Ballroom Dance > rule reminders for USA Dance syllabus & Pre-Teen dancers

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Laura, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. White Chacha

    White Chacha Active Member

    You might visit the USA Dance website and download the rulebook. The costume rules are explained there.
  2. danceislove

    danceislove New Member

    I did read it. I wasn't sure what constituted a "costume" though? Maybe I missed something...I will check.
  3. Indiana_Jay

    Indiana_Jay Active Member

  4. Indiana_Jay

    Indiana_Jay Active Member

    Don't get hung up on the word "costume." Just make sure your attire complies with all the rules for the events you'll enter. There are many such rules.
  5. danceislove

    danceislove New Member

    So it can be an actual "dance dress" as long as it complies with all of the rules? Which basically means no light effects and covers everything?
  6. Indiana_Jay

    Indiana_Jay Active Member

    I haven't looked at the rules in several weeks, but I don't recall any definition of "dance dress" as something one cannot wear. There are, however, prohibitions against "light effects" as you say.

    I consider in unhelpful, however, to attempt to summarize the many attire rules with statements like the one above. They tend to lead dancers into complacency with regard to careful study of the rules for themselves. For example, if you look closely at the rules, you'll see that coverage requirements are fairly specifically described and that "covers everything" might not be a helpful way to summarize them.

    Which takes me back to my original advice (for all dancers who plan to dance in a USA Dance event): Read the rules for yourself and make sure that your dancewear complies with each individual specification and you should be fine.
  7. danceislove

    danceislove New Member

    The use of the word "costume" is so misleading, it makes it sound like you can only wear a skirt and blouse or something :confused:
  8. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Are you sure you are looking at the USA Dance Dress Code rules for Adult Syllabus Dancers? Because I see nothing in that chart that says that you are only allowed to wear "a skirt and blouse or something" if you are competing in an Adult Syllabus event. You may have a dress, it can be any color except your skin color (or your skin color once you've tanned for the comp, if you tan). Other rules apply too, so make sure you check out the book directly to see what it says about what has to be covered, what constitutes light effects, and so on.
  9. danceislove

    danceislove New Member

    oh no no laura, I was only referring to the use of the word "costume." Sorry for the confusion. To me all of my dresses are "costumes" so when it says no costumes, to me it sounds like I can't wear them.
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Indeed, the more complicated the rules get, the more it is that the only thing that will satisfy both the rules and basic needs of dancing is a costume specifically made to the dictates of those rules - especially in the pre-adult divisions with their detailed mandates for hem, neckline, etc.
  11. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Well, that's why there are rules -- to more clearly define what is and isn't a costume. You might think a dress with no decorations on it that meets the rules for Adult Syllabus dancers is a costume, someone else might just think of it as a stretchy dress. And really when talking about Syllabus dancers we should be using the term "dress code" and not "costume," to help avoid confusion.
  12. Indiana_Jay

    Indiana_Jay Active Member

    That's sorta what I was trying to say!
  13. danceislove

    danceislove New Member

    ok so just to be really sure i am clear on this whole "costume" thing... :rolleyes:
    a dress like this, provided it follows all of the rules (which i think it does?) is still acceptable even though it is clearly not a simple dress?

  14. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Well, it certainly follows the letter of the rules, but it sure the heck looks like a costume to me. However, I've come across this situation before where women have turned up in dresses that were one rhinestone away from being illegal (e.g. an unstoned Standard dress that had the floats taken off of it)...and the outfits were deemed acceptable under the dress code.

    I wonder what my friend who Chairs comps would say about this dress. Before the rules were worded the way they are now, she used to use "would you wear this some place other than a dance competition?" as a rule-of-thumb test. But now that we have explicit rules...I've gone through them all and don't see this violating any of them. And I guess if the entire outfit were black you could wear it to a nightclub, so it almost passes the "would you wear this elsewhere" rule of thumb test too.
  15. danceislove

    danceislove New Member

    ok thanks laura! cool then i don't need to get another dress :D
  16. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    And this is why I am less and less interested in ever doing USA Dance events. If I wanted to dance in what amount to street clothes until I get out of syllabus, I'd be a social dancer.

    Why exactly do they have that rule, anyway? I can understand having costume restrictions for children, but why the rules for adults? There doesn't seem to be any practical reason for it. I'm trying to think of anything similar in my other two sports, skating or riding, but except in the hunter ring (which is very snotty and fashion-dominated, not so much rules except some Byzantine color rules stemming from fox-hunting) and the Katarina rule and the men-in-tights rule in skating, which are decency-related, everything is pretty much just safety-related. (In riding--heeled boots are for a reason. In skating, certain costume decorations can become a safety hazard.)
  17. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Not quite "street clothes," but rather social dance or nice practice wear. Many of those Chrisanne and Espen outfits discussed on that thread about expensive practice wear would work.

    Anyway, it started simply enough as: "no costumes." The reasoning behind it was that they wanted people to focus on their dancing and not feel they had to go out and spend lots of money on a sparkly dress and tail suit. Not that a good skirt is cheap, but it's one thing to spend $300 on a skirt and top and another to spend $3000 on a decorated ballgown.

    But the simple words "no costumes" sparked endless debate over what does and doesn't constitute a costume, so a very specific dress code was instituted to make it clear to people what was and wasn't allowed...but you can see it's not air-tight because we can still end up with dresses like the one discussed here being considered legal.

    Also, it's not just USA Dance events that have this. If you ever intend to dance a regular (not student/student) Amateur Syllabus event in an NDCA comp, you can't wear a costume there either. The NDCA dress code rules aren't quite as lengthy and detailed as the USA Dance ones, but still you're going to end up dancing in what amounts to nice social dance or practice wear until you get out of Syllabus.

    The only ways to dance in Syllabus events and wear a real costume are:
    • dance in Syllabus events for 35-and over (so Senior I, Senior II, Senior III)
    • dance in student/student events
    • dance in certain college competitions (check the rules for the specific competition first -- many don't allow costumes in bronze, some not in bronze or silver)
    • dance in Pro/Am events

    I'm tired of the whole costume thing in two different ways.

    Firstly, now that I'm dancing Open level in Pro/Am, I'm tired of having to play "keep up" with costumes. Dresses are so expensive, that one in my icon cost me $3200 and that was in 2002. I'd hate to know what it would cost today. I can make my own, but I'm now spending so much time training for competition that I don't really have the time or energy. I wish I didn't have to wear a costume, I'd just whip up a plain flattering dress and go with it. But all the time and money dealing with the rhinestones...I just can't deal with it any more. I do a competition a month and so I really should have three dresses a year, I could get by with two, and right now I'm getting by on one which is gorgeous but I'm getting tired of. I'm stuck wearing it though until I can either buy or make something that looks as good. Frankly, I'd rather spend the time and money getting more coaching.

    Secondly, it seems that no matter what anyone does with the dress code, it causes complaints and hoopla. As someone who helps to organize and run competitions, I'm feeling worn out about the whole thing. One the one hand I like the dress code rules because at least it protects the lower-level dancers from the kind of things I'm experiencing that I described above. On the other hand, I'm tired of dealing with the whole thing.

    Wow, I just found this comment on the expensive practice wear thread and thought I'd repost it here because it is so fitting:

  18. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Well, I like pro-am because I get a WAY better lead that way anyway. But half the fun for me is dressing up. I spend truly absurd amounts of time at competitions trying on dresses I don't even NEED (at my level I really don't need multiple dresses and frankly even if I did need to swap out for Rhythm, I could get away with the off-the-rack from the Mall I used to use as the alternate for now.) But I know I'm going to end up getting more.

    I suppose it helps that I don't have any sort of family commitments I have to worry about, I don't have a mortgage or car payments, and I grew up with horseback riding where dropping massive amounts of money even if you're NOT competing is just a given. At least if I blow money on a dress I don't have to feed it or take it to the vet, and there's no serious emotional wrench if I sell it. Just a dress. (And having done my own stoning I'll pay the extra to have someone else do it. Shoes, okay, that I can do, but a whole dress? Not again.)

    I also find it dull as a spectator. I've only gone to one college comp (as a vendor's assistant, not a competitor) and the atmosphere just wasn't for me. It just looks like you're not trying--I'm not saying everything needs 40 gross of stones (I've seen Julia and Igor compete where Julia had just a basic dance dress, no embellishments, though that was "You want to see topline? Have a good look, nothing to hide here!") but watching people in cocktail clothes is kind of meh. It would be like letting someone show hunters in a polo shirt and half-chaps. Just not on. Even the teeny kids in lead line wear hunt coats.
  19. TAK

    TAK Member

    As a college competitor, I like that I wasn't expected to wear a costume through the syllabus levels. Gave me time to get comfortable with tanning, makeup (without light effects), etc before having to worry about the more expensive aspects of presenting myself.

    Then again, I had to wear a school uniform in middle and high school and I was happy for that too, so maybe I'm just incapable of choosing my own wardrobe :D
  20. and123

    and123 Well-Known Member

    Collegiate comps are a completely different beast than Pro-Am. It's really about the dancing and the learning experience, not the costumage. In fact, many comps prohibit costumes until higher syllabus levels. The vast majority of collegiate dancers cannot afford the costumes you are describing, nor should they be expected to. Some teams have donated costumes that can be rented or borrowed by team members, but many do not. And remember that these are Am-Am couples, often coached in a group setting or by peers, so few have the luxury of one-on-one privates with a Pro, and some have only been dancing for a few months. The mental focus in such a partnership, particularly at the lower levels, is very VERY different than what you feel at a Pro-Am comp. If you want to play with pretty costumes and not deal with complicated partnership issues, then you are right - you are better off dancing Pro-Am.

    Sorry for the hijack.

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