separately:

  • Women: Same-gender female couples and same-gender women couples. This category includes transgender women.
  • Men: Same-gender male couples and same-gender men couples. This category includes transgender men.
  • Open: Everyone can compete and dance in any combination regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
What about Professionals vs. Amateurs?

Pro-am couples are welcome and encouraged to participate. A couple is considered to be Pro-Am if (a) one dancer is paying the other to dance with them during any part of the competition and/or (b) a couple self-identifies as a Pro-Am couple by entering as such in any April Follies competition event. Pro-am couples must identify themselves as such in the appropriate spot on the Competition Registration Form and will be judged separately from other couples in all Proficiency One-Dance events. Each pro-am couple entering a one-dance proficiency event is required to identify whether they belong in the beginning, intermediate, or advanced level based on the proficiency of the STUDENT. The couple will dance in the heat corresponding to that proficiency level and will be judged based only on the student dancer’s performance. Separate multi-dance pro-am events will also be held (see list of events below). Pro-am couples are not eligible to win the California State Championship titles. No distinction will be made for Pro-Am couples in the open or luck-of-the-draw events.

Can I enter with more than one partner?

You may enter with as many different partners as you want, HOWEVER……

You cannot enter the same event with more than one partner. Your name and your partner’s name for any particular event must be on the registration form for that event before the event begins.

There are a few other restrictions having to do with One-Dance and Graded events as well as age divisions. Please read the Competition Rules about One-Dance events, Graded events, and Age Divisions for those details.

Can I still dance if I don't enter the competition?

There will be blocks of time all day and during the evening when we will put on music for social dancing as well as warm up time for the competitors. Come and DANCE, DANCE, DANCE as well as support your friends who are competing.

Do we dance in groups or one couple at a time?

Short answer: GROUPS

All the competitions will be held by having groups of couples dance together at the same time to the same music. This is called a ROUND. Each round will last at least 90 seconds. If there are too many couples to dance together all at once, then they will be divided into HEATS and each heat will dance for at least 90 seconds. So a ROUND consists of one or more HEATS of couples. The judges will look at your dancing and select those couples from each ROUND whom they wish to see dance again.

There will be as many ROUNDS as necessary to get down to 6 couples for a final. Once there are only 6 couples left, those couples will dance a final round and be ranked in order from first place to sixth place. There must be at least 20 minutes rest time between each round. There must be at least 30 seconds rest time between each dance of a multi-dance event (like the graded events). Don’t worry if you don’t understand. We will have people standing by to make sure you know when to be on the dance floor for your event.

Do I need to bring my own music?

No.

Since all the events are group competitions, we will pick music appropriate to the dance event and play that music for all couples to dance to at the same time.

Unless…..

We assume that Formation Teams and Show Dance contestants will bring their own music. Also, if you have contacted us and made arrangements to do a special performance, then please do BRING YOUR OWN MUSIC!

Is Night Club Two-Step the same as Country/Western Two-Step?

They are completely different styles of dancing. If you know both, please enter both! But if you have never heard of Night Club Two-Step, don’t worry–we won’t make you dance it. And if you enter the wrong event by accident, we will be happy to put you in the RIGHT event before you have to dance.

What is NASSPDA?

The North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association (NASSPDA) is a membership organization committed to the promotion and expansion of social and competitive same-sex partner dancing, which includes Ballroom, Latin, Swing, Country Western, and other partner dances, as well as different styles within those terms, such as International and American Style. NASSPDA acknowledges and celebrates its origins in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

NASSPDA’s goals are:

  • Establish and continue to improve consistent definitions, guidelines and standards for same-sex partner dance competitions in North America, with an initial emphasis on those dances featured at the Gay Games and Outgames.
  • Support functions and venues for social same-sex partner dancing.
  • Coordinate and liaison with dance organizations and sponsors of dance competitions
  • Be a resource for same-sex partner dancers.
  • Aim to raise the level of same-sex partner dancing.
  • Coordinate and liaison with dance organizations and sponsors of dance competitions.
  • Encourage the inclusion of dancers from diverse backgrounds with regard to race, ethnicity, gender, age, [dis]ability, gender identity and/or expression.
  • Function with a high degree of operational accountability and transparency.
  • Operate according to the rules and principles of a not-for-profit organization.

Also note that active NASSPDA members receive a $10 discount on their April Follies competition registration fees!

Can we switch between Leading and Following?

YES! That’s one of the great–and unique–things about same-gender dancing.

It is not so much that you actually get extra points for changing roles with your partner since points are not used to do the judging, but it does demonstrate a greater command of the dancing form to be able to both lead and follow, and the judges are encouraged to reward those couples who switch over those who don’t if their dancing is otherwise about the same. You aren’t required to do role changes, so don’t worry if you don’t. The best couple will win regardless of who changes roles.

If you DO choose to change roles, those changes should be integrated into the dancing in a way that does not disrupt the flow of the dancing. In other words, don’t STOP, switch roles, and start up again. Just keep dancing and gracefully flow from one role to the other (and back again, if you want). The only restriction to switching is for reverse-role couples in which the woman must lead at least 75% of the time.

Do we have to have a routine?

Some couples will, some won’t. Routines are nice, but if you are used to just dancing with your partner free-style, or have not had time to put together a routine and still want to dance, then you will be just fine.

Is anyone eligible to win the California and USA Championship titles?

Yes and No……

For the California Championship, any couple, regardless of nationality, residency or membership, may garner a State title.

For the North American, National, State and Regional titled events shall be “open” competitions, meaning that anyone can enter regardless of residency or citizenship. Participation, however, does not automatically create eligibility to garner a title.

To garner a North American or National title, (a) at least one partner (half the members of a formation team) shall be a resident of that country/nation, and (b) within that calendar year this couple/team may not represent the country/nation of the other partner (half the members of a formation team) in order to garner a National title from that other country.

At least one partner in a couple shall be an active member of NASSPDA in order to garner either the North American or National title. A formation team is required to have an active team membership in NASSPDA to garner either the North American or a National title. 

My dance parter and I have different experience levels but want to enter the one-dance proficiency events. How do we decide at what level to enter?

We’ve received questions about whether only one or both dancers in a couple need to meet the proficiency level definition to qualify.  For example, if one dancer has been competing in that dance style for only a year or two but the other has been competing for 3+ years, would that couple qualify for the Beginner Proficiency one-dance event?  April Follies policy is that a couple’s proficiency level should be determined by what grade level the couple would likely be assigned in a graded event.  If one dancer is new to their role (including newly leading or following), the same principle would apply—namely, that the proficiency level should be determined by the grade level in which a couple would expect to be placed.  If a couple is unsure of their potential grade, it might be helpful to consult with their instructor.  The intention of these policies is to create an environment in which couples feel that they are competing with other couples who are at approximately the same level of proficiency.

I don't have a partner. Is there a way for me to enter the competition?

Because competition registration closes one week prior to the competition and both of you need to be registered, you’ll need to find a partner in advance.

What are these "multi-dance" events, and how do they work?
  1. Beginners: a 2-dance event in which both dancers must be new to competition (one year or less) or to competing in that style of dance (one year or less)
  2. 50-Plus: a 2-dance event in which each dancer must be at least 50 years young or older.
  3. Mentor: a 2-dance event in which one dancer must be new to competition (one year or less) or to competing in said style of dance (one year or less). The partner of the beginner can be at any proficiency level for professional. If you dance with a professional partner, please enter the Pro-am multi-dance or single dance events.
  4. Pro-am: a 3-dance event for Pro-am couples

Competitors in these events will dance multiple consecutive dances as described in the competition Rules. Each dance is scored separately, and an average score will determine the final placements. Mult-dance events are not syllabus restricted.

What about age divisions and events for seniors?

There will not be separate age or proficiency divisions in the various events. Instead, we are offering separate age and proficiency Multi-Dance events.