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  • Dance with the partner of your choice.  You are welcome to come with a partner, find someone at the event.

  • LIFTS: Are allowed in Strictly as long as your partner is comfortable with it.

    • Hitting others, dropping your partner, and not being mindful of others space is grounds for disqualification.

  • Stationary Freestyle: All stationary styles allowed - Country Swing, Bar Coast, West Coast Swing, etc...


  • All Level - Best of the best, there can only be one winner of the 2024 NDF Vol. 2 custom buckles! 

Jack & Jill


  • Partners will be drawn at random.

  • LIFTS: No lifts above the shoulders are allowed.

    • Hitting others, dropping your partner, and not being mindful of others space is grounds for disqualification.

  • Stationary Freestyle: All stationary styles allowed - Country Swing, Bar Coast, West Coast Swing, etc...


  • Beginner/Novice (there will be no buckles for this category)

  • Intermediate/Advanced 

*** NDF Vol. 2 instructors will not be allowed to compete.***


🤠Competition Process Video🤠

STEP 1: Register for the competitions

  • After buying an Event ticket, look for the link (separately) on the page that clicks to where you can buy a competition ticket.  Sometimes it’s on the same page as the Event ticket. Other times the competition registration tickets may not be available until closer to the event.

  • A lot of people wait until 1-3 days before the Event to sign up for the Strictly portion, so they can find a partner.  For those doing Jack & Jill, it’s easy to just buy the competition ticket early.

  • Tip

    • During the event, make sure to dance with as many other dancers as possible because you never know who you will draw as your partner for the Jack and Jill division.


STEP 2: Check in at event

  • Once the Event starts, always listen up for any announcements from the Event hosts regarding YOUR competition or all competitions, since there are usually changes somewhere along the way in scheduling or whatever else.  Be adaptable and flexible for that.

  • There is a check-in station near the entrance where people can be assigned a number (tag) to put on their back or rear of clothes, along with 4 pins, so just save all that for the day of the competition. 

  • Tip

    • Many competitions require the dancer's number be on their back.

    • Females - Lower Back // Males - Mid Back


STEP 3: Attend the Competition Meetings

  • There are pre-competition meetings with all the competitors of that contest, and one or more of the hosts and/or judges will let you know what’s happening, if things are on time or delayed, etc.  Most importantly, they would like to just give help you calm your pre-jitters by letting you know what they expect and what you can expect to happen.

  • Tip

    • Despite how many times you may have been to a meeting, it's important to attend so that you do not miss valuable information.


STEP 4: Be in attendance for your heats

  • Make sure to stay close or on the competition holding area so that you get proper directions and don’t get disqualified.  This is also a valuable warm up time when practice space is provided.

  • Tip

    • If you need to leave the practice space, make sure to inform the Floor Wrangler and the people around you so that if your name is called you can be accounted for.


STEP 5: Line Up & Take the Floor

  • The Floor Wrangler will have you line up by order of your numbers.  It’s VERY important that you stay in line and ready to enter the floor.

  • Jack and Jill

    • Leads and follows will be lined up in separate lines and walked onto the floor to form pairs

    • After each song in the heat, the partner will be rotated.  Typically there are 2-3 songs per heat.

    • After the partners are rotated, all the competitors will rotate around the dance floor to dance in a new spot

  • Strictly

    • Arm in arm, you and your partner of choice will enter the floor and circle around until told to stop

    • Typically there are 2-3 songs per heat.

  • Finals

    • Finalist from both prelim categories will compete in finals dance together.

    • Jack & Jill finalists will have one rotation and then maintain that new partner for the remainder of the final round. 

    • The top couple from each division will get custom one-of-a-kind buckles! 

  • Tip

    • As the Floor Wrangler walks the competitors around the dance floor, smile and wave and be cheerful.  This is your time to HYPE the crowd! 


STEP 6: Be Aware of expectations while on the floor

  • All competitors will be asked to turn to face their numbers towards the judges (typically they are in the center but may be spread out throughout the floor.  Either way, the judges are trained to make their rounds to make sure each dancer gets seen by each judge. 

  • You must wait to be dismissed before leaving the floor after a competition.  We want to make sure that the judges see all the competitors equally to make the best judgments.


STEP 7: Stay tuned for call backs

  • One the competition is complete, there will be announcements concerning who made it back to the next round.  If your name/number is called, you MUST repeat steps 2-5.  There will typically be 2 “alternates” who will be called in to compete if any of the semi-finalist/finalists who do not show on time.

STEP 8: Stay tuned for awards

  • Awards will happen Sunday during the concerts. It’s important for all finalists to be in attendance.






  • Definition:  The element of dance that defines when certain movements will occur is time. Beat, tempo, rhythm, and pace are all components of timing.

  • What Judges are looking for:  Judges should be able to tell if the song is fast or slow by watching your steps. 

  • Tip

    • Don’t rush through moves just to cram a bunch together.  Quality over quantity.  Let the partnership- and the audience- breath when watching you.


  • Definition: Quality of your dance foundation and basics.

  • What judges are looking for: Judges want to see clean footwork, control (including balance), and frame which demonstrate good technique. Maintaining timing and level appropriate moves is also a part of technique.

  • Tip

    • Don’t hold back on dancing “All Out”! But be aware of your essentials: frame, connection, control, and floor etiquette. Make sure to know where other dancer are! 


  • Definition: How well you and your partner work together to showcase all your foundational dance skills. 

  • What judges are looking for:  Judges are looking for how well competitors watch each other safety, and demonstrate the ability to not outshine one another while actively engaging with one another. Partner dance relies on demonstrating the ability to dance together, rather than just simultaneously. 

  • Tip

    • Make sure to look at each other, act as if the two of you are the only ones on the dance floor. This will help you stay in tuned as well. #chemistry


  • Definition: The moves that make up the dance: The variety, transitions, and individual moves and combinations used throughout the dance.

  • What judges are looking for:  Content should showcase a connection to the music, provide variety, and when possible demonstrate the knowledge of multiple combinations. 

  • Tip

    • Use the music to influence what type of moves and combinations are done.  Listen for highs and lows in the song.  Be creative on the phrase changes. Execute lifts at a time during the music where it really goes well!


  • Definition: The performance factor! How well you sell your dance to the judges and crowd.

  • What judges are looking for:  Generating engagement by utilizing phrasing, drawing in the judges and crowd, and adding individual style and flare. Providing good Showmanship is an important part of any competition, but it is never a substitute for good technique. 

  • Tip

    • As much as you are performing for the crowd, you really want to make sure the judges are seeing your best work. Make sure to angle your best moves in a way that the judges would be able to see them, versus always having your back to the judges. 

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