Cal Poly Mustang Ball - February 3, 2024

Ballroom & Latin DanceSport Competition

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Competition Rules & Information


Individual events are offered in American style, International style, and Nightclub dances. All events are open to leaders and followers of any gender. Two or more dances separated by a slash constitute a multi-dance event. Contestants in multi-dance events will be judged collectively in all listed dances. Contestants in International style categories must dance International style, and contestants in American style categories must dance American style.

Events are open to all amateur competitors. Although the event is collegiate in nature, competitors do not have to be students and there are no age restrictions for any events.

Competitors should be ready to dance at least 30 minutes before their scheduled event.

The decisions of the Invigilator and Head Judge shall be final.

Registration & Fees


Online registration is available now. Register and pay by January 23th, 2024 to save $10!

When registering, to sign up for Nightclub Style events, select either Beginner or Intermediate/Advanced as the Skill Level.


Online purchase of competitor and spectator tickets is available at our EventBrite page. Entry fees may also be paid by mail. Make your check payable to Cal Poly Ballroom Club and mail your payment to:

Cal Poly Ballroom Club
PO Box 15313
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-5313	 

Do not mail any payments after January 23, as we may not receive them before the competition. You must either pay online or at the event after February 1.

Payment must be submitted online or postmarked before January 24 to qualify for the reduced pricing. The following table summarizes the fees and deadlines:

Deadline January 23, 2024 February 3, 2024
Competitors $40.00 $50.00

Each individual competitor must pay an entry fee to compete. The entry fee includes admission to the event. Competitor may enter as many events as they are qualified for (as determined by the level rules) with as many paid partners as they wish.

Spectator admission to the competition is $10 in advance or $15.00 at the door for general admission. VIP Seating is available for $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Spectator admission is free for Cal Poly students with a valid Cal Poly ID.

Cancellations & Refunds

Cancellations made by January 23 will receive a full refund of the ticket price. No refunds are available after January 23. Eventbrite processing fees are not refundable.

Formation Team Competition

The formation team competition is open to teams of four to ten couples. Please bring music on a CD. Formation team competitors who are not dancing in any of the individual events can pay a formation team only entry fee of $10.

Shoe Policy

The Cal Poly DanceSport Team shoe policy requires that all dancers wear shoes that will not mark or damage the floor. Suede-soled dance shoes are strongly encouraged. Heel protectors are required for high-heeled shoes. Competitors may not apply powder or oil to the floor or to the soles of their shoes.


Costumes are not allowed in Newcomer or Bronze level, but are allowed in Silver and above, Rookie/Veteran, and all nightclub levels. We follow the CDA Costume Guidelines which consider the following items to be costumes:

  • Jackets of any kind, including tail suits, tuxedo jackets, and off-the-rack suit jackets.
  • Floats, streamers, scarves, cords hanging from sleeves, sashes, or any other non- structural material that flows behind while a dancer is in motion.
  • Shirts or tops that are open to below the breastbone.
  • Skirts or dresses with more than two layers in the skirting.
  • Any article of clothing incorporating rhinestones, gemstones, sequins, or actual lights. (“Articles of clothing” include shirts, pants, vests, skirts, socks, ties, pocket squares, belts, suspenders, etc. Jewelry items are not considered articles of clothing and may include stoning, etc. These include: rings, necklaces, belt buckles, tie pins & clips, bracelets, earrings, other piercings, hairpieces, cufflinks, watches, and lapel pins. For this year's event, face masks will also be considered jewelry items and may include stoning, etc, provided the integrity and function of the mask is unaffected.)
  • The heavy use of feathering, glitter, metallic fabric, metallic threading, and related decorative effects constitute a costume when more than 10% (cumulative) of the area of the article of clothing is covered by these effects.
  • The heavy use of fringing constitutes a costume when more than 25% of the total area of all clothing is covered by fringe.

Shoes are excluded from these costume guidelines since they present an unavoidable expense regardless of their appearance. Nevertheless, dancers are expected to honor the spirit of costuming restrictions and not augment (e.g. add stoning to) shoes for levels of competition in which costuming restrictions apply.

Costume violations will normally require correction before being allowed to dance, which may risk missing an event.

If you have questions about a particular item of clothing, please e-mail your question along with photos of the clothing item to


American and International style events are offered in Newcomer through Open levels. Please read and understand the eligibility guidelines below and choose your level accordingly. Eligibility restrictions will be enforced in all levels. Couples in violation of eligibility rules may be moved to a higher level or disqualified without advance notice.

Both dancers in a couple must individually be eligible to dance at any given level. In the Standard, Smooth, Rhythm and Latin categories, couples may enter the lowest level for which both dancers are eligible, and the next higher level. (For example, a Bronze level dancer may also enter Silver level events.) In the Nightclub category, couples may only enter one level (Newcomer/Beginner OR Intermediate/Advanced) for each dance.

As mentioned below, Newcomer, Bronze, Silver and Gold levels are closed syllabus events. For International style events, syllabus restrictions refer to the ISTD Specified Figures, at the Associate level for the Bronze, through the Fellow level for Gold. For American style events, any published syllabus (Fred Astaire, Arthur Murray, DVIDA, ISTD) may be used. ISTD step lists for International and American styles are available from The head judge or designated invigilator will strictly invigilate syllabus events. Syllabus violations may result in a warning, lower placement, or disqualification from placement, as determined by the head judge.

No lifts, drops, or aerials are allowed in any event at this competition.

The Mustang Ball is a CDA Fair Level competition and will use fair level points to determine when couples are entered in a level that is too low for their calculated proficiency. You can look up your fair level points using the Fair Level Point Lookup Tool Dancers who do not have fair level points should refer to the guidelines below to determine their appropriate level.


Newcomer events are open to couples where both partners started Ballroom Dancing less than a year ago (after February 3, 2023.) Costumes are not permitted, and only Bronze syllabus choreography may be danced.


Bronze events are for beginning dancers relatively inexperienced with ballroom dance competitions. Costumes are not permitted, and only Bronze syllabus choreography may be danced.


Silver events are for dancers with competitive experience. Those taking intermediate level classes and dancing regularly should find this category appropriate. Bronze and Silver syllabus figures can be used and costumes are optional.


Gold events are for more experienced competitors. Costumes are permitted, and any syllabus choreography (Bronze, Silver, or Gold) may be used.

Novice, Pre-Champ, Championship

Novice, Pre-Champ, and Championship are advanced levels are for experienced competitors and are equivalent to the corresponding level at USADance/NDCA competitions. Competitors who have placed out of Gold or Pre-Novice level are only eligible for Novice or higher. Costumes are strongly encouraged, and there are no restrictions on choreography.


Think of this level (also called Mixed Proficiency) as being similar to a Pro/Am event, but with an experienced Amateur instead of a Pro. The rules:

  1. One partner (the Rookie) must be a newcomer or bronze level dancer, and the other partner (the Veteran) must be a silver level dancer or higher.
  2. Both partners must be amateur dancers.
  3. Choreography is strictly restricted to Bronze syllabus only
  4. Only the Rookie dancer will be judged.
  5. There are no costume restrictions.
  6. The events will be held after the Gold level events in each style.
  7. The events will be all single dance events (no multi-dance).

The Rookie/Veteran dances will be:

Smooth Waltz Tango Foxtrot Viennese Waltz
Standard Waltz Tango Foxtrot Viennese Waltz Quickstep
Rhythm ChaCha Rumba Swing Bolero Mambo
Latin ChaCha Rumba Samba Paso Doble Jive


Nightclub events are open to all competitors and carry no restrictions on costumes or choreography. However, lifts, drops, and aerials are not permitted in any event. The nightclub events have been separated into two-level categories: Beginner, for couples with little to no competitive experience (less than 2 years total competitive experience); and Intermediate/Advanced, for couples with more competitive experience. You may only sign up for one level for each nightclub dance.

Level Quick Reference

Level Allowed Choreography Allowed Attire USADance/NDCA Equivalent Level
Newcomer Bronze No Costumes Allowed Newcomer, Pre-Bronze
Bronze Bronze No Costumes Allowed Bronze
Silver Bronze, Silver Costumes Optional Silver
Gold Bronze, Silver, and Gold Costumes Optional Gold
Novice Open – No Restrictions Costumes Recommended Novice
Pre-Champ Open – No Restrictions Costumes Recommended Pre-Championship
Championship Open – No Restrictions Costumes Recommended Championship, Open
Rookie/Veteran Bronze Costumes Optional Bronze Mixed Proficiency


The Cal Poly DanceSport Team & Cal Poly Ballroom Dance Club (including officers, members, assistants, and helpers), Cal Poly Associated Students Inc., the California Polytechnic State University and all associated entities are not liable for any injuries that may occur during the course of this event, nor for any property that is lost, stolen, or damaged. All persons at this event compete and attend at their own risk and are responsible for their own belongings.

The Cal Poly DanceSport Team reserves the right to cancel any events and/or change the schedule at any time.

Competitors and spectators should be aware that during the course of the competition, anyone in the ballroom may be photographed or videotaped by any variety of people for private or public viewing. Everyone attending this competition hereby consents by their attendance at the competition to be photographed or videotaped.

info.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/15 23:05 by chris