Why do we have dress rules?
To understand the DanceSport Australia Dress Regulations we first need to understand why DSA has these rules in place and secondly what the motivations behind them are.
DSA is the governing body for competitive DanceSport in Australia. It runs the registration system and is responsible for making sure it’s members are protected, and procedures are fair and legal. Furthermore, as the registered body with the Australian Sports Commission, DSA must comply with all the rules and regulations as set by the Australian Government.
More recently with increasing obesity and health problems around the world, the Australian Government has recognised the importance of sporting activities to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle and therefore works with the Sports Commission to develop programs in support of this. One of these directives is that all sporting bodies should have an entry level for participants that is “grass roots” and “requires no specialized clothing or equipment”. This level of participation is known as Recreational which is why DSA have adopted the same name for our beginners and created a new Division to facilitate this.
Before moving onto some of the actual rules I think it is important to also point out the introduction written by DSA in their Policy and Procedures document for Dress Restrictions. There are some very important points raised regarding our “grass roots” competitors which underpin the philosophy of having these rules. Unfortunately, many of us refer to this document and only study specific details within the rules, in the end our competitive brains take over and the overall philosophy is thought of as a hindrance or in many cases forgotten.
Restrictions on Competitor Dress
Reprinted from the DSA Dress Restrictions Policy and Procedures…
Competitors dress restrictions are based on the following guiding principles:
- DanceSport has important artistic elements, which grooming and dress should enhance but not dominate.
- Adjudicators should not be distracted by unusual or outrageous grooming and dress, from assessing each couple’s demonstration of their relative technical skill, artistry, and floor craft.
Further dress restrictions are imposed on juvenile competitors and lower grade couples so as to ensure that:
- Entry into competition should be as accessible to as many people as possible.
- The cost of entry should be as cheap as possible relative to the minimum standard of dress required for competition.
- At the outset, the emphases for competitors should be on ability, not dress. As competitors move through the grades more emphasis is given to grooming and dress but never to the exclusion of ability.
- During the formative period of their introduction to DanceSport, new competitors and in particular juvenile competitors (as well as their parents and teachers), should have virtually no other consideration than to develop their technical ability.
- The health of juvenile competitors does not suffer because of inappropriate footwear.
DanceSport is very visual and with all the glitz and glamour involved it’s very easy for people to be drawn to the expensive dresses. We should always remember that we are just like every other sport in the world. The expensive stuff is not required to start with, no different to cricket, rugby, football, swimming, karate, or ballet. When you hear promotions on TV about their Junior Development Programs there is never any mention of the $300 tennis racquet or the new limited edition DC 1080 New Balancebat Cricket Bat selling for over $1000!
As Competitors, Teachers, Coaches, Adjudicators, Organisers, Parents and Dress Makers within the industry we should all remember these important points and present a united front when welcoming new-comers and advising customers within our sport.
Recreational Dress Restrictions
The rules are quite simple...
- Street dress only.
- For the men – general day wear i.e. Trousers and shirt. No T Shirts, singlets, jeans, or baggies. Plain Latin style trousers without satin stripes or decorations are ok.
- For ladies – general day wear only. After five wear and competition attire are not allowed.
- Shoes – Normal day wear or dance shoes allowed. No sneakers or joggers.
- Other notes – no diamontes, sequins, lace, pearls, feathers, metallic or sequin fabric, or fringe. No diamonte jewellery allowed including earrings, bangles, necklaces, or hair decorations.
The rules are the same for all age groups competing in Recreational except the Juveniles. They, or their parents, can decide between Recreational street wear or Amateur Division Juvenile attire. The reason for this is that the philosophy behind the dress restrictions for Juveniles is the same for both Amateur and Recreational Divisions.
Note there is no mention of practice wear. Practice wear that looks like day wear is acceptable however if it looks like a competition dress, then no, this is not allowed. Just because a shop, retailer or dress maker advertises it as practice wear does not mean that it automatically passes the rules.
These dresses pictured above are simply un-decorated off-the-rack DanceSport couture items, not street wear.
Often asked about or forgotten but dresses with fringing as pictured above are not allowed.
As mentioned earlier, Juveniles can decide between Recreational street wear or Amateur Division Juvenile attire.
A waistcoat or vest is allowed under Recreational rules.
Please note this is not allowed if dancing Juvenile in Amateur Division.
The idea is to keep the cost to a reasonable price for all new participants in our sport, especially parents with children in dancing. These rules are here to keep it fair for everyone competing at competitions.
Although we love everyone to look great the emphasis should always be on the development and improvement of their dancing abilities.
For further information and printable copies of the full rules please go to the DSA website, dancesport.org.au
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