Competitor Classification

Competitor Classification is required to remain consistent across all styles and divisions (eg. It is not possible to be Professional for Salsa, but Amateur for Bachata etc.) For the purposes of the Australian Dance Cup, the following competitor definitions will apply:


A Student or person for whom dance is purely recreational. An Amateur does not make and has never made a living or earn any income from any type of dance related activities, including teaching, performing, judging, etc.


A Semi-Pro competitor may receive, or may have previously received financial compensation from dance related activities, provided this is purely on a part-time/casual basis, while the majority of their income is earned in another profession.


A person who earns the majority or entirety of their income through dance related activities, including but not limited to teaching, performing, judging, etc.


Competitors aged 17 or less at the time of the competition.


Adult competitors of 40 years of age or over.



N.B. Masters competitors and Youths over the age of 16 may also compete in any other division outside of their classification, provided they consistently stay within the constraints of the status they best identify with, be it Amateur, Semi-Pro or Professional.

General Rules

  • All Competitors must possess a Full Competitors Pass in order to be able to compete.
  • Entrants can compete in as many different divisions as they are eligible to compete in, however they may only compete once in any individual division – this includes instances where a dancer may be a member of more than one team. The only exceptions are in the case of Professional dancers when competing in a Pro/Am division, in which case they are permitted to enter twice, so long as the entries are with two different dance partners.
  • Competitors are not permitted to use the same choreography in more than one division of the event, with the exception of Youth or Masters or Open categories.
  • Each division must have a minimum of 5 registered entries in order to proceed. If a division has less entries, the Competition Director reserves the right to merge or cancel divisions, at his discretion. Competitors will be informed of any decisions or adjustments in this instance.
  • The Australian Dance Cup reserves the right to photograph and film at and for the duration of the event, along with the right to use this content in any and all future promotional material.
  • The Australian Dance Cup will not accept responsibility for loss or injury to persons or possessions in relation to the event/competition.

Specific rules for categories

Same Gender

A single entry in this division must feature two dancers of the same gender, either male/male or female/female, dancing as a couple in a lead and follow capacity.


For the 2017 Australian Dance Cup, there will only be 3 divisions of duets and teams:

  • Youth teams – where all competitors are aged 17 or less
  • Amateur teams – where all team members are classed as Amateurs
  • Open teams – which allows for any mix of Competitors


  • Small Shines Teams must consist of a minimum of 3 dancers and a maximum of 6 dancers
  • Large Shines Teams must consist of a minimum of 7 dancers, with no maximum
  • Small Partnered Teams must consist of a minimum of 2 couples, and a maximum of 4 couples
  • Large Partnered Teams must consist of a minimum of 5 couples, with no maximum



For the 2017 Australian Dance Cup, there will only be 3 divisions of duets and teams:

  • Youth teams – where all competitors are aged 17 or less
  • Amateur teams – where all team members are classed as Amateurs
  • Open teams – which allows for any mix of Competitors

Shines divisions

Dancers in duet or team shines categories are restricted to a maximum of 3 instances in which two or more dancers establish a physical connection with one another – the total maximum duration for all instances is not to exceed 10% of the total choreography.

Partnered divisions

  • Shines are permitted and encouraged, but must not exceed 30% of the total routine.
  • Salsa & Bachata Cabaret divisions (couples):
    Couples in Cabaret divisions are permitted to include both lifts and tricks, as well as shines for up to 50% of the total routine, whilst maintaining a minimum of 50% of recognizable moves of the style being danced.
  • Salsa On1, On2, Just Bachata & Same Gender divisions (couples):
    One foot must remain on the floor at all times, even during tricks. If both feet of either partner leave the floor due to the assistance of the other partner, it will be considered a lift* and there will be a deduction from the final score – 1 point for Amateur divisions and 2 points for all other divisions. A maximum of 5 tricks are permitted for the routine, defined as any assisted move, including dips, drops and any other leveraged move that requires the support of a partner. A maximum of 6 bars/24 Beats/3 counts of 8 are allowed for continuous turns. More than this will result in a 2 point deduction of the final score, irrespective of Competitor Classification.
  • All Team divisions:
    Team routines may include up to 5 lifts* or tricks. Routines must include 70% recognizable dancing of the chosen style.
  • Other Couples divisions (including Zouk, Cha Cha, Masters, Youth etc.):
    You may utilize up to 5 lifts* or tricks, if you choose. Routines must be 70% recognizable dancing of the chosen style.
  • Youth/Adult divisions:
    Couples are permitted only 3 lifts* or tricks., while duets must adhere to the same rules for duet divisions as stated above.
  • The term “lift” refers to any movement where both feet leave the floor with the assistance of one’s partner.
  • N.B. For back-to-back tricks 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 than6 bars/24 Beats/3 counts of 8.

To see Divisions & Categories page, click here.




This division must include only dancers who class themselves as Amateur under the Competitor Classification defined in the Rules of the Australian Dance Cup.


This division must include only dancers who class themselves as Semi-Pro under the Competitor Classification defined in the Rules of the Australian Dance Cup.


A couple in this division must feature one Amateur dancer, partnered with a dancer who class themselves as either a Semi-Pro or Professional under the Competitor Classification defined in the Rules of the Australian Dance Cup. In this division, only the Amateur is judged.


This division may include only dancers who class themselves as a Professional under the Competitor Classification defined in the Rules of the Australian Dance Cup.


Competitors aged 17 or less at the time of the competition, with the exception of Youth/Adult divisions, which is a duet or couple entry of a partnership in which only one of the competitors is aged 17 or less, while the other is 18 or over.


Adult competitors of 40 years of age or over.


This division may feature any mix of Competitors, regardless of Classification or Status.

Freestyle category and divisions:

  • The freestyle divisions are completely separate from the choreography category, and as such will have no reflection whatsoever on scores in choreography divisions.

Partnered Latin divisions

  • The freestyle divisions are designed to show one’s ability to connect and improvise with one’s partner and display lead and follow, connection, timing, technique and musicality to the music that is played.
  • Tricks and lifts are not permitted, whilst dips are allowed.
  • The approximate length of each song will be 1.00-1.30 mins and will be selected at random from a list of songs with the appropriate BPM for the division.
  • Multiple couples will dance on the floor at the same time.
  • Costumes are encouraged for these divisions.

Samba Freestyle division

  • The freestyle competition is designed to show one’s ability to connect and improvise musically to the rhythms that are being played, as well as to demonstrate timing, stage presence and technique.
  • The approximate length of each song will be between 1.30-2.00 mins, but as you will be competing to rhythms being played live by musicians, competitors must be prepared for an instance in which the musicians play for a slightly longer duration.
  • The drummers will be starting with a Sapatinho rhythm, and build up speed from there
  • Competitors are required to attend a preparation session at 4pm Saturday, backstage at the Marquee, where you will receive further direction on the layout of the competition
  • Costumes are encouraged for this division, and a score for presentation will contribute to the final result.

Dance Style and Music


  • Dance style must remain consistent within each routine, and must have a minimum of 90% recognized moves from that style.
  • For Salsa divisions, competitors must maintain their chosen rhythm (On1 or On2) for the entirety of the song, and can choose to either break forward or break back on the dominant count, so long as it is kept consistent for the whole routine.
  • In the Mixed Latin division, you may dance any other latin style, provided that there is not already a division for it, eg. partnered: Tango, Kizomba…; shines: Afro-Cuban, Capoeira, Flamenco, etc. Routines in this division must feature at least 70% of the predominant latin style, while the remaining 30% can be a mix of another latin style, if desired.
  • If a Mixed Latin division receives 5 or more entries from the same style, the Competition Director may choose to form a new separate division for this style, at his discretion, so long as the existing category still has a remainder of 5 or more entries.
  • A maximum of 3 songs may be selected and used in the music cut of any competition entry, with both songs to be recognizable as the chosen style of entry, and maintain the distinctive rhythm of that style
  • All competition songs must adhere to a strict music length restriction, as follows:
    • Youth: 1.00 min – 2.00 min
    • Solos: 1.00 min – 2.00 min
    • Duets/Couples: 1.30 min – 2.15 min
    • Teams: 1.30 min – 2.30 min
  • Please do not include any intro/outro music in your competition cut.
  • For every 5 seconds over the time limit for the division, there will be an additional 5% penalty deduction off the final mark.
  • All music must be submitted via e-mail before the closing date of registrations for approval, as follows:
    • All files must be in mp3 format
    • All files must be the final cut of your song, including any fade outs or speed adjustment – the DJ will not be able to adjust your music on the day
    • All files are to be renamed and labeled as follows:
        Salsa – ProAm – Couple – Latin Dance Studio – John Smith and Jane Smith
        ie. Samba – Amateur – Solo – Brazilian Dance Studio – Anna Espinosa
        ie Bachata – Open – Shines Teams – Dance Co – Judy’s Bachata Ladies
    • Please note that once you have submitted your music, the competition will not accept any re-submissions
    • You are also required to bring 2 back up copies of your music on the day of the competition – one on USB and one as a Music CD, with only one track on it.

Additional Rules

  • All competitors, both Australian and International, are welcome to compete provided they comply by the rules and restrictions for the division they are entering.
  • Props are not permitted to be used in any competition routine. This includes any item other than your immediate costuming. If an item of a costume (i.e. hat, jacket etc.) is discarded or becomes detached from the body in any way, it will be considered as a prop, and point deductions will be applicable.
  • Competitors will be judged on their appearance and visual presentation as part of the judging criteria, and may be marked down for costume malfunctions.
  • For all traditional Latin divisions, Ladies must wear a heeled shoe of minimum 2 inches and Men must wear closed ballroom shoes. (this rule does not apply to youth categories, masters categories or styles that traditionally don’t require heels, such as Zouk, Reggaeton or Afro).
  • Each Competitor is required to purchase the relevant Competitors Pass for the event and pay their individual registration fees before the closing date. Any purchases or payments made for tickets or passes to the Australian Dance Cup are completely non-refundable 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 or Workshop Pass, based on documented proof of injury or a legitimate reason for unavailability. In some cases, you may be permitted to transfer your pass to someone else, but this will incur an administration fee.
  • Judges will be appointed at the sole discretion of the Competition Director.
  • In the event of any dispute, a final decision will be made by the Competition Director and/or the Head Judge of the Panel.
  • By registering to compete, all competitors agree that the decisions of the Judges and Competition Director are final, and understand that they are bound to compete under a Code of Conduct that includes a zero tolerance policy towards any harassment, abusive conduct or unsportsmanlike behavior, including the use of social media at any time, to slander or defame another individual, Competitor/s Judge or Dance School/Studio. Any instances of the aforementioned may result in a lifetime ban from the competition. In addition to either disqualification or lifetime ban for the responsible individual, their partner, and/or their School/Studio, any slander or defamation of any participating Judges, Competitors or of the competition will also potentially result in the Australian Dance Cup pursuing appropriate legal action against the participating party or parties.
  • Competitors agree that if they win a division or category of the competition, they will take part in various promotional or marketing exercises as requested by Competition Organisers, after the completion of the 2017 Competition and before the 2018 competition, including but not limited to photographic, video or written commentary regarding the competition experience and any subsequent ventures as a result of 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.

Scoring Criteria


Soloists Couples Duets/Teams Freestyle divisions
Timing & Musicality 30% Timing & Musicality 30% Timing, Musicality & Synchronicity 40% Timing & Musicality 35%
Choreography, Floorcraft & Presentation 40% Choreography, Floorcraft & Presentation 30% Choreography, Floorcraft & Presentation 30% Flavour & Connection 35%
Difficulty & Technique 30% Difficulty, Technique & Connection 40% Difficulty, Technique & Connection 30% Technique & Difficulty 30%



  • For all latin divisions:
    • Dancers should be consistent with the timing of the chosen dance style.
    • If dancers temporarily break their timing to accent musicality or maintain the flow of a movement they will not be penalized, as long as this action is purposeful and there is an intentional effort to return to the original timing.
  • For all Salsa divisions:
    • Routines should show recognizable Salsa timing.
    • The timing of the breaking step must be consistently maintained throughout the routine (either 1 and 5, or 2 and 6). More specifically, if a dancer breaks On1 for most of their routine with some intended deviations breaking on5 they will not be penalized, as long as they return to their On1 break step after the accent.. Similarly, if a dancer breaks On2 for most of their routine with some intended deviations breaking on6 they will not be penalized, as long as they return to their On2 break step after the accent.
    • For partnered divisions, couples can choose to dance either On1 or On2 (mambo or puerto-rican style), but must maintain consistency in their chosen breaking step for the duration of the entire routine. If a couple temporarily breaks the flow of their timing to accent the musicality of their song they will not be penalized, as long as they immediately return to their chosen break step (on1 or on2 or on6).


  • Dancers will demonstrate their ability to choreograph and dance to the chosen rhythm of their individual music, whilst working within the timing constraints of their chosen dance style.


  • This is marked on the Dancers’ interpretation of the music. Good choreography should contain the use of turn patterns, shines and lifts/tricks (where permitted), with additional consideration for originality. All choreography should be musical, and Dancers should show a good usage of the space itself.


  • Reflected in making use of as much of the dance floor space as possible while dancing.


  • You will be judged for your overall presentation. This includes but is not limited to the quality and suitability of the costuming, appropriate hair and make up, any costume malfunctions, projected energy on stage, showmanship and performance quality.


  • Reflected by the complexity of the overall routine, including patterns, turns, intricacy of shines, any moves that require exceptional skill such as flexibility or strength, and the level of tricks, dips, drops and flares that are attempted. Also taken into consideration is how successfully the moves were executed – if a move is difficult but not properly executed, it is less likely to gain marks.


  • Technique is reflected through balance, placement and line. This refers also to general technique for partner dance, where the movement is “grounded”, and there is clarity of proper placement of feet to derive weight changes from foot to foot. Technique and/or body styling that is specific to the chosen dance style. Movement should be both clear and authentic.


  • Dancers interacting with each other, as well as connecting and interacting with the audience to work together to portray a consistent mood to the routine.May also be demonstrated in couple and partnered divisions as the complementing of each others’ style, strength and performance quality.


· Refers to the unison of a team during side by side movement, partnerwork, line placement, footwork and styling.


· This is the undeniable expression of the authentic salsa feel, and complete immersion in the dance. This includes authentic body movement, connection and intrinsic appreciation of the rhythms of the music.