Declaring The Winners

Judging Systems

As DanceSport is constantly evolving, the judging systems employed to determine the winners of any competition are among the most important focus areas for WDSF. DanceSport's world governing body is committed to continually upgrade and improve the methods and systems used for judging, to make them more transparent, and to eliminate any possible bias and subjectivity from the process. The adjudicating of a WDSF granted competition involves different assessment approaches.

By Comparison

2012 World Standard Melbourne Through the elimination rounds, the total number of couples entered in a competition is continually reduced until the final round. In these elimination rounds the Adjudicators select a determined number of couples who are to advance from the first round to the second, then to the third, etc. The basis for their selection is comparison, with well defined judging criteria applied in order to compare one couple to another with utmost consistency.

The Adjudicators mark their selection for each dance on their card, specifying the competition numbers of the couples they select to advance. At the end of each elimination round, the marks of all judges in all dances are tallied up. The specified number of couples passing to the next round are those with the highest total numbers of selection marks.

In the final round, the Adjudicators rank each couple individually in the order of merit and mark their ranking on their card. In a six-couple final, the judges would be ranking from 1 to 6, with 1 being the best mark. A judge may not give two couples the same ranking. The aggregate of the individual rankings per dance determines the winner: the couple with the lowest aggregate total or, in the case of a numeric tie, the couple winning the most number of dances.

This general outline describes, in a simplified manner, the process that is used to adjudicate the majority of DanceSport competitions at this time. It is inherently fair and transparent, and it is backed up by decades of positive experiences as well as the

  • WDSF Code of Conduct and Standard of Ethics for adjudicators;
  • Training and licencing programmes for adjudicators through the IDSF DanceSport Academy;
  • WDSF systems for random selection of adjudicators;
  • WDSF systems for review of adjudicators’ performances.

On Absolute Scale

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Since December 2009 another judging system is in use for select competitions. As do many of the other bodies governing an artistic sport, WDSF resorts to an absolute scale of points to grade the merits of the competitive performances by the world's best athletes.

Adopting a system similar to the one developed by the International Ice Skating Union, WDSF came up with a formula that substitutes the comparison-based approach with a more comprehensive assessment and the scoring of different components in every performance.

The adjudicators no longer compare one couple with all the others on the floor, they focus on one couple only and award points on a scale from 1 to 10 for the quality of dancing in each of the Programme Components below.

  • Technical Quality
  • Movement to Music
  • Partnering Skills
  • Choreography and Presentation 

Even if the wording is different, the Programme Components are nothing other than the judging criteria used in the comparison adjudicating.