Postponement of NCDC 2020

NCDC has been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Please see our home page for the full announcement.

Why You Should Come

If you’re on the fence and want to know why we believe this event is worth your time and money, check out our why us page. If you’re good to go, check out the event rules and details below and check back soon to register!

A Quick Summary

Here’s a quick summary of the key rules that most people will be interested in. For more details, check out the other sections below!

  • A college dancer is anyone who attended a degree-granting program in the last 6 months. Only college dancers are eligible for titles or to participate in the team matches.
  • You can dance up to two consecutive levels in any given style.
  • There is no restriction on the number of entries a couple can enter, though individuals cannot enter the same event twice.
  • Costumes are not allowed below silver. This will be enforced. Costumes are defined as any outfit that includes stones, feathers, or floats and are built with the purpose of competitive dancing.
  • A newcomer dancer is anyone who has not danced prior to the last year in any style. This will be enforced by the honor system. Please remember that true newcomers are the newest members of our community. We all want their experiences to be powerful and positive so that they continuing dancing. The organizers reserve the right to change or invalidate the registration of anyone who is demonstratively not a newcomer yet is dancing in newcomer.
  • We will follow USA Dance syllabus rules. This will be largely by honor system, but organizers reserve the right to invigilate blatant abuses (shadow in smooth bronze waltz, etc.). The syllabus can be found  here.
  • Same-sex partnerships are allowed. Same-sex couples will compete against other opposite-sex couples dancing at their level and style.
  • Alumni may enter in the open adult pre-championship / champion events only. 100% of alumni entry fees will go towards scholarship for the syllabus level finalists. Alumni are not eligible to win any national collegiate titles, and the open level collegiate placements will be determined in separate heats.
    • If you’re on the fence in participating, consider that your entry fees supporting a good cause and this event had full-semis in novice/pre-champ last year and full finals in champ. It’s a great prep event for USA Dance Amateur Nationals, happening 2 weeks before with a similar quality panel.
  • College dancers can dance in both the open adult heats and the open collegiate heats. College dancers dancing with an alumni partner may only dance in the open adult heats. The college open heats will be held during their respective style blocks. The adult open heats will be in the Saturday evening session with the team matches. Given that last year’s combined heats were very full open heats, this gives open dancers significantly more time on the dance floor than they can normally get at one event.  For purposes of multiple-level competitors, collegiate gold is considered the level below adult pre-championship, so you can compete in collegiate gold/novice and adult pre-championship.
  • The team matches are run differently than many competitions in the country.  You should check out the details below.
  • TBA registrations are permitted at the event.
  • Formation team events will be held at the event.

Competitor Registration Fees

We’ve kept the discounted pricing from last year’s National Collegiate DanceSport Championships events – Only $65 per person for members of USA Dance. However, unlike previous years in Columbus, we have added numerous ways to compete at a discounted rate. We have also added options for those who are not members of USA Dance, as well as Alumni.

  • The registration fee for those who are USA Dance members is $65
  • The registration fee for those who are not USA Dance members is $75.
  • Alumni may enter for $65 per person if they are a USA Dance member. Alumni may enter for $75 if they are not a USA Dance member. 100% of your registration will go towards scholarship for syllabus levels. Thank you for supporting the future of dance!
  • Those travelling over 500 miles may be eligible for possible need-based travel assistance.
  • For schools that need financial assistance: please contact us! We’re here to get you dancing, and if we can find a way to make that work, we’d love to do so.

Other Registration Fees:

Formation Team Members: $30 per person (for team members who are NOT participating in any other event.  All others MUST pay the regular competitor price). Includes admission to all events.

College Coach / Club Sponsor: Spectator admission for two coaches/sponsors is FREE for each team.  Additional coaches/sponsors should pay regular spectator rates.

Spectator Day Pass: Only $10/session or $25/weekend pass.

The Nitty-Gritty


  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Foxtrot
  • Cha Cha
  • Rumba
  • Swing
  • Waltz / Foxtrot
  • Tango
  • Viennese Waltz
  • Cha Cha / Rumba
  • Swing
  • Mambo
  • Waltz / Foxtrot
  • Tango / Viennese Waltz
  • Cha Cha / Rumba
  • Swing / Mambo
  • Waltz / Tango / Foxtrot / Viennese Waltz
  • Cha Cha / Rumba / Swing / Mambo
(Collegiate Only)
  • Waltz / Tango / Foxtrot
  • Cha Cha / Rumba / Swing
(Collegiate or Adult)
  • Waltz / Tango / Foxtrot / Viennese Waltz
  • Cha Cha / Rumba / Swing / Bolero
Championship (Collegiate or Adult)
  • Waltz / Tango / Foxtrot / Viennese Waltz
  • Cha Cha / Rumba / Swing / Bolero / Mambo
  • Waltz
  • Tango
  • Quickstep
  • Cha Cha
  • Rumba
  • Jive
  • Waltz/Quickstep
  • Foxtrot
  • Tango
  • Cha Cha / Rumba
  • Samba
  • Jive
  • Waltz / Quickstep
  • Foxtrot / Tango
  • Samba / Jive
  • Cha Cha / Rumba
  • Waltz / Quickstep / Foxtrot / Tango
  • Samba /Cha Cha /Rumba / Jive
(Collegiate Only)
  • Waltz / Foxtrot / Quickstep
  • Samba / Cha Cha / Rumba
(Collegiate or Adult)
  • Waltz / Tango / Foxtrot / Quickstep
  • Samba / Cha Cha / Rumba / Jive
Championship (Collegiate or Adult)
  • Waltz / Tango / Viennese / Foxtrot / Quickstep
  • Samba / Cha Cha / Rumba / Paso Doble / Jive

The Syllabus

Syllabus definitions can be found here. The syllabus will be enforced predominantly by honor code. However, the organizers have no tolerance for blatant abuses that infringe on the fairness and fun for other dancers – particularly in the lower syllabus levels. The organizers reserve the right to invigilate any couples not following the syllabus.

As a friendly reminder, the organizers cannot recall a single competition they personally have attended where more complicated movements – often done badly – ever beat out bronze/silver syllabus moves with proper technique.


No costumes are allowed in newcomer and bronze. Costumes are discouraged in silver, and are encouraged in open. Costumes are defined as any outfit that includes stones, feathers, or floats and are built with the purpose of competitive dancing. Off the rack clothing is not considered a costume even if minor light effects are present. Costumes must conform to the “good taste” rule. The organizers may request a change of costume for any competitor found breaking these rules. Please remember that costumes can be extremely discouraging to new dancers. This rule is in place because we wish to be welcoming to those who are still learning how great the ballroom community can be.

Team Matches

There will be two team matches, an International Team Match and an American Team Match. There are several wrinkles which are major departures from historical norms, which we hope will achieve our goal of maximizing inclusion, providing parity, and testing each college’s ability to train the future generations of dancers. Please read the rules in full.

  • There will be four dances in each team match. The American Team Match will be Foxtrot, Tango, Rumba, and Mambo. The International Team Match will be Waltz, Quickstep, Samba, and Jive.
  • Only those who meet the definition of a college dancer are allowed to participate in the team match. We are grateful for what alumni do for their teams, but this is a matter of parity for teams that may not have alumni present at the event.
  • There are no limitations on the number of entries from a given college. Yes, you read that correctly. We want participants to dance, to be proud to represent their team, and to have the opportunity at the end of the year to dance in the night show.
  • Competitors may enter in both team matches. See above. You’re here to dance!
  • Two dances in each Team Match are RESTRICTED to newcomer and bronze dancers only. In the American Style, this will be the Foxtrot and Rumba. In the International Team Match, this will be the Waltz and the Samba. The best teams in a style must be able to demonstrate not only their ceiling, but their ability to train future generations of dancers.
  • For purposes of determining syllabus and costumes, the team matches are considered open.  Therefore, costumes are allowed by all and newcomers and bronze dancers are welcome to go crazy and cut loose. Lifts are not allowed at any level.
  • Team match scholarship will be rewarded broadly, rather than to the top team. Make the top 12? You’re in the money. We want as many teams as possible to win scholarships, you all deserve it!

Alumni, Open Level Heats, and Open College National Titles

Though this is a college competition, many schools have requested we find a way to allow for the incorporation of alumni dancers. As a result, we have created adult open categories available to both alumni and college dancers. These open adult categories will be held during the Saturday night show. This is in addition to the collegiate-only open levels during the day sessions. We believe this will provide a win-win: more competition and more rounds for college dancers, as well as more inclusion for the full population of college teams.

Like large collegiate events on the East Coast we will be providing pre-championship and championship adult levels. For purposes of multiple-level competitors, collegiate gold is considered the level below adult pre-championship, so you can compete in collegiate gold/novice and adult pre-championship.

Team Rankings

Throughout the event, we will be compiling aggregate team scores using the point system outlined below. These results will be published throughout the event, similar to a gymnastics meet. Points will be rewarded as follows:

  • Callback – 1 Point
  • 6th place – 1 Point
  • 5th place -2 Point
  • 4th place – 3 Points
  • 3rd place – 4 Points
  • 2nd place -5 Points
  • 1st place – 6 Points
  • All points are quadrupled for the team match and formation teams

These points will be used to determine the national ranking of each team in attendance.

Formation Teams:

Formation Team events at the National Collegiate DanceSport Championships will be run identically to a traditional Formation Team competition at a USA Dance event.  Here are the noteworthy rules:

  • Rosters:
    • Team members must all be collegiate dancers. Alumni are not allowed to be team members.
    • Teams shall be comprised of six or eight couples. Same-sex couples are permitted.
    • Team members can only compete in one formation team per event (smooth/standard and rhythm/latin)
    • Coaches may replace team members with reserves at any round in the contest, but may not make substitutions while the team is on the floor competing.
  • Performance Aspect:
    • Formation teams are limited to no more than five dances from each combined set of styles.
    • Formation teams are allowed to use music for their entrance and exit if desired. When music is used for the entrance and/or exit there must be either a gong sound or a complete break in the music for a space of at least two seconds that separates the entrance/exit from the routine music proper. The formation team must remain motionless during this break both before and after the routine proper.
    • The amount of time available for each aspect of a formation performance is as follows: Cumulative Dancing Time: 3 minutes maximum. Music for routine: 4.5 minutes maximum. Entrance and exit combined: 1.5 minutes maximum. Total between all categories: 6 Minutes maximum.
    • Formation teams shall be allowed twenty-four bars of solo work during their routine proper. Solo work shall not exceed eight bars for any one dance. Solo (Open) work is defined as when any couple in the formation team has less than two points of contact between the two partners. Even though a couple may not be in a traditional closed hold, they will be considered to be in “closed” position if there are at least two points of contact between the two partners. Regardless of how many “open bars” of music are danced, every team shall have at least 50% of their bars in the routine proper danced in the traditional competitive ballroom hold (which includes the follow’s left hand being placed on the lead’s right shoulder).
  • Logistics:
    • Formation teams are required to provide their music to the competition organizers seven days in advance of the event. Formation teams are required to provide their rosters to the competition at the close of registration.


You can check out our partner search by using this sheet.  For all competitors who are unable to find a partner using the partner search, please register with your partner’s name as “TBA, TBA”. By doing this, you will allow us to schedule the events appropriately. If you find a partner before registration closes, please feel free to change your registration appropriately. Once registration closes, we will do the hard work of determining the optimal matches of TBAs and inform you of your partners within a week of registration closing. Please do not attempt to find your own partners after registration closes, as this will make it difficult to match everyone. There will be a ‘partner search’ area at NCDC. Once at the competition, anyone looking for a partner will have the opportunity to connect with other TBA dancers from other universities. Be sure to register your new partnership and entry at the registration desk at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the event.

Further Questions:

If there’s something we missed, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have!

%d bloggers like this: