Competition Rules

Competition Rules and Policies

Welcome to the world of same-gender partner dance competitions! Hopefully the rules and definitions below will answer your questions about this competition. Note that we have changed some of our rules about couple definitions and configurations. Please feel free to contact us (info@aprilfollies.com) if you want further information about the competition rules or have any other questions about April Follies.

I. In the Ballroom

  • All seating is on a first-come, first-served basis EXCEPT for a limited number of premium seating tickets that will be sold for the evening show.
  • There is NO SMOKING anywhere inside Just Dance.
  • Food and/or drinks are not allowed on any ballroom floor or in the changing areas. Only water may be brought into the main ballroom.
  • Dancers must be dressed, ready to dance and in the ballroom at least 60 minutes before their event is scheduled to begin and in the on-deck area when their event is called.
  • A signed Release Form, required from all competitors, implies you have read these rules and agree to abide by them.

II. Dancers

General
April Follies wants to create a space for all dancers regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation. This competition is open to same-gender couples as well as mixed couples dancing in whatever roles (leader or follower—or both) they choose. In all of our non-graded events (which includes all events listed in sections A, B, C, and E below), all couple configurations are welcome to compete and will be judged against each other. This includes same-gender couples and mixed gender couples. No gender identification is required in these events. We welcome all gender presentations and encourage a culture of queer creativity.

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.

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. Every person should dance in the role appropriate to how they live and function in public and should dance with a partner who fits a role in that same category (except in the Open category in which a couple is defined as any two people).

All couples have the option of switching roles between leader and follower both between and within particular events. Switching roles demonstrates a higher level of skill and will be viewed as such by the judges. The organizers reserve the right to eliminate or merge any group competition with fewer than 3 entrants.

Deadline for Early Bird registration is March 5th, 2016. Deadline for all entries is April 18, 2017.  Late registrations accepted for an additional $50 fee between April 19th and 26th.  After April 26th, 2017 competition entries will not be accepted competition entries will not be accepted (except for line dances).

Championship Titles

We’re delighted to announce that April Follies has again been authorized this year by NASSPDA (North American Same-gender Partner Dance Association) as the California State Championship Same-gender Competitions. The 2017 California Championship titles will go to the highest ranking “A” level couples in all graded multi-dance events (including Argentine Tango), to the winners of the Formation Team event, and to the winners of the Show Dance event. These Championship titles will be judged and awarded in the Women, Men, and Open categories separately (except for the Show Dance and Formation Team events). Pro-Am couples are not eligible to win championship titles. A Pro-Am couple is defined as follows:

  • A couple in which one dancer is paying the other to dance with them in any part of the competition, and/or
  • A couple that has entered any other dance event in this competition as a Pro-Am couple.

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.

Any couple, regardless of nationality, residency or membership, may garner a Regional or State title.

Evening Competition
Please note that the finals of the A-level graded events will be held in the evening. Competitors in these events are not required to purchase evening tickets.

Multi-Dance Events
Senior Division 2-dance events will be held for International Standard and Latin and for American Smooth and Rhythm. Both dancers must be at least 45 years young to be eligible.

Pro-Am Couples
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 championship titles. No distinction will be made for Pro-Am couples in the social or luck-of-the-draw events (see below for lists of these events) or in Formation Team and Show Dance events.

More Rules

  • An individual can enter different events with as many different partners as they chooses, but may enter each individual event with only one partner.  The Show Dance event is the only event for which an exception to this rule will be made.
  • Both dancers in a dance couple must have registered for a particular event as dance partners in order to compete together in that event.
  • All couples (other than Pro-am couples) will be judged against each other in these events regardless of gender category.
  • A couple may enter both Proficiency One-Dance Events and the Graded Event in the same style.
  • If an individual who has danced in the Proficiency One-Dance Events wishes to enter a Graded Event in that same style, that person must enter either with a different partner or with the partner with whom he/she danced at the highest proficiency level in that style. Example: If you entered Beginner One-Dance American Smooth Waltz with Chris and also entered Intermediate One-Dance American Smooth Tango level with Dana, then you can 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.

III. Events and Rules

This section contains the list of the events we intend to offer. If you are interested in competing in an event not listed here, please contact us at least 3 weeks prior to close of registration. If there is sufficient interest, we may be able to add events to the schedule.

A. Social Events Definitions and Rules

Styles & Events

One-Dance Partner Events:
East Coast Swing, Nightclub Two-Step, West Coast Swing, Country Western Two-Step, Country Western Waltz, Salsa

Luck-of-the-Draw:
West Coast Swing, Nightclub Two-Step

Line Dances*:
Beginning/intermediate: Imelda’s Way*
Intermediate/advanced: So Just Dance, Dance, Dance*

* Step lists and instructional video for both “Imelda’s Way” and “So Just Dance, Dance, Dance” can be found at Sundance Saloon.

Social Dance Events are not syllabus restricted and are not graded. All couples are welcome to compete in these events regardless of the gender or gender identity of either dancer, and all couples will compete against each other at the same time. If a large number of couples enter a particular style, the organizers reserve the right to run that style as a Graded Event. Championship titles will not be awarded for these dance styles.

For the Luck-of-the-Draw events, partners will be chosen at random on the day of the event just before it begins. All couples compete against each other at the same time. These events are not syllabus restricted. No advance registration or fees are required for either Luck-of-the-Draw or Line Dance events.

B. Ballroom Proficiency One-Dance Events Definitions and Rules

Styles & Events

American Smooth:
Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

American Rhythm:
Cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

International Standard:
Waltz, Tango, Quickstep, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

International Latin:
Cha-cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Rules in this section apply only to the International and American style ballroom proficiency one-dance events listed above.

Each proficiency one-dance event will be a single dance, danced in competition against other couples of the same proficiency level.

Couples are required to self-assess their chosen proficiency level using the guidelines below. A couple may be at different proficiency levels for different styles or dances.

Beginner level:  This level is intended for dancers with little to no competitive dance experience in their chosen dance style and could include couples with less than 2 years dance experience and/or less than 3 competitions. For couples who have competed in graded competitions in their chosen style, this category includes those who would normally place in levels C, D, or E in graded events.

Intermediate level:  This level is intended for dancers with a moderate amount of competitive dance experience in their chosen style and could include couples with less than 5 years dance experience who have competed in same-gender competitions, and are practicing regularly. For couples who have competed in graded competitions in their chosen style, this category includes those who would normally place in levels C or B in graded events.

Advanced level:  This level is intended for dancers with an extensive amount of competitive dance experience in their chosen style and could include couples with more than 5 years dance experience who continuously compete and train. For couples who have competed in graded competitions in their chosen style, this category includes those who would normally place in levels B or A in graded events.

Proficiency one-dance events are unrestricted in syllabus, meaning steps will not be restricted to a particular syllabus in any of the events listed above.

Please enter at the level appropriate to your ability and experience. Pro-am couples should enter these events at the level appropriate to the proficiency of the student dancer, and these couples will be judged separately from non-pro-am couples.  Judging pro-am couples shall be based on the dancing of the amateur/student partner.  All couples (other than Pro-am couples—see below) will be judged against each other in these events regardless of the gender or gender identity of the dance partners.

All couples are expected to abide by the definitions of proficiency levels and will be disqualified if they enter an event at an inappropriate proficiency level.

A couple may only enter one proficiency level in a particular dance style. An individual may enter different proficiency levels of the same dance but only if it’s with a different partner. A couple will be disqualified from a proficiency one-dance event if their combined experience level is not within the limits prescribed below.

C. Multi-Dance Events Definitions and Rules

Beginner Two-Dance Events:

  • International Standard (waltz, quickstep), American Smooth (waltz, tango)
  • International Latin and American Rhythm (cha-cha, rumba)

45+ Two-Dance Events:

  • International Standard (waltz, quickstep), American Smooth (waltz, tango)
  • International Latin and American Rhythm (cha-cha, rumba)

Pro-Am Three-Dance Events:

  • International Standard (waltz, tango, quickstep)
  • International Latin (cha-cha, rumba, jive)
  • American Smooth (waltz, tango, foxtrot)
  • American Rhythm (cha-cha, rumba, East coast swing)

Couples entering any of these multi-dance events are required to dance all of the dances in their event as defined above. Couples should self-assess their chosen proficiency level using the guidelines specific to each dance style as described below. Couples will be judged only against other couples entered in their event and at their level. Couples of different levels may be on the floor at the same time depending on the number of entries. All Pro-am couples will be judged separately in these events. All other couples will be judged against each other in these events regardless of the gender or gender identity of the dance partners. Organizers may combine categories on the floor depending on the number of participants.

Competitors must dance multiple consecutive dances as specified in their particular event. Each dance is scored separately, and an average score determines all the final placements. Multi-dance events are not syllabus restricted. Whenever the number of couples in an event is large enough to require multiple heats, a system of “revolving heats” will be used, meaning that the couples assigned to particular heats (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.) shall be different for each of the different dances. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Beginner Events: Both dancers must be new to ballroom competition (one year or less) or to competing in said style of dance (one year or less).
  • 45-Plus Events: Both dancers must be at least 45 years young.
  • Pro-am Multi-dance: This event is offered for Pro-am couples (same-gender or reverse-role) in International Standard and Latin and American Smooth and Rhythm. All styles consist of three dances.

1. Graded Events Definitions and Rules

Argentine Tango
Tango, Vals, Milonga

American Smooth
Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz

American Rhythm
Cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo

American 9-Dance
Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Cha-cha, Rumba, Swing, Bolero, Mambo

International Standard
Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep

International Latin
Cha-cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive

International 10 Dance
Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Cha-cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive

A graded event is a multiple dance competition in which your proficiency level is determined only after you dance for a panel of grading judges on the day of the event. Being in a specific graded level at another competition will not guarantee you being in the same level at this competition. Steps and patterns are not restricted to syllabus figures. A graded event will be held only if at least 3 couples have entered that event, although there may be fewer than 3 couples classified into a particular grade level. Ideally, dancers will be classified into at least 3 grades within each style. Whenever the number of couples in an event is large enough to require multiple heats, a system of “revolving heats” will be used, meaning that the couples assigned to particular heats (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.) shall be different for each of the different dances. This will apply to both grading rounds and judging rounds.

Grading rounds consist of all entrants in a particular style dancing two or three dances in randomly selected groups. There may be some very experienced dancers on the floor at the same time as some very new dancers. The judges’ job is to separate dancers by demonstrated proficiency levels or “grades”. Once the initial grading is done, each grade may be asked to dance again for the grading judges so they can confirm their grading decisions. Adjustments to grade classifications may be made at this time.

Competitors will be asked to state their expected grade level at the time of registration. Couples are expected to register themselves consistently and fairly based on personal experience and previous competition results. This self-assessment is solely for the purpose of enabling the organizers to create a rough timetable for competition events and to provide the organizers with a guideline for the expected number of couples in each class. Dancers’ self-assessments shall never be shared with the judges.

Argentine tango specific graded events are as follows:

Each song shall be no longer than 3 minutes each, and the couples shall dance the full length of the song.

This category shall be judged as danced on the social dance floor. Dance shall proceed in the line of dance, as at a Milonga. Rules of the social tango floor apply: no cutting across the floor, no passing unless necessary for safety, no occupying the center of the floor more than briefly. Judges will give special relevance to the couples’ musicality, technique, elegance, and risk-taking, as described below.

    • 30% = musicality. First and foremost, musicality means staying with the beat. In addition, use of nuances and details of the music will be evaluated.
    • 30% = leaders and followers technique. This includes details and cleanliness of footwork, ability to lead/follow, and quality of movement.
    • 20% = elegance, connection and embrace. Elegance includes clothing and posture, connection (how the couple relates and moves together) and embrace. Couples should have a solid embrace and be able to move fluidly between an open embrace and a close embrace when necessary.
    • 20% = amount of risk-taking. Risk-taking includes the inventiveness and level of difficulty of the steps danced

Couples may perform any figure commonly used on the social dance floor, including Barridas (sweeps), Sacadas, Enrosques (twists), Ganchos and Boleos (with respect to awareness of the nearness of other couples), etc. At no time may any figure be performed which endangers other couples. Saltos (jumps), Trepadas (climbs), Drops, Drags, Lifts, and any other typically “Stage Tango” moves are prohibited.

The following is a list of dances that will be used to do the grading.

  • Argentine Tango: Tango
  • Standard: Waltz, Tango, Quickstep
  • Latin: Cha-cha, Rumba, Jive
  • Smooth: Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango
  • Rhythm: Cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing

Graded competitions will generally have from 3 to 5 grades depending on the number and ability level of competing couples. Once the couples have been graded, the formal competition begins. The required dances for each grade are listed in the table below. Women, Men, and Open category couples will each be judged separately in all graded events. All dances are required in the American 9-dance and International 10-dance events.

Below is a list of dances required of competitors by event and by grade level.

Argentine Tango

Lowest grade: C
Dance(s): Tango

Middle Grade: B
Dance(s): Tango, Vals

Highest grade: A
Dance(s): Tango, Vals, Milonga

International Standard

Lowest grades: C,D,E
Dance(s): Waltz, Tango, Quickstep

Middle grade: B
Dance(s): Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Quickstep

Highest grade: A
Dance(s): Waltz, Tango, V Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep

International Latin

Lowest grades: C,D,E
Dance(s): Cha-cha, Rumba, Jive

Middle Grade: B
Dance(s): Cha-cha, Samba, Rumba, Jive

Highest grade: A
Dance(s): Cha-cha, Samba, Rumba, Paso Doble, Jive

American Smooth

Lowest grades: C,D,E
Dance(s): Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango

Middle grade: B
Dance(s): Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, V Waltz

Highest grade: A
Dance(s): Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, V Waltz

American Rhythm

Lowest grade: C,D,E
Dance(s): Cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing

Middle grade: B
Dance(s): Cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Mambo

Highest grade: A
Dance(s): Cha-cha, Rumba, East Coast Swing, Bolero, Mambo

A couple may be placed in a higher grade than expected and asked to do a dance they haven’t prepared. Couples may stand at the side of the floor during the dance for which they’re not prepared. Couples may not leave the floor until all the dances in their graded event have been completed. Couples standing on the side will be marked last in that dance by the judges. All decisions of the judges will be considered final.

Winners of a grade level (except “A”) have the option to also compete in the next highest grade level of that event.

E. Formation Teams and Show Dance Definitions and Rules

Both Formation Team and Show Dance entrants are required to provide their own music. Please bring with you to the competition the music for your formation team routine in a CD or iPod format and include in writing any special instructions about where and when to start and stop the music. Both categories allow the incorporation of lifts.

Formation Team Event

  • Routine must be at least 3.0 minutes long but no more than 5.0 minutes; including time spent entering and exiting the dance floor.
  • Routine may include changes in rhythm, but such changes are not mandatory.
  • Routine must include at least (2) changes in formation.
  • Routine must have a minimum of (3) couples or 6 individuals.

There will be 2 categories of Formation Teams. These categories will be judged separately. Teams must indicate which category they are entering when registering.

Open Dance Routine: Teams desiring to perform routines primarily for entertainment with significant dance content.

Couple Dance Routine: Any routine that is performed as couples dancing together in a joined configuration throughout the routine except for: entrance, exit, transition, separation where partner changes are made, or a movement is executed where the perception of partnership is maintained. A Couple Dance Routine must be primarily partner dancing. The majority (60%) of the time spent couple-dancing must be either in couples of the same gender identity or in reverse role couples.

Most routines are based on one particular dance style, but multi-dance routines are also fine.

The dance does not have to be one of the International or American 10 dance forms–in other words, salsa, hip hop, Argentine Tango, West Coast Swing, etc, are all OK.

Show Dance Event

No distinction will be made in show dance events regarding proficiency, type or performance, choice of dance, and/or age. Dance couples of any gender identity configuration may enter, but only same-gender, non-pro-am couples are eligible to win a title in this event. An entry in this event may include more than two dancers, but the dancing should be predominantly partner dancing.

IV. Judging, Shoe Policy, and Disclaimers

Chairperson of the Judges
The Chairperson of the Judges (or Head Judge) shall be responsible for overseeing the judging panel and shall be responsible for decisions regarding any problems with marking, ties, or adjudication decisions. The Chairperson’s decision shall be final.

Shoe Policy
All shoes worn by competitors must not have the capacity to damage or alter fundamental characteristics of the floor. In particular, shoes should be non-marking and non-gouging. Shoes with suede soles (i.e. actual ballroom dance shoes) are recommended but not required.

All competitors should note that at no time are they allowed to apply powder, oil, or other dance aids to their shoes in an attempt to alter the coefficient of static and kinetic friction between their shoe’s soles and the floor. Dance aids on the shoes will transfer to the floor and over the course of a competition will seep and become ingrained into the floor, making it unsuitable for dancing and other activities. Please familiarize yourself with this policy to avoid the frustration of getting pulled from an event due to a shoe policy infraction.

Disclaimers
No responsibility for loss or theft of articles left in the changing areas or ballrooms can be accepted by the organizers of this event, nor can they be held liable for any injury sustained by persons attending this event. Everyone attending does so at his/her own risk. All persons attending this event, whether as spectator, competitor, official, or guest of the organizers, shall be bound by April Follies rules and policies and, by participating in this event, automatically become obligated to adhere to them.

April Follies reserves the right to cancel any event(s) and/or change the schedule at any time.

Competitors and spectators should be aware that, during the course of competition, anyone in the ballroom may be photographed or videotaped by any variety of people for private or public viewing. Everyone attending this competition thereby consents, by his or her attendance at the competition, to be photographed or videotaped.