A competition is made up of categories, each category is made up of one or more rounds, each round is made up of one or more heats. A specific heat is referred to as an event and is often given an event number within a programme of events.
The structure of a competition describes the range of categories offered, the number and size of heats that comprise each round and whether repechages are used. The following terms are used:
- A Final is the last round danced in an event.
- A Preliminary Round is any round that isn't a final.
- A Repechage allows competitors a second chance if they didn't get through the first preliminary round.
Whether or not heats are seeded we want to be sure that the top 3 entries can make it through to the final should they start the competition in the same heat. This means that in the absence of a repechage at least 3 entries should go through from each heat.
A repechage can give anyone who misses the first cut a second chance to progress to the next round. This is especially helpful if the first round hasn't been seeded or where heats have noticeably different numbers of better dancers.
A repechage guarantees that people will get at least two dances at a competition. This is particularly appreciated when there are few other categories that a dancer may enter. However with the appearance of more and more creative categories, the need for repechages has diminished.
Entries per Heat and Heats per Round
- Etymology: comes from the French verb pêcher to fish, hence it means "to fish again ", i.e. have another go! (This is also a good way to remember the spelling)
- Graded categories tend to have a repechage except where there is a straight final.
- If you do not make it to the next round then you are in the repechage.
- This means that you are guaranteed to have at least two dances.
- Competitors who make it through the repechage are mixed with those who made it straight through to the next round.
For example, a round with 48 entries could be split into heats in a variety of ways:
- 2 heats of 24
- 3 heats of 16
- 4 heats of 12
- 6 heats of 8
- 8 heats of 6
Schedules are tight and the more heats there are the longer the competition takes to complete. In the judging section we'll see how the number of competitors in a heat determines the scoring method used for that heat.
Another factor to take into account is judge fatigue, judging 8 heats of 6 could be more tiring than judging 3 heats of 16. However if there are more than 12 entries on the floor then the judges need more time to look at each entry, so it's usually better to go for a few smaller heats than one very large one.
Split Floors and Dancer Visibility
With split floors and more 8 couples on a floor we start to lose sight of who we're watching and, from a competitor's point of view, who we're dancing for. Most competition try to avoid split floors and for any round that isn't a repechage we aim to limit to 7 couples (preferably 6) for all events.
We could just have two large heats of 24 entries and take the top 3 from each into the final. However going from 48 entries to 6 means than only one in 8 competitors gets to go through. This seems particularly harsh and would not be popular with competitors. Therefore a compromise is required between keeping the number heats down yet numerous enough to give competitors the feeling of progressing through heats, semi-finals and finals for a given category.
Registration is the process whereby competitors can register their details and select the categories they wish to enter.
We use information stored in a database to allow competitors to view and update their registrations and verify that we received their payments.
Competitors may be seeded for the following reasons:
- We want to initially spread out top dancers in high level events.
- We want to mix entries from different studios.
Seeding only has an effect at the start of a competition when the first preliminary round of a category is filled with entries.
In 2015 for the first time we can automatically seed entries by examining the points of each entry and their corresponding studio to give an overall optimal seeding.
Each event requires judges to score the competitors. Most ranking algorithms work best if an odd number of judges are used in order to produce a majority winner. Usually seven judges are allocated per round, in the case of Dance With A Stranger (DWAS) two groups of judges are required: one for the lead role and one for the follow role, in which case fourteen judges are required.
The role of the judges is to provide ranking data for the ranking algorithms and to check that competitors adhere to any relevant criteria.
Judges are ranked in order to eliminate ties. The most experienced judge is ranked first and so on.
The ranking algorithms do not care who the judges are or whether the same judges are used within the same round or same category. It is common practice to at least have the same judges judging all the heats within a round. This still gives two possible ways to allocate judges:
- Session Judging
- Event Judging
Session Judging is where a group of judges judge all events within a certain time period usually associated with a particular round or group of categories. For example the same judges might judge all semi-final freestyle events, but a different could judge the finals for the same categories.
This approach is simpler to coordinate however with a wide range of categories some judges are better suited to judging some events than others.
Event Judging is where the same group of judges judge every heat and round for a particular category and according to our surverys is preferred by most judges (probably because the criteria stay the same for each event within the same category).
Teams and Showcases are scored in a different way from other categories due to the fact that different music is used for each entry. This means that entries are scored one after the other under a variety of score headings. The same judges should score all the entries within a performance category.