Judging Dancesport

The Skating System

The skating system is used to work out placings in Ballroom and Latin competitions, Sequence competitions, Wheelchair dancesport and Freestyle competitions.  The marks are processed by a scrutineer (who must have passed a BDC scrutineering exam) and verified by the chairman of adjudicators.

The Skating System was adopted by the Official Board of Ballroom Dancing on January 1, 1947, from – as the name suggests – the world of figure skating. It consists of 11 rules, which determine the winner and subsequent placings in the final of a dance competition. The winner of an individual dance is the couple placed first by an absolute majority of judges, and the runners up are the couple placed second or higher by an absolute majority. If two couples were to have a similar majority of second and higher places, then the couple with the lower total of marks given by those judges who form the majority would be allocated second place. When all the dances in the competition are completed, the order ascertained for each dance is carried over to another sheet showing the position achieved by each couple in each dance. Rule 9 states that the first in each dance is given one mark, the second is given two and so on, and the place marks are added so that the couple with the lowest total is the winner.

Rules 10 and  11 concern what happens if there is a tie. If rule 9 has been applied and there is a tie for first place, then rule 10 awards the first place to the couple who was placed 1st in the greatest number of dances in the event.  If there is still a tie then rule 11 is applied and the couple with the greatest number of firsts across all the judges’ marks for all of the dances would be the winner.  If that figure results in a tie then all place marks from all judges for all dances are totalled and the couple with the lowest mark would win.

For a detailed description with examples see our information guide

Formation Dancing

Formation dancing is slightly different in that teams have their own specific music, so they dance in order after each other. Judges recall teams and place them in a final as normal. 

Rock n Roll competitions

Rock ‘n’ Roll competitions are different yet again: the World Rock ‘n’ Roll Council (WRRC) have two couples on the floor at one time and a panel of five judges (all of whom must have attended a WRRC course and been approved), mark using a touch screen system. During the finals couples dance one at a time. There is a detailed protocol for how to mark acrobatic moves and footwork. The range of acrobatics allowed depends on the class, which is particularly limited for the younger classes where six couples are allowed on the floor at once.