Competition Categories, Rules and Judging Criteria

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: Up to 1 year of dancing, performing and competing experience
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: At least 1 year of dancing, performing and competing experience
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.
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

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

SOCIAL FREESTYLE CATEGORY

The Social 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 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 SOCIAL FREESTYLE

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 SOCIAL FREESTYLE

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 SOCIAL FREESTYLE

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 SOCIAL FREESTYLE 

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.

JACK & JILL SOCIAL FREESTYLE

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

CHOREOGRAPHED SALSA CATEGORY: COUPLES, SOLOS, DUETS, TEAMS

Choreography Style
These rules are applicable to all Choreographed Salsa sections, including Couples, Solos, Duets and Teams. 90% of the routine must be recognisable Salsa. All trick, lifts and flares must fit into the remaining 10% of the choreography.

Music selection
All songs must be recognisable Salsa with a traditional Salsa rhythm.

Salsa On1 / On2 / Cuban
Dancers can compete either on1, on2 or Cuban Salsa, but must stay on their chosen beat and in the chosen Linear/ Cuban style throughout the entire routine.

Qualifying Rounds For Couples :
100% choreography and will run in case there are 7+ couples registered. For 6 or less couples, everyone will go straight to Final round.

CHOREOGRAPHED LATIN CATEGORY: COUPLES, SOLOS, DUETS, TEAMS

Choreography Style
These rules are applicable to all Choreographed Latin sections, including Couples, Solos, Duets and Teams. You can choose one style between the options of Zouk, Kizomba, Bachata, ChaCha, Samba, Merengue, Reggaeton or Argentine Tango. If in doubt over the specific dance style, please contact the organiser to double check.
At least 90% of the routine must be danced in one chosen style. All tricks, lifts, and flares if applicable, must fit into the remaining 10% of the choreography.

Music selection
All songs must be recognisable as either Zouk, Kizomba, Bachata, ChaCha, Samba, Merengue, Reggaeton or Argentine Tango – The music should have the distinctive rhythm of the style being danced.
Qualifying Rounds For Couples :
100% choreography and will run in case there are 7+ couples registered. For 6 or less couples the categories will go straight to Final round.

CHOREOGRAPHED OPEN SHOWCASE CATEGORY: COUPLES, DUETS, TEAMS

In this category – anything goes as long as 50% of the choreography has clear Latin flavour through music or dance.
Props are accepted as long as it takes no longer than 30 seconds to set up and remove from the dance floor. Glitter, individual feathers and other small decorative items that may affect the performance of the next competitor are not allowed. If in doubt, please check with the organisers before the competition.
Modern and pop remixes of Latin music are acceptable, the length of music must be between 1min 30sec – 2min 30sec.

This category is open to all Status levels and couples may be mixed (opposite and same sex couples are accepted). For the 2020 competition we will have 3 sections:

Couples and Duets: 2 people
Teams: 3 people minimum
NOTES ON TEAMS

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.

NOTES ON CONNECTION FOR DUETS AND SHINES TEAMS

FOR 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.
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.

GENERAL RULES, CODE OF CONDUCT, T&Cs

CODE OF CONDUCT
* If you are a regular student at a school or more than one schools and you choose to represent yourself or only one of the schools you are attending, please have a conversation with your instructor in private well before the competition in order to avoid any confusion and public arguments.  It is YOUR responsibility to sort out any issues with your instructors and school directors prior to the competition. The NZ Latin Dance Championship organisers will not get involved and will add your representation as per your application email.

* 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.

Specific For Youth Category:
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.

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.

Flarescan 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 Move – 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

In 2020 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 raine@nzlatindancechampionships.co.nz by Thursday 5th Nov midnight, labelled with your name OR team name and category. 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. We recommend having a copy of your music with you on the day as well

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. 2020 rules will also permit competitors to be part of 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.

Judging Criteria

  • Timing & Musicality (20%)

Dancers must be consistent with the timing of the chosen dance style. Dancers may interrupt their timing to highlight the break or accent musicality. The dancer must return to the original timing. Dancer must break consistently on the same count, according to the chosen dance style.  The timing maybe broken with clear and obvious intention. As part of musicality, the interpretation of the chosen song will also be judged.

  • Difficulty (20%)Judges will look for the complexity, intricacy and speed of footwork, spins, patterns, lifts, tricks & overall routine. Points are deducted for any routine that uses an excessive amount of tricks/lift/flares. Clean execution of the elements will contribute to the marks on difficulty.
  • Technique (20%)Judges will look for posture, clean lines, foot placement, flexibility and body movement appropriate to the chosen dance style. Dancers are expected to demonstrate clean execution of the chosen movements.
  • Originality and structure of Choreography / OR Freestyle vocabulary (20%)Freestyle categories  are judged on the vocabulary of freestyle patterns for the lead and the vocabulary of styling of the of such patterns by the follower.  Choreography is judged on such elements as: use of floor space, interpretation of music, interesting pattern and shine combinations, formation changes ( where applicable) and use of height levels ( lower, mid and upper).
  • Appearance, Connection & Synchronicity (20%) Dancers will be judged on stage presence and visual presentation: aesthetics of the couple (hair, costumes, makeup should be appropriate and complimenting to the body and the chosen dance style and should not be distracting), 1 point will be deducted for every wardrobe malfunction.  Additionally, interaction and connection with partners is considered: coordination of movements between them, and lead/follow relationship. Synchronicity in shines for couples and overall execution of the routine for duets and teams is marked in this section.