Ballroom Dance > What's the difference in these competition levels?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by LindyKeya, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    For some reason this information seems to have fallen out of my brain, could someone please help?
    What's the difference, as far as difficulty/experience level in divisions labeled "Open," "Pre-Champ," or "Amateur?"
  2. Laura

    Laura New Member

    "Open" is an overloaded term that means several things. It can refer to:
    • a syllabus-level event that allows dancers to incorporate moves from the next highest level. For example, in "Open Bronze" you are allowed to incorporate some Silver-level figures
    • dancing out of the regular dance hold, such as in Smooth when you dance side-by-side some people will call that "open work"
    • a competitive event where there are no syllabus restrictions at all and where out-of-syllabus figures are commonly danced, such as in the phrase "we have to get some new choreography now that we're dancing in the open levels"
    • a competition that is not restricted by nationality, proficiency, or qualifying events etc, such as the British Open Championships or an Open Professional event (as opposed to a Rising Star event, which is restricted by previous wins at that level)
    • a synonym for the highest competitive proficiency level. Many times people will refer to what is called "Championship Level" in the US as "Open"

    Keeping the above in mind, I realize you are speaking of "Open" as the synonym for "Championship." This is the 2nd highest level in the US for non-WD&DSC member dancers. I'd use the term "amateur" here but so many of the top people in the Championship level teach that "amateur" is a misnomer. But I digress. The highest level now in the US is called "World Competitor." I'm not entirely clear on who can and cannot dance in "World Competitor" and how one qualifies, but that's another topic anyway.

    As far as difficulty levels go, the Championship and World Competitor level dancers could be considered to be the most skilled and have probably been dancing the longest time. The best ones in the US are as good as and even better than most pros. These people are as dedicated to their dancing as the pros are, and some of these people teach and have sponsorships that cover their training and living expenses.

    Pre-Championship is one level lower. These dancers don't have as much experience, but they are still quite skilled. Depending on where you live and compete, Pre-Championship is either the first level where out-of-syllabus dancing is allowed, or the second. Most people on the East Coast start out in syllabus and then after they've worked through the Gold syllabus level move on to Pre-Championship. The dance competition culture on the West Coast was different 10 and 20 years ago, and there wasn't much syllabus competing going on, so instead there was a level called "Novice" where new people starting out would dance. To this day USA Dance (formerly known as USABDA -- the US Amateur Ballroom Dancers' Association) treats Novice as an equivalent level to the combined syllabus levels. This unfortunately results in some confusion about how proficiency points are applied in areas where both syllabus events and Novice events are held. But once again this is a whole 'nother topic (and one that I intend to understand because it affects me directly these days).

    "Amatuer" isn't a level, but rather a classification based not on how much money one makes from dancing but rather from who's set of rules one follows. Various dancesport organizations world-wide are removing the term "amateur" from use since the whole concept is kind of fading away on the highest levels.

    I'm sure I didn't really answer you questions and that now you probably have few more. Sorry about that! But please keep asking questions and we'll do our best to explain things to you.
  3. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    My understanding is that as a technical formality, an "open" level is a combination of all levels from pre-champ on up, so placing in it is equivelent to placing in pre-champ for purposes of elgibility for future comps. On the other hand, if an explicit pre-champ level is also offered, then clearly "open" should be read as championship level.
  4. robin

    robin New Member

    In the UK many people use the word "amateur" to denote the highest level of amateur competitions. It's probably short for "open amateur" or "amateur chamionship". But people would say "do you enter pre-champ or amateur".

    Thus, "that looks very amateur" is actually a compliment, referring to top level dancers...

    Other countries have classes called A-D, usually A being the highest, though often there is also an "S" class above that, some countries have numbered grades, in others medal grades exists before the competitive grades, or sometimes alongside them. In some countries "novice" is someone who has danced for a few months, in other countries it is someone who has competed for years and has just graduated to "novice" from "gold".

    I think what each of the levels actually mean in terms of ability in a given place is very variable, sometimes even within one country and the only way of finding out is to go along and watch a competition or ask someone who knows ones own system and the other places.
  5. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    What would you think if someone said you looked amateurish?
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Cool. Lots of information, here. Thanks. :D

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