Now that we have clarified Pro Am line dance competition, let’s look at the other options that a line dancer has for getting started in competition.

The definition of the Classic Format of competition is as follows: …the “choreographic interpretation” of pre selected choreographed dances.

The UCWDC® our governing body for competition pre selects line dance choreography per level of dance.  All step descriptions and the videos are listed on the official UCWDC website ( on a rotating schedule throughout the year prior to the usage date.

The Classic competitor’s challenge is to take the pre selected line dance choreography and interpret it to the music they are given.  Like Pro Am line competition, the competitor will preview the music during warm-ups.  Usually the music is the same as the choreographer’s original music choice.

How is this division different than Pro Am line?

 In this division there are 4 categories or levels of dance.  They are as follows:

  1. Newcomer        Classic IV
  2. Novice              Classic III
  3. Intermediate     Classic II
  4. Advanced         Classic I
Line Dance, ProAmCouples
NewcomerClassic IV
NoviceClassic III
IntermediateClassic II
AdvancedClassic I

*This is a general overview, if you cross dance categories please email to verify you are in the proper divisions.

These levels are broken down further, by age.  This is so that you may compete with dancers in your age group or you can choose to dance in an “Open” category with all ages.

In the Junior division, there are 3 categories.  They are as follows:

  1. Junior Primary            less than 10 years old
  2. Junior Youth               at least 10, but less than 14
  3. Junior Teen                 at least 14, but less than 18


In the adult division you must be 18 years old.  “Your age for the entire Dance Season for UCWDC competition is the age you will be on the last day of the dance season.”  This means if you are going to be 18 when you dance at World Championships, you will be required to dance the “Open” division throughout the season.  Anyone 18 or over can dance the “Open” category.  The adult divisions are also broken down by age.  The age divisions are as follows:

  1. Crystal               age 30-39
  2. Diamond            age 40-49
  3. Silver                 age 50-59
  4. Gold                  age 60-69
  5. Platinum           70 and above

In this competitive division the dancer must dance without his/her Pro.

In the Newcomer division, the UCWDC© has relaxed the requirements for the number of dances that must be competed to qualify for an “overall placement.”  This year there are only 3 dances in the Newcomer division and they are “motion specific.”

The Novice division is now comprised of 4 dances and they are motion specific.

What is “motion specific?”
Motion means “the act or process of moving or the way in which somebody or something moves.”[1]

There are six categories of motions.  In these 6 categories there are characters of dance that fit each motion.  That means there are specific rhythms that are contained in each motion. Here are some examples of motions and characters that fit in each motion.

 Motions                                    Characters

Rise & Fall                       waltz, foxtrot, quickstep

Lilt                                    polka, east coast swing, samba

Smooth                             west coast swing, NC2

Cuban                               salsa, merengue, cha cha, rumba

Street                                hip hop, break dance, cheerleading

Stage                                 can be different genres

What does “overall placement” mean?
When a dancer competes against other dancers in their division, they like to know how they did in comparison to those other dancers.  So, the UCWDC awards an overall placement that places the dancer compared to all the other dancers that competed in their division.  The overall placement is based on the accumulation of the judges’ scores and you must dance all 3 dances at the Newcomer level to be placed or ranked.

Who can dance the Newcomer division?
If you have never competed and have little or no dance training, this is where you should start.

Can I do variations in Newcomer?
No, all Newcomers are required to follow the original choreography throughout the competition.

What do I wear?
“Contestants in the Newcomer division are not required to wear elaborate costumes and cannot have any sequins, rhinestones, or other shiny or sparkly embellishments or materials, or metallic threads woven into the costumes.”[1] However, they may wear jewelry and hair adornments in this level of dance.

This is an overview of how to get started in the Classic line dance division.  For specific questions about rules, please contact Beth Emerson, Vice President of Rules for the association. rules@ucwdc,.org

If you have more questions about how to get started, please feel free to ask those in the comment section.

Have fun on the dance floor!  We look forward to seeing you all at the next competition.

Donna Caudill is a certified UCWDC judge and former competitor. She co-owns Dance with Steve and Donna in Shepherdsville, KY where they teach everything from Ballroom and Country to Clogging.

 1UCWDC© rule book