Ballroom Dance > College Dance Comps (was NDCA vs USA Dance Point Rules)

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Laura, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. DanceAm

    DanceAm New Member

    Points don't really go to a higher level, according to the way it is written, Senior 1 is treated as lower level. Adult A is the premier level, the real level, the one that actually counts. All age catagories below it and above it are not as important. That is not to say someone over 35 is not as good a dancer, but if they really want the glory, they must dance in the Adult A catagory.

    The Nordberg's are both over 35 but they never dance in the Senior 1 division. They are good enough to compete in the Adult A and made the finals in Rhythm and Smooth, and took the Adult A 9 dance crown at Nationals. They would have run away with all the Senior 1 medals, if they wanted to, but that might have actually hurt them in the eyes of the judges when they dance Adult A. I was told by a judge that if you dance in different age catagories or lower proficiency levels, judges have a tendancy to see you as the lower level dancer in the higher proficiency level. So the Nordberg's avoid this by only competing Adult A and do not want to be viewed as older dancers, which might hurt their placement.

    If I pointed out of everything in Adult A, did champ level and I am not eligible to compete in anything but champ level, what happens when I turn 35, should I be able to go back to bronze and start winning again though all the levels.

    The answer is NO, not unless I get recertified at a lower level.
  2. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Woah, I've gone totally insane. I really recall seeing NDCA rules explaining Pre-Novice, but when I just looked in the rule book none of it is there.

    The difference between Pre-Novice and Novice as I have seen it implemented is that

    1) Pre-Novice is usually danced as one or two two-dance events, one being
    W/Q and the other being T/F. Novice is danced as either a three-dance event (W/F/Q) or also as two two-dance events.

    2) Pre-Novice is closed syllabus, usually Bronze through Gold, but once I saw it as Bronze and Silver only. Novice is open syllabus -- anything goes.

    3) Pre-Novice usually does not allow costumes. Novice allows costumes.

    4) In the document I swear I saw but I can't find, Pre-Novice was a level below Novice, and you could place out of it. The level progression went Pre-Novice --> Novice --> Pre-Championship --> Open (a.k.a Championship)
  3. Laura

    Laura New Member

    The way I heard it was that people were complaining they placed out too quickly. I think the complaints were more related to people placing out of Pre-Champ and into Championship than on the lower levels, though. But still, I agree with Joe.
  4. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Senior I is not a higher proficiency level than Adult. It's a higher age level. In USA Dance, when you move from Adult to Senior I, your Senior proficiencly level can't be lower than you Adult proficiency level. That's why points cascade down in proficiency when you earn them, and apply accross age levels from Adult to Senior I to Senior II when you apply them.
  5. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    What I could possibly imagine is that people were placing out of "real" pre-champ by collecting top 3 placements in "hobbyist" champ at unimportant competitions, where champ may be the only amateur semifinal in the competition - but with only one or two truly top quality couples.

    Being an under-35 champ-only couple without an ability to make finals at strong competitions probably does get somewhat frustrating.
  6. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    But isn't that partly why the category above Champ is being introduced?
  7. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Senior I is treated as an older age level, but not a lower proficiency level. It's just that if you've earned a certain proficiency level in Adult, you can't go lower than that when you start dancing in Senior I and Senior II events. For instance, if you had pointed out of Pre-Champ in Adult, then the rules are the way they are to keep you from going back and doing Pre-Champ again when you start dancing in Senior I age group events.

    Dancers may have this view, but not everyone thinks this and there is nothing in the rules that creates or enforces this.

    In the San Francisco Bay Area, Senior I Standard is becoming a very important and competitive event. Some of the best over-35 Standard dancers in the country live and train here. These people are gunning for the top two spots at Nationals so they can go dance at Senior I Worlds. They have their slice of glory to go for. No, it's not the open age group, but if it's marginalized it's only because our country is a youth-worshipping society. I hear that in Europe the Senior I's are much more appreciated and respected than here in the US.

    I really don't think that all judges have that opinion.

    No, of couse not, and that's why the rules are written the way they are. If you did Champ level Adult and you start doing Senior I and/or Senior II, the rules explicitly state that your proficiency level in the older age group can't be lower than your highest proficiency level in the Adult age group. See rules and for exact wording.
  8. callen

    callen Member

    I get the feeling it is not an NDCA thing, but perhaps a regional thing done by several NDCA competitions. Every time I've bothered to look at the naming system at an NDCA competition "novice" has been the catch-all name applied to all the syllabus levels. Now, most of these competitions have been on the East Coast, so that is why I think it may be regional.

    I just checked this weekend's Tri-State Challenge. "Novice" is being used for syllabus 2-dance events. Heritage Classic seems to have had novice 2-dance events and no pre-novice, but I can't find a thing defining what may be done within those novice events. St. Louis Star ball clearly defines their novice events as being syllabus events. City Lights Ball has syllabus pre-novice events and open choreography novice events. I'm tired of searching the sites.

    Ah, the NDCA rulebook itself is contradictory. It uses "novice" both in refering to certain syllabus levels and to the lowest open choreography level. If you look within syllabus you'll find "novice bronze," "novice silver," and "novice gold" all listed. "Bronze," "silver," and "gold" are also listed. Are those "pre-novice" syllabi? At the same time, the novice level is defined as having open choreography.

    Apparently the NDCA has no clear definition of the novice level. So my suggestion, if you're looking for "pre-novice," would be to look at the sites of the competitions that have the level.

  9. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Yeah, you've totally summed it up. But for some reason I really believe that in the section of the NDCA rules that discusses how Amateur proficiency points are earned, I saw a discussion of Pre-Novice! Maybe I dreamed it? I haven't been sleeping well for the past month and sometimes I can't tell if I've really done something or just dreamed it. It's kind of freaking me out. My partner is having the same problem...he woke up one morning completely confused, thinking we had already danced City Lights -- and it was still about a week away at that point.

    I think the two of us are dealing with extreme excitement combined with a touch of anxiety. I hope this doesn't go on too long. We've got two comps comping up in quick succession. Then I'm going on vacation, that should help me get my head back together again.
  10. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    Trying to shed a little light on the history here:

    Before the great rules merger of 1993, competitions were pretty much free to define their levels as they wished. On the East Coast, the default was to hold closed-syllabus, no-costume events at the bronze, silver, and gold levels. These categories collectively were referred to as "Novice", and small competitions would hold only a novice event, which was limited to gold syllabus figures. (I know of at least one competition in the Boston area whose entry forms still refer to these categories as "novice.") The syllabus events were typically 2-dance (W/Q, F/T, C/R, S/J), with occasional comps offering V and P at the gold level only. Prechamp was a three-dance event and one or two one-dance events, and championship was a five dance event.

    On the West Coast, the default was to hold newcomer, "novice," prechamp, and champ. West Coast "novice" was an open syllabus, costumes-allowed three-dance event, prechamp was a four-dance, and championship was a five-dance. A number of couples were burned by travelling in either direction and entering an event called "novice," and finding out after they got there that it wasn't what they expected. (For example, I once saw a West Coast couple who assumed that they would be allowed to wear costumes in novice at an East Coast competition that did not specify costume rules - but everyone else "knew" that costumes were not allowed in novice, and the couple ended up scrambling for new clothes. The gentleman had to dance in a non-dance jacket that frankly looked terrible in the shoulders, since dance cardigans and dancing without a jacket were also not allowed at that time.)

    In the harmonized system, East Coast "novice" was renamed as "syllabus", and "novice" meant West Coast novice. The systems were kept as parallel tracks, rather than requiring all West Coast dancers who were used to their system to compete in a higher level than East Coast dancers of similar experience. The number of dances in novice and prechamp were standardized to the West Coast default for USABDA competitions, with the understanding that East Coast competitions could continue to use the 3+1+1 format if they wanted, and that proficiency points towards the 4-dance prechamp would be earned by the 3-dance event in competitions that used that format. Default costume rules for each level were established, with the proviso that every competition was free to use different rules, as long as they were spelled out in the entry materials.

    Part of the reason that the unified rules adopted primarily West Coast terminology is that the first few drafts were written by two West Coast dancers, Mark Scardina and Art Lashbrook. I joined the Rules Committee before they were finalized, and helped ensure that East-Coast-style competitions could be integrated smoothly into the new system. (For example, neither Mark nor Art had ever heard of a 1-dance prechamp event, and so had not considered how they would affect proficiency points.)

    As competitions have gradually standardized across the country in the ensuing 12 years, a number of tweaks to the system have been made. West Coast competitions have started offering syllabus routinely, and East Coast competitions have often added Novice, so that Novice has become a sort of pre-prechamp, instead of the parallel track that it was previously. It's probably not the system that would be established in a ground-up design, but it seems to work pretty well for a lot of people.
  11. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Thank you for the summary. As a West Coaster I'll just add that what you say matches up to what I have been told.

    One thing that I still see as a snag is the current positioning and treatment of Novice. In the current (latest) USA DanceSport rule book, it shows Novice as being "alongside" syllabus. Furthermore, there is some debate as to what effect pointing out of Novice has on one's syllabus status and vice-versa. One DanceSport council member told me that if you point out of Gold, then your current level is Pre-Champ, so you can't go back and dance Novice. Similarly, if you point out of Novice, then your current level is Pre-Champ, and so you can't go back and do syllabus. HOWEVER, another person (admittedly not as well informed as the first), told me you could never point out of syllabus. I'm still trying to get an official final answer on this as it affects me directly.

    It would be really really easy if for once and for all they squarely put Novice between Gold and Pre-Champ, rather than along side or off to the side as you can see in the past few versions of the rule book. Most people treat Novice as Pre-Pre-Champ anyway, so making it be that for real in the rules would clean up some confusion and finally merge the two systems once and for all for USA DanceSport purposes. I really feel that by doing that, and adding that "World Class" level, then we'd be set once and for all for proficiency levels and do not need to go messing with it again. I certainly don't want to see a proliferation of levels as has arisen in Pro/Am events!

    The NDCA organizers will probably keep sticking to their customs, as outlined by callen's post. But some weird terminology permutations are creeping in out here (well, weird to me). I've seen events out here at one comp that were called "Closed Syllabus Novice", which are futher divided by Bronze, Silver, and gold, and "Novice Open Syllabus."
  12. DanceAm

    DanceAm New Member

    (It is like you debate me even when we agree, what's up?)

    When the National Champions are crowned, they are not called the National Champions Adult A, they simply leave it off, because it is implied. But any other age catagory, you would express the caveat "National Champions Senior I or Senior II or Junior National Champions". Laura, give it up like I did, we are older and a Senior I title only means something to us unless we won the Adult A division as well, then it would mean something to others. Fight the age thing if you must, but the older age classifations are like a hadicap in golf, or the Ladies tees, just something to make things more even and give us a chance. But I wouldn't compare it to blocking the gutters with bumpers in Bowling or the Special Olympics, or I would personally whack you with my cain.

    As for Europeans, I heard that many of them don't bath regularly and have bad teeth. So what if they revere older dancers, who cares what europeans are "said" to believe, that simply doesn't matter. You jump on my generalizations yet you surround yours with other facts so they sound believable.

    I personally enjoy good dancing by anyone, regardless of age. The better dancers are the ones in Adult A and they can be over 35 or over 50 but they still have to compete in Adult A to get the real title, they are best dancers in that level. In fact, if you want to find the ruling, Adult A only requires that you are over 19; 20 or 30 or even 50 years over 19, you can still compete. What does society's obsession with youth have anything to do with watching the best dancers? When you say stuff like that, it only makes you sound older and discriminatory against those who are young.

    Every sport has a prime age, in ladies figure skating it is younger than pro football players. And baseball players get better as they get older thanks to Steroids until they end up in court crying like babies on TV pleading the 5th. I am not even sure world wide what the average age is, and professionals don't seem to even care about age. Bob and Julia are retiring and Bob, I believe is over 40. They are the exception, not the norm. What I find ironic about this is I am still trying to get better at dancing over 40 and he is about to hang up his competitive career.
  13. Porfirio Landeros

    Porfirio Landeros New Member

    I have a lot of respect for Senior or "B", or whatever they call it this year, because it seems like it's the only true and pure amateur category.

    Juniors/Youth are getting everything paid for by their parents... yes, they're in school, but they don't have jobs or have to struggle as hard to muster the energy to practice at least one hour a day.

    Adult A has been infiltrated by people who were formerly professionals in other countries/lives, people currently teaching dance as professionals, or people that don't have day jobs for whatever reason, and have time to dance/practice whenever they want.

    Anyone that wants more of a challenge past "A" category (like they're sick of winning it every year), will likely turn professional, leaving B/Senior to the TRUE amateurs.

    So, it's nothing to be ashamed of... I think as long as you're challenged and feel your personal dancing has room to grow in the field, keep rockin' in Senior.
  14. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I guess I'd have more interest in the senior category if it started to put greater stress on some of the quality details that can get so easily overlooked in the "higher faster louder" quest of the adult A pack. In my mind, dancers with greater experience, maturity, and perhaps patience should be able to devote attention to details which the young and impressionable might not yet appreciate. However, I don't see an obvious trend towards this in common practice - when you see a mixed field, the older couples don't seem to be trying to dance with a strategy any different from that of the younger ones. When there is a couple that really stands out technically, it's usually a younger one that has organized their lives around obtaining the best training.

    If senior is danced as a handicapped category, that's what it will be. If it is danced with a different emphasis, it could serve as an example - and while the younger couples would most often still win the mixed fields, you might hear things like "yeah, but did you see 123's feather?"
  15. Laura

    Laura New Member

    At this point I think it must be your perception of the situation. But we can try watermelon-seed spitting if you want. Last time we arm wrestled and you won. :)

    I have nothing to give up. I have no attachment to my age or my age level category. On the other hand, I have friends who refused to dance Senior I because it was called "Senior." Me, I don't care. I'm not hiding my age. I just turned 40 and I never lie about my age and never have. I've never had surgery or any "work" done, I'm just me.

    Okay, that makes sense.

    Okay, cane-fencing next time it is! :)

    I'm just going by what I've read in various dancesport magazines about the size and competitiveness of the over-35 fields in Europe. Unfortunately I can't dig up the quotes because I don't save every magazine I've ever read. And of course I surround my generalizations and opinions with facts -- that's how one makes a point. If I didn't try to present any facts at all, then you'd have absolutely no reason to even consider believing what I said -- and I wouldn't blame you for thinking that, either.

    Nothing. My point was that the older dancers aren't appreciated by some simply because they are older, not necessarily because of their dancing skills or lack thereof. There is good dancing beyond the top six finalists in the open age groups in this country is all I'm saying. No, it's not good enough to be an open age-group finalist, but it also has its place.

    I'm not even going to touch that one.

    That's true, but on the other hand I simply don't believe that someone should be thrown away simply because they are older. If ballroom dance was like Olympic-eligible figure skating, a good number of would have had to have quit before we ever even learned to dance. Neither of us would be able at this age to find the kind of high-quality coaches who take us seriously and help us to pursure our dance passions, simply because they'd be taking young students who they could potentially turn into World Champions. If that came to pass, I'd see it as a shame, mainly because I like to see competitive ballroom dance available as a fun hobby to be enjoyed for those who wish to pursue it, and not solely as the launching point for one's professional or pseudo-professional career as a dancer.
  16. DanceAm

    DanceAm New Member


    Nobody touched the baseball thing. Might be too controversial.

    I like the comparison of the true amateur in Senior I but in SI American Rhythm Championship at Nationals, one half of the winning couple does teach. Only part time and sanctioned by USA Dance, but none the less, not an amateur in the strictest sense of the word.

    But for the most part they are mostly true amateurs.
  17. Laura

    Laura New Member

    I thought it was insightful of you to mention how some of the top baseball players may have stayed on top past their physical prime (or, effectively, extending their physical prime) by using steroids. I never thought of it that way, and thought it was a really good point you made.
  18. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's unfortunate that Champ is top-heavy, but when people are rising and there's nowhere else to go, they tend to collect there.
  19. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Look at it this Champ getting top heavy, it will back up Pre-Champ, and that will back up Novice & Syllabus, thus raising the level of competitive dancing overall. I mean really, did anyone thing the overall level of dancing would raise while still allowing mere hobbyists to get past Novice? This is all just a side effect of trying to make the US other than a backwater of IDSF-track (I refuse to call it amateur any more) dancing.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    So is that a good thing? Raising the standard of dancing in the US? Good, I think. Leaving real hobbyists languishing on the bottom? Hmm. Not sure of the long-term impact.

    I guess it depends on the overall goals and focus of the dancing communities and powers-that-be in dancesport in the US.

    Hmm. :?

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