Ballroom Dance > Proficiency points system - point IN, or point OUT?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Borbala_Bunnett, Aug 14, 2007.

  1. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    The idea is in what is sorta called (inaccurately) "point IN" in this thread is a system where someone grants you a level (class), instead of you deciding for yourself, or your coach deciding. That brings in certain uniformity and order which is an improvement.

    A lot of the discussion is based on people's different understanding of what is being discussed. It would make more sense to continue this discussion after someone presents a clear proposition, or until someone translates, with all the details, the rules used commonly in Europe (they are very very similar in all Eastern European and many Western European countries)
  2. NielsenE

    NielsenE Active Member

    No, you're misinterpreting how "Point In" and "Point Out" were defined in the OP, and how most of the rest of us are using it.

    Either Point In or Point Out could be implemented under an honor system or under a centrally administered system. Point In does not equal central system.

    Point In = you can't dance level X until your placements in level X-1 are "enough" to qualify you to

    Point Out = you can dance level X until your placements in level X (or higher) disqualify you

    Its an orthogonal issue to how/who tracks the points.
  3. Laura

    Laura New Member


    And I think that it might be better for USA Dance to leave the present point-out system in place, and just handle the point tracking issue first! Then, once the methodology for that is in worked out, and show to be effective, then they can fiddle around all they want with numbers of points, point-in or point-out, how and when points are earned, and so on.

    My only issue with the current point-out system is that changing from 3 to 5 points solved a problem that doesn't exist -- a problem that would have been created if the distinction between Amateurs and Pros was completely removed and anyone could dance in anything, but that never happened and so we're left with this 5-point rule as an orphaned artifact of sorts. But hey, I'd rather leave well enough alone and just make sure that people really are tracking their points, or that their points are being tracked, in the first place.
  4. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    As a practical matter, only very trivial points-awarding systems can be tracked by the couple / honor-system.

    Most working point-in systems are going to require a bit more complexity to the points awards, potentially awarding some number of points to the entire top half of the field, and obviously more to higher places.

    If designing it today, it makes sense to do this online, though the paper booklets apparently work.
  5. Laura

    Laura New Member

    For sure. And because people can earn points under two different organizations (USA Dance and NDCA), and because there is/was supposedly some conversion of collegiate points to USA Dance points, we're way past the point of "very trivial," so tracking needs to be handled by a central organization. We have the technology folks, it just needs to be done. We can't count on people to track their own points, no matter what point system we devise: the honor system simply does not work, even if when points were earned wasn't already confused by the diversion of USA Dance and NDCA rules on the subject. But that can be handled. The problem isn't so much the point system in use, it's the virtual unenforcability of any point system at present in dancesport in the USA because no one official can stand up and say "No, you can't dance this, look, this official database says you have too many points."
  6. iluv2Samba

    iluv2Samba New Member

    I know this might be OT, but please can you explain how moving from 3 to 5 points would have solved the problem that would have been created if there was no distinction between Ams and Pros?
  7. RIdancer82

    RIdancer82 New Member

    I apologize if this was already brought up in this thread (I read most of it and then got tired of reading the same thing over and over again and just skimmed the rest)

    An issue to be considered w/ a point-in system..... what about those people who have been dancing at a competitive level for many years but have been unable to find a partner. Are you really going to put a dancer w/ 6+ (or more even) years experience back in Newcomer simply because they haven't had the opportunity to point in to Bronze or any other higher levels? If we're going to call any ideas ludicris, I'd say this one would be it......
  8. Laura

    Laura New Member

    No, because it's a long and involved story and I just am so tired of the whole thing that I don't want to get into it. If you dig around in the threads from last year and the year before about World Class, you might be able to find my old posts on the subject.

    Getting back to the topic, if I were forced to choose, I'd go with point-out. I don't know if I feel that way because that's the only system I've experienced, or what...but I don't see any problems with it as a general concept. The issues with it lie in how points are earned, but that of course can be changed! Even some of the point-earning scenarios that are applied to point-in systems can be applied to a point-out system. (All of this assuming centralized reporting tracking, of course!)
  9. Laura

    Laura New Member

    First of all, to be pedantic, there is no "Newcomer" level in USA Dance. Bronze is the lowest Syllabus level.

    But anyway, this sort of issue with a "point-IN" could possibly be solved with the concept of a ranking period or a ranking competition. I think some of the same-sex comps use ranking competitions or ranking rounds, I don't recall for sure, but my point is that the concept of using a ranking thing has been used in other areas.
  10. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member


    The conversion is one way only, from sanctioned competitions points to elgibility at unsanctioned competitions. Results of unsanctioned competitions do not have, and were not supposed to have, any bearing on elgibility at sanctioned ones.

    The mechanism of conversion is in dispute though. The USA Dance 1-for-1 doesn't really make any sense since sanctioned competition points are awarded much more slowly than collegaite competition ones, so some competitions such as MIT require that you recount sanctioned competitions as if they had been collegiate competitions (3 points for first, etc) - otherwise placements at the sanctioned competitions are severly discounted (only 1 point for first).

    USA Dance comp: see results of USA Dance & NDCA comps

    NDCA comp: see results of USA Dance & NDCA comps (compatible counting but different thresholds)

    Collegiate comp: see results of USA Dance, NDCA, and collegiate comps - under mechanism chosen by this competition
  11. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member


    The first thing I would bring to the DanceSport Council is a simple question, the answer to which, seems to elude me:

    "What is the stated purpose of the proficiency system they want to create? "

    Is it to encourage dancing?
    Is it to prevent unfair competitive advantage?
    Is it to encourage competition?

    Until such profoundly relevant matters are resolved, coming up with a proficiency system (any system) for the US is like asking someone to build a bridge in the middle of the ocean.

    It would be a bridge to nowhere.

  12. Adwiz

    Adwiz New Member

    Madmaximus is right: the purpose of a regulation change needs to be front and center before even discussing it.

    Is the purpose to increase syllabus participation?
    The USA has the benefit of the "Novice" level which does not exist in most other countries. At the same time, the US has seen a decline of participation in syllabus events. Perhaps this is the reason a change is being considered. While there is no clear reason for lack of interest in syllabus, I strongly suspect (based on many conversations with competitors over the past three years) that it's the result of the anti-costume rules of USA Dance. Couples who compete are driven largely by a desire to wear the costumes they see and when that opportunity is removed, they don't bother committing the time and money required to be competitive. I don't think a change of points structure alone would solve that problem.

    Is the purpose to create more fairness?
    It is hard to see how the "Points Out" system is unfair. Many reasons have already been posted about the issues that would be created. A switch to a "Points In" system would level the playing field, but the cost in terms of frustration over couples not being able to dance together would be considerable. Who would administer the process of dealing with these kinds of problems?

    Is the purpose to increase competition?
    America has a very different culture than Europe. The "Points In" system is widely used in Europe, but there people are exposed to DanceSport as part of their etiquette training in grade school. Those who continue to dance are ready for Championship level long before adulthood. Europeans are amazed at our penchant for first discovering DanceSport in our adult years, often already after reaching Senior 1 age levels. This completely changes the equation!

    At most competitions in the USA and Canada, except the very largest ones that attract an International field, there are few enough Championship couples. A switch to the "Points In" system here would further inhibit that field. How long would it take for couples to get there? Two years? Three? Are we willing to see a further decline in Championship numbers while we wait for couples to work their way through Novice and PreChamp, and what if those couples split and find themselves at different levels, with fewer chances to progress?

    Furthermore, as I've already pointed out, it goes against the nature of our culture to tell people they "can't" do something because it's against the rules when there are no practical reasons for disallowing it. I know many dancers who left Silver and Gold levels to take on Championship. Through a lot of hard work, many of them have done very well. One lady who comes to mind quickly jumped from Bronze to Championship Standard and became a national champion in Standard within a couple of years. She was fortunate to team up with a highly experienced man who was already at that level. Who is the governing body to tell such a talented lady that she "can't" follow her dream and needs to go through the drudgery of finding less talented partners while she works her way there? This feels wrong to me. How is she supposed to progress? There aren't even enough male partners for this approach to work!

    As I said, it seems to work in Europe but the entire cultural experience is different there. Most of the European countries are used to highly regulated structures where people can't work in a field until they've achieved proficiency through apprenticeship and other steps. This is comfortable for them. It doesn't make sense on this side of the pond.
  13. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Have they? How do you know this? Is it a regional thing or an all-over downturn? We still get quarter-finals or octo-finals (like, the round before the quarter-final) in Bronze syllabus at our events when the college students come. And when they don't come, we'll get quarters or semis. Since we instituted hosting Adult Syllabus events a number of years ago, our numbers of Adult Syllabus competitors has trended upwards. When I was competing in syllabus, we'd have six or seven couples in Bronze or Silver, and if we got anyone in Gold, it would be just a few couples.

    Agreed! Because of this, USA Dance can't simply discount the wants and needs of adult dancers in favor of youth programs. Dancers in the Senior age groups still carry a lot of political and monetary weight in dancesport in this country.

    But to the topic at hand: there are people in the US coming into dancesport who assume we have a point-IN system -- and their teachers and coaches don't know any better to tell them otherwise. I know this because of my frequent work as a competition Registrar, first in USA Dance and now in NDCA competitions. No matter what system we end up with, perhaps it is a good idea to try to get the teachers and coaches out there to educate themselves as to what is going on, so that they can tell their students the right things so that their students will feel empowered to get involved with dance competitions! When I meet a couple who thinks our system is point-IN, they are relieved when I explain to them that it is really point-OUT. No one has ever complained to me in a way that would indicate that they would prefer point-IN. So, based on my experience Adwiz, I'm right with you on your observations about how point-OUT seems to fit better with the general way of thinking/doing things here in the US.
  14. Adwiz

    Adwiz New Member

    There has been a significant downturn in the Seattle area in terms of syllabus participation over the past few years, but you are correct to question whether this is an overall trend or a regional one. It may very well be regional.
  15. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I don't think the costume rules help, but I think they are more a symptom of the condescending attitude towards the division than the actual cause of disinterest.

    The problem is that the syllabus events quickly become seen as a backwater of non-achievement. With most of the champ field hitting adulthood already in champ, the few adult start dancers who end up going somewhere tend to spend less than two years in syllabus divisions.

    The net result?

    Syllabus is not taken seriously by anyone who has been around long enough to see the overall state of affairs.

    Yes, there are lessons to be learned working on basic ideas - but most of those lessons are lost on the people actually in syllabus levels - the majority will never learn them, and the few who have the coaching resources and interest that might enable them to are focused on more glamorous things. When core skills are finally addressed seriously, it's as a remedial fix for frustrated champ dancers.
  16. Laura

    Laura New Member

    We've also seen in our area that participation tends to travel in "waves." At one time we had a LOT of Youth Championship competitors. Then they all grew up...and for years there were NONE. Now their younger siblings are in Junior, and a few of them are starting to dance up into Youth.

    But we digress.

    I think a thing that would help a lot is that whatever system be clearly explained and clearly enforced. It seems to me that that would help with the fairness issues, and that increased fairness might help with the participation issues.

    And, to tell you the truth, I think it was kind of bad thing when the DanceSport Athlete dues were increased to $65 per year. That's a big load for someone trying out competition for the first time to carry. I wonder if that had a negative effect?

    I find Chris' comments about Syllabus not being taken seriously to be quite interesting. How would point-OUT versus point-IN change this? Would point-IN cause people to be more committed to Syllabus, and thus take it more seriously? But would it frustrate people too? But do we really need the easily frustrated?

    So many cans of worms here....
  17. swan

    swan Member

    Pretty sure that works the same in Bulgaria as well. I've seen my partner's little book :) Everything was recorded, date, result & points, etc.
  18. Adwiz

    Adwiz New Member

    An interesting point. It may be a result of many factors. Or it may be cyclical demographics, as Laura hints at. A detailed survey of feelings among both social dancers and competitors across the country would probably be a useful exercise for USA Dance or NDCA to consider.
  19. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    I think the only way to change it would be to use championship quality judging panels tasked with looking for basic skills for the syllabus events.

    There are some real reasons for that, but also a viewpoint one: a couple battling for placement in a level where they know they will make the final has a lot to blame on the judges. It may soon cease to be worthwhile sticking around until they actually win, especially if the winning couples have glaring problems. In contrast, a couple trying to survive a round or two in a more challenging level barely cares who is judging, since they can usually figure out for themselves plenty that needs improvement in comparison to a clearly more accomplished field.
  20. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Between the latest posts by Adwiz and Chris, I believe we are finally getting to the real point...that there are certain things that must be realized and corrected before deciding which system is going to work best to insure the fulfillment of those issues/corrections.

    Re Adwiz's comments on the decline of syllabus dancing, there is much validity in Laura's and Chris' latest postings, but I have also said for years that DanceSport is partially to blame. Pre DS, dancers had to know syllabus, and BR dancing was technically cleaner. In the DS era, BR has been infused with other styles of dance (i.e. jazz, ballet, etc.). Noting that this is not in and of itiself a bad thing, it did, however, blur the lines as to what is acceptable and what was not; what BR was, and what it is developing into. IMHO, thisis the greatest contributing factor to the overall decline in syllabus dancing...regional exceptions noted.

    For the record, I prefer Point Out. Though, I am European, I never saw much need for Point In.

Share This Page