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DanceSport denotes competitive ballroom dancing, as opposed to social or exhibition dancing. The term DanceSport applies only to the International Style of competitive ballroom, which includes Standard and Latin. These categories apply to both individual couples and formation dance.
DanceSport events are sanctioned and regulated by DanceSport organizations at the national and international level. There are a wide variety of ballroom dance competitions. They range from the well known Blackpool Dance Festival in the UK, an event open to all, to competitions conducted exclusively for university students, to State competitions across the U.S.
Amateur competitions commonly include events that group dancers by age, experience, or both. For example, events might group young dancers by age, such as: Juvenile, Junior, and Youth. Events may sometimes cover a wide range of ages, with groupings such as: Under 21 years, Adult, Senior I, II, and III. Adult competitions are often further divided into categories such as Beginner, Novice, Intermediate, Pre-Amateur, and Amateur.
The World Dance Council (WDC) enforces many rules for international competitions. The music for competitions is kept confidential until the event. The music always follows a strict tempo and, for a couples competition, it will have a duration of no less than 90 seconds, and no more than two minutes. Some elementary competitions are restricted to “basic” steps, but international competitions are open as to choreography, within the limits of the traditional style of the individual dances. The tempo for each dance is defined. In the finals, couples are marked under the skating system and judged by timing, footwork, rise and fall, alignment, direction and floorcraft.