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

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

  1. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    It seems like there's a degree of frustration with the way the system defined by the adult proficiency levels is approaching a giant case of "can't get there from here". However, while several factors that contribute to that - time, physical advantages (including age), incumbency, etc, are hard to do something about one is not. I think it's worth considering if many of the couples who stall out do so because they were able to compete with what is basically a short term strategy, driven by show but not by technique. If you place out of pre-champ without having done the prep work on building really fundamentally correct habits (work that could have been done way back in syllabus) then making further progress may require going back to some fairly basic issues.

    Take for example movement - there's an ongoing debate between those who think you should move big first, and make it correct later, vs. those who think you should learn to move correctly and then use that to move more. You may be able to win pre-champ with the first strategy - but at some point you are going to come up against those who move correctly and far. Learning to move correctly first might delay your progress through pre-champ a little - but when you place out, you will be in better shape on the skills necessary for champ. Short of waiting for retirement, the only way to break into the champ final is to learn to do something better than those who are already there.
  2. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    This isn't how I remember it, but it's been quite a while and it wasn't one of the issues I felt really strongly about while I was on the Rules Committee, so I may just be misremembering. But I thought that it was the West Coasters who wanted Novice on a parallel track, because they didn't want to be placed out of entering the lower level events at Nationals because of their results at West Coast events where that was effectively the lowest level. I'm pretty sure that it was the West Coast representatives on the Rules Committee who were arguing for the parallel tracks solution, anyway.
  3. Another Elizabeth

    Another Elizabeth Active Member

    I see no reason why increasing the number of proficiency points for prechamp requires increasing the number for syllabus. As you say, they're in a different situation.

    It may not be what they say, but I think the big reason for being dissatisfied about placing out of prechamp is not so much that it requires you to dance in a category where you're not going to make finals for years, but that it substantially reduces the cost-effectiveness of competitions, because you can only enter one category where you used to be able to enter two. Suddenly you're spending just as much to travel, probably more on costumes and such, and you're dancing less than half as much (because you're not making many cuts in champ). Some couples are able to solve the problem by starting to dance in senior, but that doesn't help the ones who are still under 35 when they hit championship.

    It's also the case that many couples first reach the point where they're striving to make a cut, instead of striving to win, just as they get to championship. This does require a definite change in attitude, with the inevitable associated grousing from competitors. But letting these couples stay in prechamp longer isn't really going to dispel complaints - it's just going to mean that they get "stuck" in prechamp instead of champ, because the top dancers don't get out of prechamp, and so they don't make the finals there that they used to.

    I think that maybe increasing the number of proficiency points required to move up is trying to fix a problem that was going to fix itself anyway. Because USA Dance has already provided a potential solution to the "dancing in only one event" problem with the creation of the World Class category. By having two events that it's impossible to point out of - Champ and World Class - any couple can enter two events if they want to.

    Chris also has a very valid point. USA Dance has created certain privileges for "championship" dancers (although it seems those are being cut back to some extent). By increasing the number of points to get out of prechamp, they are also making it harder for couples to become championship dancers and achieve those privileges. I'm not sure that's really a good thing.
  4. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    I strongly disagree. I think if the system was like the European system - you need to be "promoted" to the next level - then couple "graduating" from a level is ready for the next level because the levels are "true" . However, not true with American system.

    Lots of people that randomly register themselves for a level "because they can" can create a semifinal and make it easy for the most decent couple out there to earn points and be pushed out ofthe level before they even got comfortable with it...

    And I just want to add, I don't dance to beat other couples, I dance to improve my dancing. And realistically I can look at my dancing and say whether it is or isn't up to standard at a certain level. And it has nothing to do with whether or not I can beat other couples in the field.
  5. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Well, there is, they just don't go there because there is no incentive for them to do so. The top level couples in the open age group could turn pro and continue their dance careers that way. But since USA Dance rules allow them to teach, get sponsored, be in shows for pay, etc. etc. then why should they turn pro? Of course, the other side to this argument is that most of the other countries let their IDSF-world-eligible competitors do all these things too, so we're just keeping up with the rest of the world so we can give our top couples the same kind of chances.

    Oh, and to answer the question about points: if there's a bunch of newly-minted "Champ" couples who can't automatically make Champ finals, isn't that a good thing? By making these people in Champ work harder to move up even one spot, doesn't that also raise the level of the dancing overall? At Blackpool it's considered an achievement to make a the semi-final. Heck, it's considered good to get to the quarter-final. Why wouldn't we want it to be that way in some of our larger IDSF-world-eligible-track competitions here?

    It's funny, I just find that "it's too hard to do well when we're forced to move up into Champ" argument to be the same kind of "everyone wants to win" argument that people so mightily disdain about Pro/Ams, for example.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I realize this is a digression, and I'm genuinely not trying to hijack the discussion at hand. So, sometime later, could someone explain how the collegiate point system works.

    And, in response to the actual topic of your post, Kitty :oops: :lol: What do you mean by bronze choreography? Bronze syllabus patterns?
  7. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    Which steps you are dancing has no bearing on your competitive level. I have seen couples win gold dancing silver steps. I have seen couples place in Novice and Prechamp dancing gold steps. Even if you are pushed out of silver, that doesn't mean you can't learn the silver steps while competing at the Gold level. The list of steps is not necessarily correlated to how you are dancing them.

    And yes, sometimes you can gain points by winning in a field where many couples are dancing up. But 3 times with a semi final? Not likely.

    And once you advance to Gold, many of the couples in that event are dancing up from Silver. So maybe that *is* where you really belong.

    And same in Champ. Usually a good number of the couples in any given Champ field are dancing up from Prechamp. That doesn't mean that someone should be afraid to dance it just because they might not make a final.

    A final is supposed to be the top of the field, not the average. People think they should only dance where they can make finals or win. Where's the challenge in that?

    And if someone is expecting to make finals in Champ by the time they place out of Prechamp, even with the 5 proficiency points then they are in for a rude awakening. Pre-champ is hardly the direct road to the Champ final. There is such a huge abyss of hard work and 17 year old pseudo pros in between. That's a fact that no number of proficiency points is going to change.

    The bigger problem has always been couples who spend too long in the lower levels, not the other way around.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yep. That's what I was getting at with my question. I've always thought that the distinction was with technique, not step patterns. *shrug*
  9. Laura

    Laura New Member

    That's for sure...people who have made the jump from the top of Pre-Champ into Champ say that the gulf between the two is deep and wide. However, I have also heard some of these same people say that once they've had to up their entire game to even start to be competitive on the Champ level, they don't want to go back to Pre-Champ. It's like Championship is the big time, and they feel they've finally arrived, even if they only go a round or two at Nationals.
  10. Laura

    Laura New Member

    You are correct. I've placed in Novice three time with three different partners dancing syllabus steps.

    However, Kitty, so long as you're following the point rules, you can stay at whatever level you, your partner, and your coach agree is best. People will always try to talk the best dancers in their level up and out of their level! It's a game strategy!
  11. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    What do you mean?
    As long as the couple is eligible, where is the problem?
  12. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    The "collegiate point system" was initially created by the New England College Network (NECN), before my time, probably around 10? years ago. When the now-defunct, "Youth/College Network" arm of USABDA formed, it adopted the NECN point system, and is what most people refer to as YCN points, even though there isn't a YCN anymore.

    The system was:
    for events with a semi-final, you earn 3 points for 1st place, 2 points for 2nd place, and 1 point for third place.

    for events with a quarter final, 4-6th also earn one point

    you earn double the number of points in the level below, and 7 in two levels below.

    Points are earned individually and per-dance. After 7 points you are placed out of that dance at that level (including multi-dances).

    The YCN system is often complimented by time-restrictions on both Newcomer and Bronze levels, often 1 semester for newcomer and 2-3 for bronze.

    As the system awards 6-9 points per dance per competition, on average one person is placed out of each dance each competition (amortized) after the "pump is primed". In contast the new USA Dance Inc system, only awards on average 1 point per dance per competition, so will only place a person out every fifth competition.
  13. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    In an ideal world. In practice, it's easy to describe step patterns, and hard to describe (or easy to misunderstand) concepts of technique. Thus the usual path is that choreography and the kind of confidence and capability born of pure experience far outstrip technical mastery. But occasional it works the other way, with relatively inexperienced dancers picking up sound habits before learning lots of material or cementing flawed methods with years of practice.

    Trying to figure out what common set of levels to assign the two kinds of dancers to can get interesting, and the results can depend a lot on what the judges decide to look for.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  15. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    I think this is a side effect of the huge fields in beginner and intermediate.

    In most college competitions, and USA Dance, Inc comps that attract an appreciable number of college students, you have a very large number of beginners, say fourty to eighty couples, and a good number of silver dances (say thirty to sixty couples). In most of the college students' cases they are dancing silver because they have "timed out" of bronze, not placed out, so both Bronze and Silver act as "entry levels".

    Often the level of skill is about the same for the bottom 75% of these two fields, so if you do well in bronze, you're very likely to do well in silver too.

    Gold often is under populated, as you don't "time out" of silver. While its often not as competitive (in terms of size) you start to see a much greater difference in dance ability/execution/etc amoung the top gold couples than the top silver/bronze couples.
  16. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    I think it is common to dance syllabus routines in novice...
  17. skwiggy

    skwiggy Well-Known Member

    Well for one, they're not always eligible but sometimes they keep dancing anyway. But that is a discussion for another day. ;)
  18. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    I haven't timed out of collegiate bronze yet :lol:
    certainly placed out of it though, at least in standard and most latin dances (I am still eligible for bronze paso... :roll: ).
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Okay. Another question for the parking lot. Timed out of collegiate bronze? :?
  20. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Actually, you (individually) follow silver steps just fine. And gold ones. And open ones. And you follow swing pretty well too. And based on that, you probably could be competitive in any of those levels. But you haven't been formally taught that material, or all the details of the underlying technique, and it would be better if you take the time to do some of that - especially the technique. More critically, you would need a partner who has real security in those areas - either going into the partnership, or developed by working through all those concepts together.

    Just ignore the people arguing you should rush out of silver based on the result of two of four dances at a single comp. At a minimum, you are justified in waiting until you can confirm that placement with another similar one, hopefully including all dances. But don't hesitate to dance up in gold and novice while you are cementing your silver experience.

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