The rules in this section refer to amateur partnerships (one amateur dancer partnered by another amateur dancer).


1. Age classifications, "a" through "f", will become effective on the individual's actual birthday. On a year where a competitor is going to move from one classification to the next they may make this change anytime during a 60-day period that begins 30 days prior to their birthday and ends 30 days following their birthday.

a. Pre-Teen I: 9th birthday or less

b. Pre-Teen II: 10th or 11th birthday

c. Junior I: 12th or 13th birthday

d. Junior II: 14th or 15th birthday

e. Youth: 16th, 17th or 18th birthday

f. Adult: 19th birthday or greater

(1) Senior I: 35th birthday or greater

(2) Senior II: 45th birthday or greater

(3) Senior III: 55th birthday or greater

For the calendar year 2012 competitors may choose to compete in the age classifications that were in force during the 2011 calendar year if they wish instead of the age classifications above. The 2011 age definitions follow:

Age classifications, "a" through "f-(3)", will become effective on January 1st of the year in which the individual's classification age is attained, regardless of the actual birth date.

Pre-Teen I:9th birthday or less

Pre-Teen II:10th or 11th birthday

Junior I:12th or 13th birthday

Junior II:14th or 15th birthday

Youth:16th, 17th or 18th birthday

Adult:19th birthday or greater

Senior I:35th birthday or greater

Senior II:45th birthday or greater

Senior III:55th birthday or greater

2. Organizers may combine age classifications as follows:

a. Pre-Teen I and Pre-Teen II into a single Pre-Teen classification.

b. Junior I and Junior II into a single Junior classification.

c. Senior I, Senior II, and Senior III into a single Senior classification.

d. Organizers may combine classifications not listed above by obtaining written permission from the Ballroom Director.

3. Organizers may offer additional age category competitions, such as "Under 21", etc.

4. Competitors may dance "up" or "down" as follows:

a. Pre-Teen I competitors may dance up one age classification to "Pre-Teen II".

b. Pre-Teen II competitors may dance up one age classification to "Junior I".

(1) Pre-teen II competitors who dance up to junior must remain in the approved pre-teen costumes. This rule applies to the individual, not to the couple - if only one member of the partnership is a bonafide Junior age competitor then only that individual may wear a "Junior" costume.

c. Junior I competitors may dance up one age classification to "Junior II".

d. Junior II competitors may dance up one age classification to "Youth".

e. Youth competitors may dance up to the Adult classification.

f. When an organizer combines age classifications (Pre-Teen I & II, Junior I & II or Senior I, II & III) competitors may dance up or down as follows:

(1) Only Pre-Teen II age category competitors may dance up into the combined Junior age category.

(2) Combined Juniors may dance up into the combined Youth age category.

(3) Combined Seniors may dance down into the adult age category.

5. The following rules apply to competitors age 18 and under:

a. For Youth, Junior I and Junior II partnerships, one of the individuals may be no more than two age classifications younger.

b. If one of the individuals in the partnership is two age classifications younger, then the younger member of the partnership must request permission in writing from the NDCA Ballroom Department and in turn receive written approval prior to being allowed to compete. (example - a "Pre-Teen II" girl wishing to compete with a "Junior II" age boy)

(1) If written permission is given for the individual to dance up two age classifications, then that person may not return again to dance in the original younger age classification that they "gave up".

c. Under no circumstance will a Pre-Teen I, Pre-Teen II, or a Junior I competitor be allowed to compete in the Adult age classification.

d. A Junior II competitor may not apply for permission to dance up as an Adult until they are 15 years old, at which time they would need to apply to the Ballroom Department as noted above.

e. Youth competitors turning 19 years of age in the calendar year may still dance as youths until they have graduated from "High School".

6. A couple's age classification eligibility is defined as the age of the older partner for the Pre-Teen I, Pre-Teen II, Junior I, Junior II, Youth and Adult classifications, while it is defined as the age of the younger partner for the Senior classifications.

7. Any amateur competitor dancing in a Pre-Teen I, Pre-Teen II, Junior I, Junior II, or Youth "Open Singles Event" may only be partnered by another amateur competitor aged eighteen years or younger."


Competition proficiency categories may be offered as follows:

1. Syllabus. Restricted to “medalist” level figures (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Novice Bronze, Novice Silver, Novice Gold, Etc).

2. Novice. Open Syllabus. It is recommended that “Novice” competitions generally be restricted to two (2) of the allowed dances for each style.

3. Pre-Championship. Open Syllabus. It is recommended that “Pre-Championship” competitions generally be restricted to three or four (3-4) of the allowed dances for each style.

4. Open Amateur. Open syllabus. All of the dances in each style must be done in this category in all rounds, and in the order prescribed.


1. A competitor is eligible to dance in the “Syllabus”, “Novice” and/or “Pre-Championship” proficiency classifications until they accumulate three proficiency points. There is no limit to the number of proficiency points that may be accumulated in the “Open Amateur” level.

2. A competitor receives one point when they either a) place first in their current classification when a semi-final was danced, or b) dance in the final of a higher proficiency event where a semi-final was danced.

3. In the “Syllabus” categories proficiency points should be accumulated independently for each dance.

4. The eligibility to compete in a classification is applied to individual amateur competitors and not the couple as an entity.

5. An amateur couple is only eligible to compete in a classification if both members of the couple are eligible.

6. An amateur competitor’s eligibility is based on his/her accomplishments regardless of the number or length of partnerships they have had.

7. It is the responsibility of all amateur competitors to ensure that they are eligible for the category in which they desire to dance.

8. An amateur competitor may enter at most two consecutive proficiency classifications in any particular style and age group at a particular competition.

9. An amateur competitor’s ineligibility begins at the conclusion of the competition in which his/her third point was acquired. In this case the word “competition” refers to the entire event (generally a “weekend”).

10. An amateur competitor’s proficiency level as a Pro/Am shall not be used in determining his/her amateur proficiency level.


Pre-Teens must dress as listed below.

1. Pre-Teen.

a. Boys

(1) Trousers

(a) Black or dark blue color only

(b) High waist optional

(c) Underfoot strap optional

(d) Satin stripes are allowed.

(2) Shirts

(a) Plain white or black long sleeved collared shirt only (no wing collars)

(b) No pleats or ribbing

(c) Sleeves to be worn at wrist length

(3) Sweaters and vests are not allowed.

(4) Tie - Black color only, may be either straight or bow

(5) Socks - Black or dark blue color only

(6) Shoes- Heel height not to exceed 1.5 inches (must be black)

(7) Materials - Fabrics must be plain, ie: cotton, polyester, cotton/polyester blend, wool blend

(a) No satin or shiny fabrics

(b) No rhinestones, glitter, metallic thread, patterns or sequins allowed

(c) Decorations - not allowed

(8) Makeup - Not allowed

(9) Hairstyle - Long hair must be worn in a pony tail

b. Girls

(1) Skirt with top or simple dress with attached under garment or leotard top with full skirt

(2) Skirts

(a) Plain or pleated with minimum 1 to maximum 3 half circles. One plain simple underskirt allowed which is no larger or longer than top layer, and is the same or similar color as the outer skirt

(b) No uneven hem lines, use of boning, frills, splits, openings, fishing line, or edging (including "lettuce edging"). Edging or trim of any kind, including ribbon, satin, lace, sequins, etc, is not allowed. A simple hem is required.

(c) Length of skirt must not be shorter than 3 inches above the knee cap and no longer than 3 inches below the knee cap

(3) Bodice

(a) Necklines: Boat, high neck, v-neck, sweetheart, 'peter pan' collar, and regular collar are allowed. Edging or trim of any kind, including ribbon, satin, lace, sequins, etc, is not allowed on the neckline

(b) Gathering or shirring on the bodice is not allowed

(c) Edging or trim on the bodice is not allowed

(4) Sleeves

(a) Long, short, elbow length, cap, puff. or sleeveless styles are allowed

(b) Cannot be replaced by trimmings, frills, or edging on the shoulder line

(c) No "finger loops" allowed

(5) Materials

(a) Fabrics MUST be only one color throughout

(b) No glitter, metallic thread, or fabric creating pattern effects'

(c) No use of feathers, fringes, bows, belts, frills or sequins

(d) No flesh color fabric

(e) Any use of color coordinated 'see through' fabric must be lined from waist to shoulder; for use on arms no lining is needed

(f) Satin or lace (or similar fabric) is not allowed. Lycra, Spandex, Polyester, plain velvet, and jersey is encouraged.

(6) Shoes and Socks

(a) Shoes - Heel height not to exceed 1.5 inches, and must be block heel style if a dance shoe. If the shoe comes with rhinestones on the buckle then they are allowed. If the shoe comes with glitter on the shoe then it is allowed.

(b) Socks: White ankle socks (may have a small amount of lace), flesh colored pantyhose, or light pink or white tights must be worn.

(c) No Fishnet Tights

(7) Accessories, jewelry, and makeup

(a) No use of arm bands, chokers or headbands

(b) No decoration is allowed on dress or in hair

(c) No jewelry is allowed, other than one small earring in each ear

(d) No makeup allowed

(e) Use of fake eyelashes, fake fingernails, colored or glitter hair spray is forbidden

c. For pre-teen one-dance or two-dance events, competition organizers may require that the shirts/tops be white and the trousers/skirts be black.