Details – 2023

The Summary

Dates and Location

  • March 18th and 19th, 2023, St. Louis, MO
  • The event is at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch
  • USA Dance National Ballroom DanceSport Championships starts on the 17th, even though the vast majority of college events are on the 18th and 19th. Only the Collegiate Championship Standard and Rhythm are on the 17th. Feel free to come in early to prepare and spectate the awesome night show!
  • A preliminary schedule can be found at The timed schedule will be available soon at

College Prices

You Get

  • All the perks mentioned below and on the home page
  • College students receive 20 dances with their base registration. No qualifications necessary – compete both collegiate and/or adult right out the gate. After the first 20 dances, you can dance additional dances of collegiate or adult (for 4 total levels!) for an additional fee per dance. You are automatically qualified to dance the adult category in dances and levels you also dance collegiate.
    • Dancing with an Alumni? Also no problem! They will pay the alumni rates and you will pay the college rates. A college-alumni pair is eligible for the adult categories if they are qualified, and the college student may opt to dance college events with a different partner.
  • Not sure how you want to split your dances? No problem! We might suggest dancing half of them in college heats and half in adult heats. Amateur Adult should be thought of as slightly more difficult than Collegiate. Think the difference between Beginning Bronze and Advanced Bronze.
  • All registrations come with entry to all sessions – including all evening sessions! Make sure to leave time to spectate! 

Want More?

  • If having 20 dances isn’t enough, you are eligible to enter up to 2 full levels of amateur and 2 full levels of collegiate. Additional events beyond those granted by the college pass will be $10/dance/person.  You won’t leave without your fill of dancing!
  • Don’t forget to form teams for the team matches! Entry into the team match is free.
  • Leave some space in your brain for learning during our workshops held throughout the weekend!

Important Notes

When you register in O2CM, it will (at first) charge you like a normal adult. Never fear! Give the registrar 48 hours to clear it up and adjust you to the college rate. Then, pay as normal. Also, you’ll want to submit your student ID in advance (because it saves you time the day of the event), so prepare to take a snapshot on your phone and email it to the registrar soon after you or your team registers!

About the Rules

Check out the rules in full below.

Like Fun? Like Saving Money?

Check out our preparing to attend page for tips on how to optimize your trip and make it unforgettable


The FAQ at the bottom is your friend! You can also check out our sister website, the USA Dance National Ballroom DanceSport Championships. Otherwise, we’re always happy to help at

The Nitty Gritty (Rules & Regulations, etc.)

Big picture: We’re standardizing everything between adult and collegiate so you don’t have to worry about two rule sets. This should require almost no adjustment for most of you.

College Student Definition

A college student is defined as someone actively seeking a degree or graduated within the last 6 months. As in the past, this is verified by student ID.

 Registration Costs + Membership

We worked hard this year to ensure the event runs in a timely fashion given how many events there are to hold in three days. We’d also like to hold to the typical NCDC prices – historically $65 for non-members with a discount for members.   

Membership will be part of the collegiate entry package and is available at the normal price for NCDC. To take advantage, just sign up as a Student Athlete member of USA Dance at the membership page ($25). We set the entry price to work out to be the same for those that already had membership to keep things fair ($40).

To be clear, you must be a current member of USA Dance in order to register for the competition. The collegiate package provides you with 20 dances to use as you see fit. College students do not need to ‘qualify’ to participate in the adult categories, you just need to dance the same level and dances in collegiate to unlock the same level and dances in adult. So you can and should dance both adult and collegiate. As we noted above, we also have provided the option to add additional dancing to those who want even more dancing than normal. You can dance an additional level of collegiate and/or an additional level of adult. We’re thrilled to offer this opportunity at the pricing available to all other participants – roughly $10/dance/person.


Registration is open at Registration closes completely on March 2nd. After the 2nd, entries are extremely limited – we can only accept entries past the 2nd if they don’t add a heat.

Event Types

  • The Collegiate package comes with entries for Am/Am only. If you’d like to enter in pro/am or other categories (ex: Under-21), you’ll have to refer to the nationals website for more details.
  • No need for college students to ‘qualify’ to participate for either the adult categories or the college categories. College students just need to dance the same level and dances in collegiate to unlock the same level and dances in adult.
    • Got two partners of different proficiency levels? No problem! Amateur Adult should be thought of as more difficult than Collegiate. Think the difference between Beginning Bronze and Advanced Bronze.  Instead of doing bronze-silver, you get to do college-bronze and adult-bronze (or college-silver/adult-silver, if you’re feeling adventurous!)
  • The levels available on the collegiate package are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Novice, Pre-Champ, and Champ
    • Newcomer is not available at Nationals – those who would normally enter newcomer should enter at the Bronze-Collegiate categories (see above).
    • You may enter up to 2 consecutive levels per style.


Check out the entries list at the below page! At each level there are multi-dances, with the remaining dances as single dances.


To make your lives easy, we’re adopting the less-restrictive Adult rules. You can get the fully skinny in the rulebook, but the big ones are:

First, Rhinestones are allowed. Get fabulous!

Second, there are ‘decency rules’ you’d hopefully follow anyways:

For people-wearing-dresses-or-skirts: full coverage of ‘private areas’ is required. Bare minimum: it’s opaque, not skin colored, and covers as much as full-briefs and a normal bra. Can’t be just a literal bra or a literal two piece. If it is smooth/standard and it covers your knees, you’re probably fine, but your leg slits have to be just leg slits, not leg-and-hip-slits. If you’re unsure, go check the full breakdown to figure out if it’s going to work.

For people-wearing-pants: full coverage of ‘private areas’ rules apply to you too. This includes the ‘breast area’. For those rocking the ‘shirt with an open V’ look, fabric tape will be your friend. Standard requires a white shirt (which also looks dashing in Latin/Rhythm). Ties are required in smooth/standard.

Concerns or questions? Got a costume you want reviewed? Just e-mail the rules officials in advance at . You can even send them pictures and have them give you a thumbs up or thumbs down. They’ll be the ones enforcing the rules at the event, so there is no higher authority on what will pass muster.


Syllabus is enforced in all styles. Hooray for fair play! If you need a refresher, you can check out what is allowed or not in the rulebook.

Re: American Syllabus. While the DVIDA syllabus remains fairly permissive, do keep within it. Standardization is important as WDSF prepares to hold World Championships in Smooth and for potential inclusion at other major events (ex: The World Games).


The tentative schedule is available at the USA Dance National Ballroom DanceSport Championships page.

The Team Match

The team match goes back to its usual riotous format.  There will be two team matches, an International Team Match and an American Team Match. The American Team Match will be held on Saturday Night, the International Team Match well be held on Sunday. There are several wrinkles which are unique to NCDC. These are here to 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.

  •  The American Team Match will be Foxtrot, Tango, Rumba, and Mambo. The International Team Match will be Waltz, Quickstep, Samba, and Jive.
  • There are no limitations on the number of entries from a given college. Yes, you read that correctly. We want people 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 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, the team matches are considered open. Bronze dancers are welcome to go crazy and cut loose. Lifts are not allowed at any level.
  • Regarding scheduling: We plan to have you out at a reasonable hour on Saturday Night. If there are scheduling delays during the night show, you can expect we will attempt to move your heats up in the schedule if we can. We know you need sleep before your heats in the morning. However, we believe asking you to dance is a small price to pay for free dancing in a fun event, the opportunity to win scholarship for you team, and to watch national-level and world-level talent.

Team Rankings

You bet we’re doing team rankings again! The rules are the same as years past – we provide two rankings: by total points, like traditional competitions, and ‘points per dancer’.  This was our compromise between the big vs small question. To be considered a team, you must bring at least 8 people to the event.  As is tradition, we’ll include the results in our historical results on this website, so your team can prove its well-earned national ranking! P.S. – ask your school for more money for your team because you’re nationally ranked. It works!

Seminars/Private Lessons

Why not learn and play at the same time? Workshops will be available for FREE to college students throughout the day, just like NCDCs past. We’re still sorting out some of the details, but the plan is they’ll be available at times you’re not normally dancing.

Check back for more details soon!

For Everything Else

The FAQ below is your friend. In the unlikely event we missed something, you can reach out at The official USA Dance National Ballroom DanceSport Championships website might also have what you are looking for, as it is designed for all competitors rather than the details specific to college students.


Why did you decide to combine with the USA Dance National Championships?

As you can see from our Welcome Letter, there are a lot of attractive benefits combining the events offers students and non-students alike.  We’re really excited to have this opportunity, and we’re looking forward to over-delivering for you once again.

Do I have to be a member of USA Dance to participate?

If you aren’t a member of USA Dance yet, never fear! We structured our event prices this year so that your total price ‘all-in’ remains the same as years past.  However, this year we will be requiring valid membership in order to compete. For those of you who are already members, you get an extra $25 discount compared to previous years. Congratulations!

Do I have to ‘qualify’ to participate in any categories?

No. You can and should take advantage of being offered adult and collegiate categories and dance in both.

Our team would love to attend but our team has some financial difficulties.  Do you have any advice or help available?

As the Minnesotans say – “Oh ya, you betcha”!  First, check out the details on our “Preparing to Attend” page to see if they help you.  If you’re a team and you’re still having trouble or have a unique situation, reach out to us at We’re happy to help you think through your planning, but more importantly we are happy to reach out to our network of donors to see if any are interested in supporting your team. We’ve successfully helped teams through the process of preparing pitches for donors and gotten them funding each of the last few years! Please plan to submit your financial assistance requests by February 10th. We will take assistance requests as long as we can, but after that date it will be harder and harder to process financial assistance requests in time for you to register before registration closes.

Will there be a social dance on Friday night?

YES! There will be a social dance AND a night show Friday. Competitors get access to the social dance for free AND the night show for free. So come in early on Friday and come be part of the fun!

I’m concerned about <insert rule here>. How can I be sure I follow the rules?

USA Dance has a team of DRO (DanceSport Rule Officials) that respond to e-mails year-round. They can answer any question you have about the rules and help you figure out what to do with a gentle bedside manner. They can be found at

Alternatively, we LOVE talking to everyone, so you can also e-mail us at and we’ll help you out!

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!

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