The event directors took the best features from events put on by the various dance forms (ballroom, country, swing, hustle) and developed a new event, not only encompassing all of the various dances, but reformulating the event to cater to the competitors and spectators. A few examples will demonstrate this.
• Awards were presented after each dance was completed. After all heats of waltz were danced, results were announced and awards were given out to all couples that placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Contestants didn’t have to wait a day or two to get their results. Results were tabulated immediately (due to a unique and efficient computer system which will be further refined to operate even more efficiently in future events). Contestants were able to experience the thrill of winning or placing while the dance was still fresh in their minds and their friends and family were still in the ballroom and thus able to share the excitement with them. Results were also announced for division winners after all dances in that division were completed.
• The overall winner of each division was based on the quality of the contestants dancing, not on the quantity of dances performed. A couple’s best scores were totaled and compared to other couple’s best scores (different divisions had a different number of required dances to perform in order to qualify for an overall placement). This system of rating ensured that the couple judged to be the best dancers in that division rated highest regardless of the number of dances they competed in, as long as the minimum number of dances to qualify for overall were danced.
• Generous cash awards were given to not only the overall division winners, but to every couple that placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in each dance! Whether you danced in cha cha, waltz, two step, west coast swing, salsa, etc., if you placed in the top three, you would receive a cash award – even if you were the only couple in that dance (which occurred on a few occasions). The event directors know that competitors work hard to compete in competitions such as the US National Dance Championships, and they decided to properly acknowledge all contestants by giving a monetary award – a gesture greatly appreciated by the contestants.
• Spectators not only were entertained by the excellent caliber of dancing that was exhibited all weekend, but they also had ample opportunity to get out on the dance floor themselves for social dancing during the competition. Most spectators are dancers themselves and welcomed the opportunity to get up and dance frequently, rather than just sit and watch for hours.
The US National Dance Championships was a huge success if judged by the comments
of those competitors and spectators who attended the event. The vision of Sam
& Denise and Dale & Anita has come to fruition after a lot of hard work
on their part and a lot of hard work by those volunteers that assisted them
on their quest. Judging by the success of this event, this was only the first
event in what will become a major organization in the dance community and that
bodes well for all dancers and spectators. To paraphrase “Field of Dreams”,
“They built it, and the dancers have come.”