Ever feel like this trying while to figure out the World Swing Dance Council point system?



Don’t worry, I’ve been there too! Today, I’ll be breaking down the World Swing Dance Council point system, and answering some questions you may have about WSDC points.

WSDC Wonderings

What is The World Swing Dance Council? Founded in 1993, the World Swing Dance Council acts as a communication liaison for swing dance communities around the world and also maintains records for the global swing community. Think of it like the International Olympic Committee for the (West Coast?) swing dance community..

What does it mean if the event is under the WSDC member registry? That’s good news, because it means, as a competitor, you have the opportunity to earn points. There are also many stellar events and workshop weekends that are awesome even if they aren’t WSDC member registered – it just means you can’t earn points there.

Is every West Coast Swing Event under the WSDC member registry? Unfortunately not. Check swingdancecouncil.com for upcoming WSDC events.


Points, points, points

What does it mean to earn points? Every time you enter a WSDC competition and place (in finals) you earn points attributing to your skill-level division. Once you earn your first points, you’ll be assigned a WSDC number and this is how the WSDC will track the points you receive at conventions.

Here’s a breakdown of the WSDC skill-level divisions

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You’re probably thinking, what does it all mean?! *refers to gif from earlier*

Example time! Readers, let me introduce you to our hypothetical dancer, James. James entered his first Newcomer competition at Jack and Jill O’Rama! YAY! He made finals! YAY! He placed first with his partner, TRIPLE YAY! If he earned 15 points does that mean he made it straight into Intermediate? WHOA, buddy, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Each time you compete and place, you earn points for that particular division you competed in. Since James entered Newcomer Jack and Jill, he gained Newcomer points. He will not obtain Novice points until he makes Novice finals. Once James obtains 15 Novice points, he is then eligible to compete in the Intermediate division. This is all beginning to read like a math word problem (I hate those!), but I promise it gets easier to understand over time.

But wait, there’s more! Say James enters the Novice division at his next event. He goes through a prelim, makes it on to semi-finals, and then finals. (Go James!) The amount of points he receives depends on the event’s tier level. The original amount of competitors was 80. If he makes finals and then wins second place, he’ll earn 12 novice points based off the WSDC’s points-awarding system.

Tier Time!

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Tiers are based on how many entries (competitors) each division has. Obviously if you take first place out of 5 competitors or first out of 50 competitors those are hugely different accomplishments, and should be rewarded accordingly.

So larger events will result in more points being awarded, but will also be more challenging since you are competing with more people.

OMG, I just earned my first WSDC points!!

How do I view them online? Easy! You’ll go to www.swingdancecouncil.com, click on the points registry page, and search for your name. There you’ll see your name and WSDC number. Once you click that link, you’ll be able to view all the points you’ve earned from various events.

But wait, I earned points this weekend and I don’t see them?


Relax! You probably won’t see them immediately because scoring and record- keeping for an event is an extremely tedious process. However, WSDC guidelines allow event organizers 10 days to file the results with the WSDC so they can update the standings online.


Questions and Quandaries

Can I dance in a non-traditional role? Yes! That is if the event declares that they offer competitors the ability to compete in non-traditional roles. Some do, some don’t. Keep the logistics in mind if you want to do this. Say James is a leader, but he wants to compete as a follow. Under WSDC rules, he can only compete in one division for points that weekend. Meaning he can do a Pro-Am Jack And Jill or an All-American, while still doing Novice. However, he cannot compete as a Novice leader and a Newcomer follow.

Dancers competing in both roles will still have one WSDC number, but any points gained will be for that role in that division. (i.e. Champion follow, Advanced leader)

Can I earn points for other Jack and Jill divisions? Many events offer other Jack and Jill competitions, such as All-American (mixed levels) and Pro-Ams (where professionals partner up with amateurs). Unless it’s a division under the WSDC rules (Newcomer, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, All-Star, or Champion Jack and Jill), you will not be able to earn points.

Can I petition to dance up or down a level? Dancers who want to dance up or down a division can file a petition when registering their comp entry. A committee plus the chief judge will take petitions under consideration. Some instances where someone might want to do this is if they are already a skilled dancer who hasn’t had opportunities to compete in WSDC sanctioned events and is therefore at a Novice level when their skill is much higher, or someone who had a lucky draw and pointed out of a division, but still doesn’t feel ready for the next division.

For any other questions or concerns, consult a judge at the event you are attending, or look on swingdancecouncil.com

Look out for next week’s post, which will be a crash course for your (insert suspenseful music here) First Competition! For your weekly dose of Welcome Wagon info for beginning Westies, I’m Stephanie Pham. Keep dancing!


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