What to Expect
Here is quick breakdown of what happens on the day of a competition, from timetables to judging.
A Typical Timetable
Wake up at overnight B&B, or depart campus. A good time to start sorting out hair and/or makeup would be around this time in the morning, or earlier!
Arrive at competition venue. The Team Captains will allocate every couple a number
Get changed into your Ballroom outfit ASAP
Ballroom Dances begin
Ballroom Presentations for Finalists
Normally this is lunchtime, however often competitions can run behind schedule, so lunch gets skipped over. If you're out of the Ballroom events early, it is advised to get changed into your Latin outfits before this point in case this happens.
Latin Dances Begin
Latin Presentations for Finalists
Team Match Begins
Team Presentation for Finalists
Time to drive back to campus and show off the trophies!
Rounds, Heats &Judging
Each category at a competition will have a series of rounds to determine which couples will get to compete in the final and, ultimatley, win the competition. Ballroom & Latin competitions are a knockout contest where each couple has to qualify for the next round in order to stay in the running. Each round will see the number of couples left in the contest reduce until only the best are left in the final.
At the beginning of a competition, there can be a large number of couples (this can be 150+ at Blackpool), so a series of heats are required to save the dancefloor turning into a mass traffic jam. Couples will be divided into heats based on their number (more on this later) and will dance in that respective heat. Each heat dances for the same amount of time and to the same song to enable fair competition. The number of couples on the floor at the same time in a heat varies, but the early rounds will tend to see 12-20 couples dancing at once. As the rounds go by and the number of couples reduces, so does the number of heats. There will normally be only a single heat for the semi-final and always a single one of 5-7 couples for the final.
Competition results are based upon which couples a set of judges think are the best. At most competitions there will be 3-5 judges deciding who they want to see to progress through to the next round. The judges will look for the best technique they can see and are not really interested in the difficulty of choreography. This means you need the dance the steps you can do the most cleanly, not the hardest steps you can just scrape together.
Unlike on Strictly Come Dancing, the judges will mark down the number of couples requested by the adjudicator to progress through the next round, rather than give out individual scores to couples. They do this by writing down the numbers of the couples they want to see progress. Each couple has a unique number given to them at the start of the competition, and this is worn on the back of the person who is dancing the leader's steps.
In order to qualify for the next round, each couple must be noted by the majority of the judges. For example, if there were 5 judges, then they would need to be marked down by 3 judges to progress. In a competition that involves more than one dance (Novice level and above) this requires the couple to be noted down by the majority of judges in all of the individual dances in order to qualify.
In the Final, the judges will give each couple a place (1st-6th) and the couple with the highest average across all the judges is the winner!
The Team Match at the end of the day is a different style of competition and it's great fun. Each couple is put into a team of 4 from the club. Within a team, a couple is assigned one of the four main dances, either Waltz, Quickstep, Cha Cha Cha or Jive. The couples then compete together as team against all the others.
Style 1 - Total Score
The main style of team matches has separate competitions for each of the four dances. Each couple scores points for their team depending on how far they get in their respective competition. The team that has the most points across all four dances is the winner.
Style 2 - Knockout (Blackpool)
IVDC in Blackpool uses a different type of team match that is more tense. Each team still consists of four couples, each doing one of the four dances. However, in the knockout style, every couple in the team has to be put through by the judges in every round or the entire team is knocked out! This creates a real sense of togetherness amongst team members as everyone has to dance well for the team to get through, but it also means the number of teams gets cut down quickly...