Ballroom Syllabi: The Places You’ll Go

At some point in your ballroom journey, you’ll likely hear someone reference “the syllabus” or maybe a level like bronze/silver/gold or beginner/intermediate/advance. The ballroom syllabus exists to define a standard set of moves that may be expected at each syllabus level in every dance. It provides dancers with an idea of what they can do on the competition floor or their level of social dancing. The syllabus encompasses bronze through gold. Continue reading


Competition Presentation: Hair

Competitive ballroom hair is the polish on top of gorgeous dancing and a great costume. Messy hair on the competition floor tends to draw attention in the worst way possible. In comparison to other couples on the floor, it can come off as sloppy and unfinished. On the comp floor, you want to present the judges with the full package: technique and artistry as well as the presentational details like costuming and hair. For all, hair is an important detail. It really does finish off the look. You don’t have to go all out and create an elaborate sculpture–let’s leave that to the pros–but you can easily do a tidy look.

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Competition Presentation: Costumes

Entering a ballroom competition is like entering another world. The floor is awash in a sea of color and sparkle and everything is designed to catch the eye. Other than the face, a person’s apparel is probably one of the first things that is noticed. This goes especially for a ballroom competition where the judges and audience are actively looking at participants. As such, costuming is a very important aspect of presentation. Continue reading

Identifying Ballroom Music: Tempo

We’ve all heard that song on the radio that makes us tap our feet and think, “I could dance to this.” And, generally, that’s true. However, competitive ballroom dancers are tied to the tempo of the music. Dance organizations such as the NDCA, USA Dance, WDSF, and others use music within particular tempo ranges for competition. Below is a list of the common dances and their general tempos. Note that tempos change from organization to organization as well as from year to year. As a dancer advances, it is common for tempos to slow to further showcase movement details.

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