COMPETITOR STATUS LEVELS

There are 6 different Competitor STATUS levels you may enter as: Youth, Novice, Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professional, or Masters. You only need to meet 1 criteria to move up in your Status. Please note that your Status must be consistent across all competition categories and styles that you enter (ie. a competitor cannot compete as an Amateur for Bachata, but a Novice for Salsa).  Youth competitors may move up to Novice or Amateur by choice.

You must maintain the same Status in Social Freestyle categories. e.g. you cannot be an Intermediate in Salsa Social Freestyle, but a Beginner in Social Jack & Jill Social Freestyle. 

You must choose one Status level for both.

YOUTH

Age: Up to and including 17yrs old. From 17yrs can choose to enter as a Novice or an Amateur

Performing/ Competing: No restrictions
Income: Has never had any financial compensation for dance related activities such as teaching, performing, competing, judging etc with an exemption of fundraising specifically for the purposes of attending a dance event as a competitor, performer or a student.
Judging: Must not have judged a Latin Dance Competition

NOVICE

Age: 17+ years old.

Performing/ Competing: Must not have entered any dance competition before in any Latin Dance style

Income: Has never had any financial compensation for dance related activities such as teaching, performing, competing, judging etc with the exception of fundraising specifically for the purposes of attending a dance event as a competitor, performer or a student.
Judging: Must not have judged a Latin Dance Competition

AMATEUR

Age: 17+ years old.

Performing/ Competing: Minimum of 1 year of dancing, performing and competing experience in Latin Dance

Income: Has never had any financial compensation for dance related activities such as teaching, performing, competing, judging etc with the exception of fundraising specifically for the purposes of attending a dance event as a competitor, performer or a student.
Judging: Must not have judged a Latin Dance Competition

SEMI-PRO

Age: 18+ years old.

Performing/ Competing: At least 2 years of dancing, performing and competing and may have up to 1 year of teaching/ assisting a class.
Income: May have had financial compensation for dance related events such as assisting, teaching, competing, or performing in Latin Dance
Judging: Must not have judged a Latin Dance Competition

PROFESSIONAL

Age: 18+ years old.

Performing/ Competing: At least 2 years of dancing, performing and competing and at least 1 year of teaching experience
Income: May have had financial compensation for dance related activities such as teaching, performing, competing, judging etc.
Judging: May have judged a Latin Dance competition

MASTER

Masters categories require each dancer to be at least 40yrs old.

COMPETITION DIVISIONS

YOUTH: Must consist entirely of Youth dancers.

NOVICE: Must consist entirely of Novice dancers.

AMATEUR: Must consist entirely of Amateur dancers.

SEMI-PRO: Must consist entirely of Semi-Pro dancers.

PROFESSIONAL: Must consist entirely of Professional dancers.

PRO-AM: An instructor /student couple, where the Amateur or Novice student is the only dancer being assessed, however the instructor (who can be Semi-Pro or Professional) can still incur infractions for any errors. Must be a combination of Professional or Semi-Pro with an Amateur or Novice. The couple cannot be a Semi-Pro and a Professional at the same time.

OPEN: Can consist of a mix of Novice, Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professional and Masters but excludes Youth.

MASTER: May consist of a mix of Novice, Amateur, Semi-Pro and Professional with each competitors age a minimum of 40+ years old.

COMPETITION CATEGORIES

  1. Youth Salsa Solo
  2. Youth Latin Solo
  3. Youth Salsa Duet Shines
  4. Youth Latin Duet Shines
  5. Youth Salsa Couple
  6. Youth Latin Couple
  7. Youth Salsa Shines Teams
  8. Youth Latin Shines Teams

We encourage the Youth category to act appropriate to their age group. The dance choreography / competition entry should avoid lewd, sexually suggestive or indecent portrayals/ actions in their performance. The Judges reserve the right to deduct points for salacious, lewd or offensive content for this category.

Competition Proper: (On The Day of the Competition)

Please adhere to Floor Marshall call outs. Competitors, will be expected to take the stage and ready to compete within 15 seconds of being called to the stage. Delays CAN result in a penalty deduction point and will be at the discretion of the head judge. There will be a dedicated timer to implement timing penalties.

Shines

Shines are permitted and encouraged in partnered routines, however no more then 30% shines are permitted in either the choreography or freestyle. Please check specific rules for Social Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Salsa categories.

Props

No props are allowed exempt for the Showcase Categories

Dips, Lifts tricks and Flares

Please check the specific restrictions on each category regarding lifts, tricks, flares, and dips. Keep in mind that the routine must still consist of at least 90% of the chosen dance style for divisions in Latin or Partnered Salsa Categories, i.e acrobatics should take up no more that 10% of the routine.

  1. Novice Salsa Freestyle
  2. Novice Bachata Freestyle
  3. Intermediate Salsa Freestyle
  4. Intermediate Bachata Freestyle
  5. Advanced Salsa Freestyle
  6. Advanced Bachata Freestyle
  7. Pro-Am Salsa Freestyle
  8. Open Kizomba Freestyle
  9. Open Zouk Freestyle

FREESTYLE CATEGORY

The Freestyle Category is judged on the ability to interpret the music using social dance moves. NO lifts, tricks or flares are allowed, but dips are permitted where appropriate. Shines may be danced facing each other and must be clearly un-choreographed. The focus of freestyle is on social lead/follow and connection with the partner as well as timing and music interpretation. Marks will be deducted for clearly choreographed sections.

Costumes are not required for this category, smart-casual dress preferred, heels are optional.

Judging is Ranked only, no individual scoring is done for any Freestyle section. Music will be selected by the organisers and 2 songs will be played at different tempos for each round.

Couples consist of one male and one female dancer. All couples will be on the dance floor at the same time. If there is more than 6 couples in a category, there will be a Qualifier Round which will run in heats with the top 6 couples moving on to the Finals.

SALSA

This section is for existing dance couples, ie. no changing partners throughout. You need to enter this section with your own partner.

BEGINNER

A Beginner definition for the purposes of the Championships is a NOVICE dancer with less than 1 year of salsa dance experience. The following rules must be followed:

  • Up to 1.5 in line turns allowed
  • Un-Choreographed shines are accepted but not expected
  • No dips, lifts, tricks or Flares

INTERMEDIATE

An Intermediate definition for the purposes of the Championships is an AMATEUR dancer that has up to 2 years of experience only. If you have social danced for more than 2 years you need to move up to Advanced level. The following rules must be followed:

  • Up to 2.5 in line turns and check spins allowed
  • Un-choreographed shines are encouraged
  • Dips allowed as long as they compliment the music and fit with timing
  • No lifts, tricks or flares are allowed

ADVANCED

An Advanced definition for the purposes of the Championships is an Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professional or Masters Dancer. A couple can be a mix of these Status levels for this section only. The following rules must be followed:

  • Any number of in-line turns and check spins allowed
  • Un-choreographed shines are expected
  • Dips, Lifts, tricks and flares are allowed as long as they compliment the music and fit with timing

BACHATA

OPEN DIVISION

Freestyle is judged on the ability to interpret the music using the social Bachata dance moves. No lifts, tricks or flares are allowed, but dips are permitted where appropriate. Shines may be danced facing each other and must be clearly un-choreographed. The focus of freestyle is on lead/follow and connection with the partner as well as timing and music interpretation. Marks will be deducted for clearly choreographed sections.

KIZOMBA

OPEN DIVISION

This is a fun freestyle category that will be ranked. No lifts are allowed, dips and flairs are permitted where appropriate to the style of dance and music. No costumes necessary, heels are optional. This category is judged on timing, musicality, connection with your partner and technique. Competitors will be expected to show proper frame and hold, lead and follow connection and grounded movements when executing patterns. Floor craft will also be taken into account. Open to all styles of Kizomba. If you would like to enter a choreography, please look up the Choreographed Latin categories below.

ZOUK

If you would like to enter with a choreography, please look up the Choreographed Latin categories below.

BEGINNERS

Cambres, head / frame movement, timing changes and spins will not be allowed and will encourage point deductions. Permitted moves:

  • Passo Basico
  • Viradinha Variations
  • Lateral Variations
  • Soltinho
  • Bonus Variations (Boomerang)
  • Yo-yo (Wrap)
  • Abertua (Lunge)
  • Abertura Simple turn
  • Caminhadas (Walks)
  • Circular Caminhadas
  • Elastico (Rau)
  • Body Movement
  • “S”

INTERMEDIATE

Intermediate level will be judged on on timing, technique, partner-work connection and musicality. Permitted moves:

  • All Beginner moves
  • Balao apagado
  • Tilted turns
  • Frame movements and head movementsThe complexity of movements will be rewarded or penalized depending on execution of the moves

OPEN

Open to Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professionals, and Masters. This level will be judged on timing, technique, execution, partner-work connection and musicality. All moves permitted.


  1. Novice Salsa J&J
  2. Novice Bachata J&J
  3. Intermediate Salsa J&J
  4. Intermediate Bachata J&J
  5. Advanced Salsa J&J
  6. Advanced Bachata J&J
  7. Open Kizomba J&J
  8. Open Zouk J&J

This category can be entered without a partner, as partners will be rotated. Salsa Only. The same limitations / rules apply for this section as for the Salsa Social Freestyle section above.

Beginner
Intermediate
Advanced: Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professional, Masters


  1. Amateur Male Salsa / Latin Solo
  2. Amateur Female Salsa / Latin Solo
  3. Semi Pro Male Salsa / Latin Solo
  4. Semi Pro Female Salsa / Latin Solo
  5. Professional Male Salsa / Latin Solo
  6. Professional Female Salsa Solo
  7. Professional Female Latin Solo
  8. Masters Male Salsa / Latin Solo
  9. Masters Female Salsa / Latin Solo

  1. Amateur Salsa / Latin Duets
  2. Semi Pro Salsa / Latin Duets
  3. Professional Salsa / Latin Duets
  4. Masters Salsa / Latin Duets

Duets are permitted up to 3 connected/assisted moves (these are moves that require physical connection between 2 or more individuals). Connection time between individuals for these moves should not exceed two counts of eight. More than this will result in a 2-point deduction of the final score. Any such moves executed simultaneously or as a group will only be counted as one connected/assisted move, so long as it is executed within the allowable two counts of eight.


  1. Novice Salsa Couples
  2. Novice Latin Couples
  3. Amateur Salsa Couples
  4. Amateur Latin Couples
  5. Semi Pro Salsa Couples
  6. Semi Pro Latin Couples
  7. Professional Salsa Couples
  8. Professional Latin Couples
  9. Pro-Am Salsa Couples
  10. Pro-Am Latin Couples
  11. Masters Salsa Couples
  12. Masters Latin Couples

  1. Open Salsa Shines Teams
  2. Open Latin Shines Teams
  3. Masters Salsa Teams
  4. Masters Latin Teams
  5. Open Showcase Salsa Teams
  6. Open Showcase Latin Teams

*NOTES FOR TEAMS DIVISIONS:

– Youth Salsa/ Latin Dancers may compete in an Open Salsa or Open Latin Shines team but may not make up more that 30% of the team for the Teams Category

– Novices may compete however for teams of 8 or more, Novices cannot make up more than 30% of the team in any of the Teams category.

AMATEUR: Must consist entirely of Amateur or Novice dancers. In case of low number of Amateur teams entering, this section will be combined with the Open Teams
OPEN: Can consist of a mixture of Novice, Amateur, Semi-Pro, Professional, and Masters dancers.
PARTNERED: must consist of a minimum of 2 (two) couples.
SHINES: must consist of a minimum of 3 (three) dancers.

FOR SHINES TEAMS:

Shine Teams are permitted up to 3 connected / assisted moves (these are moves that require physical connection between 2 or more individuals). Connection time between individuals for these moves should not exceed two counts of eight. More than this will result in a 2-point deduction of the final score. Any such moves executed simultaneously or as a group will only be counted as one connected/assisted move, so long as it is executed within the allowable two counts of eight.

DEFINITIONS

TRICKS

Includes dips, drops and leverage moves. These are defined as movements that requires the support of the other partner to maintain, even if the feet remain on the floor. One foot must remain on the floor at all times even during tricks. If both feet of either partner leave the floor via the assistance of the other partner, it will be considered a lift. For back-to-back tricks to be considered only one trick they need to flow seamlessly and purposefully from one element to the other, cannot change direction, and they should not occupy more than 2 counts of 8. A maximum of 4 bars/16 Beats/2 counts of 8 are allowed for continuous turns.

LIFTS

Refers to any movement where both feet leave the floor with the assistance of one’s partner. A lift can be a sequence of acrobatic movements in which one dancer lifts, and in many cases, holds their dance partner above the floor. A lift is considered an elevation in which both feet are off the floor at some point during the move, and any part of the body of the dancer touches each other to assist. For back-to-back lifts to be considered only one trick they need to flow seamlessly and purposefully from one element to the other, and they should not occupy more than 2 counts of 8. It will not be considered as a lift when the dancer raises both feet on their own without contact with the other dancer.

FLARES

Can be defined as a trick, but when one or both feet on the floor where it would be impossible to do a movement without the support of a partner.
A flare is defined as any movement that requires the support of the other partner to maintain. This is regardless of whether the feet remain on the floor or not. For example, it can be an extension away from each other from a point of connection where the balance of the performer is very interdependent on the other. If the balance of the dancer is compromised without the support of the other dancer, it is defined as a flare. A flare is NOT categorised as a lift or a dip.

ACROBATIC MOVES 

Defined as any movement where one of the dancers throws the other, or the dancer throws himself/herself with the support of the other to execute an aerial move. An acrobatic move can also be defined when the entire body of the released dancer exceeds the height of the other. Any throw that does not exceed the height of the other dancer will be considered as a figure.

COSTUMING AND SHOES –

Competitors will be judged on their appearance as part of the judging criteria, and may be marked down for costume malfunctions. Selected clothing must cover all personal anatomy and be of an appropriate and suitable style as not to cause offence, regardless of personal tastes.

For the Youth category, we encourage appropriate dress as children and youth and not as adults. We encourage modestly, and tastefully covered costumes that will not cause offence, or hinder the child’s / youth’s movement or performance.

All ladies are also required to wear a minimum of a 2.5 inch heeled shoe in competition routines for the styles of Salsa, Bachata and Zouk –  2 points will be deducted from the final score if this requirement is breached.This rule does not apply to Youth, Showcase and Social categories ( Freestyle and Jack and Jill). Any shoes may be worn in the Youth Divisions, however, lower heels may affect judges marks on presentation and/or difficulty

No costume or proper dance shoes are required for Social and Jack and Jill categories, however smart-casual / semi-formal dress is preferred.  Please do not wear clothing so revealing that it becomes distracting to your dancing, you will get marked down.

ELIGIBILITY

The NZ Latin Dance Championship is open to competitors with any visa or passport. ie. non NZ residents and competitors from other countries are welcome!

MUSIC LENGTH, SUBMISSION,
DEADLINE

The length of music across all styles:

Solos, Couples and Duets:

1min 15sec – 1min 45sec

Teams:

1min 45sec – 2min 30sec

NOTE: For every 1 second over or under the time limit for the section, there will be an additional 1 point penalty deduction off the final mark

Please send your music to info@nzlatindancechampionships.co.nz by FRIDAY 5th NOVEMBER, labelled with your NAME / TEAM and DIVISION. We will send you a confirmation that your song has been received, but we will not be checking to see if your song meets the music rules.

If submitted after the deadline, it is the competitors responsibility to make sure the DJ has the correct music. You must have a copy of your music with you on the day as well

CODE OF CONDUCT

Moves that depict or imply violence, sexual assault or degradation is not permitted and will be penalised (from penalty to disqualification).  This includes performing sexual acts, hitting ones partner, throwing them to the ground, and pulling their hair.

When requesting scores, please specify team names and categories you would like scores for and email request to raine@nzlatindancechampionships.co.nz after the competition proper.

When asking for feedback – approach the judges directly regarding the category/ competition piece in question. Some judges would prefer for you to book a private lesson with them to discuss. The competition organisers will not liaise between judge and competitor.

Judges decision is final. Please be respectful in asking for feedback and information from the judges after the competition proper. In the event of any dispute, final decision will be made by the Competition Director and the Head Judge.

By participating in the New Zealand Latin Dance Championships, all competitors, judges and other associated parties, agree to all of the above terms and conditions.

REGISTRATIONS

Each competitor is required to register for the competition and pay their individual registration fees before the closing date. Any purchases or payments made for tickets or passes to the New Zealand Latin Dance Championships are completely non-refundable and non-transferable under any circumstances, and are valid only for the terms that are offered and chosen at the time of registration. In case of injury or unavailability to/of you, your partner or team member, it is at the discretion of the competition director to approve the potential conversion of your competitor pass to a full spectator pass, based on documented proof of injury or a legitimate reason for unavailability.

Minimum Entries

Competition Organizers reserve the right to cancel / merge or alter the conditions or prizes of any category that does not receive a minimum of  three (3) entrants.
 

Disqualification

Any competitor that does not adhere to the General Rules, Code of Conduct and Terms & Conditions of the Championships may be subject to disqualification from the competition and therefore forfeit any right to any prizes or awards presented.  Any kind of harassment : verbal, physical or sexual will not be tolerated and and the competitor will be disqualified and asked to leave the premises immediately.

How many times can you compete?

You can compete in as many Categories as you are eligible to compete in, but you can only compete once in each Category Section, with the exception of Professional competitors in Pro-Am, who can each compete multiple times in the Pro-Am Section with different partners. Competitors are permitted to be in multiple teams IF THEY are representing multiple schools.

Each school may have 1 or more teams in each Category if there is a completely different set of eligible team members.

Promotions, Photography and Video Recording

Competitors agree to be photographed and filmed on behalf of the NZ Latin Dance Championships, where the media material can be used for promotion of future competitions as well as released on social media and other internet sites like Youtube etc. This includes, but not limited to photographic, video or written commentary regarding the competition experience and any subsequent ventures from the benefits of winning and holding a National title, on various online platforms including Competition or Studio websites or Social Media outlets such as Facebook.

FAQS

Every time we receive an enquiry, we’re going to be putting both the question and the answer on this page, in order to help others with their questions and also to maintain consistency and clarity in the operations of the competition.

No, for all categories (exempt Youth categories and Social Salsa Categories)  a minimum of 2.5 inch heel is required for ladies and proper Latin shoe or Cuban heel shoe for men. A penalty deduction of 2 point off the final score will be made if these requirements are not made.

Your competitor definition needs to be consistent across the board. This does mean that if you choose to compete with a Professional for any division, you will need to raise yourself up to that same level for all categories. You can choose to enter Pro-Am or Open Categories instead. 

In order to maintain fairness and avoid any issues or complications that might arise should another competitor dispute the song length, we are having to be quite strict with our regulations. That being the case, the music itself does need to be within the time frame of your division once you subtract silence from the track. If you do choose to risk it though, please be aware that this could result in a penalty with marks being deducted. Please see our rules for time specifics.

Yes, each competitor need to submit the Individual form and pay their entry fee.

As per our Terms and Conditions, The Competitors pass is actually non-transferable to another person, however you can convert your Competitors pass to a full Spectators pass  for yourself, which still includes entry to the event.