About Our Contests

The Next Generation Swing Dance Club (Next Gen) runs dance contests at most of its monthly Club dances. Most frequently, they are Luck of the Draw (LOD) contests. Typically, the Club runs preliminary rounds for 7 months, culminating with finals. For variety, the Club may also run another kind of contest periodically, such as a Strictly Swing contest. Please see below for more information about specific types of contests.

Our Luck of the DrawJack& Jill is open to all skill levels, and does not have any gender role restrictions. As Jack & Jill contests, dancers sign up as individuals and partnerships are chosen randomly, such as rolling dice, picking cards, or drawing names out of a bucket. Each pairing must demonstrate good social dance skills as they dance to music selected in advance by the DJ, rather than execute a pre-choreographed routine to music of their choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

(Download Contest Rules)

(Download FAQ)

Why do we have competitions at Club dances?

Competitions provide a bonus activity that makes our dances more interesting, both for competitors and spectators:

  • Competitors gain experience and confidence dancing for an audience.
  • Spectators get a show (entertainment).

What types of competitions are appropriate at Club dances?

  • Novelty contests could include anything from dancing with blindfolds to wearing special costumes. Usually, the idea is to have fun rather than show good dancing. Entertaining the audience is more important than dancing well.
  • Serious competitions may be more relaxed at a Club dance than at a weekend event, but competitors take them seriously and the judges are looking for the best dancing. At Club dances, some form of Jack & Jill or Strictly Swing is usually the most appropriate contest.

Why do we do a Luck of the Draw contest?

Luck of the Draw contest is an inclusive version of the traditional Jack & Jill, where both genders can choose to sign up as leaders or followers. In practice, most dancers will sign up for the traditional gender role, but occasionally someone will sign up for a non-traditional role (most often a woman who wants to lead). The board of directors approved this policy for Club dances so that all dancers would have the opportunity to compete regularly at our dances.

Note: For Boogie by the Bay, we offer the traditional Jack & Jill rather than Luck of the Draw. The convention committee adopted this policy for two reasons:

  • The World Swing Dance Council (WSDC) currently only tracks points for traditional Jack & Jill contests. Since we use WSDC points to determine who is eligible for each J&J division, a woman who wanted to lead (or a man who wanted to follow) would not have any points recorded to dance in higher divisions. Also, if the competitions at Boogie by the Bay were Luck of the Draw, the WSDC would not record points for our winners.
  • Persons who want to dance non-traditional roles (reverse-role couples or same-gender couples) can choose their own partner and enter our Strictly Swing competitions at Boogie by the Bay.

Why do we allow open entry?

  • An open contest encourages the advanced competitors to mix with the novice competitors. Advanced dancers are more likely to ask novice dancers to dance during social dancing if they know they might draw them as competitors. It teaches everyone good sporting conduct. It also more accurately reflects the social dance floor, where people of all levels might be dancing together. This mix is closer to the original spirit of the J&J contest, which was invented by Jack Carey to encourage competitors to mix rather than just dance with their regular partner.
  • Clubs that offer several J&J divisions typically have weekly dances rather than monthly dances. That way, a different division can compete each week.
  • For us, an open contest seems to draw the most participants. 

Why do we let people who have already qualified for the Luck of the Draw finals continue to enter the contests every month?

  • It encourages those who have already qualified (and their friends) to keep coming to our dances every month. Remember, the original goal of these contests was to increase our dance attendance.
  • Each contest is a stand-alone competition as well as part of the series. Competitors draw new partners each time, and don’t dance the same every month. We want each contest to be the best it can be. If all the most experienced competitors qualified for the finals early in the series, then limiting sign-ups to those who haven’t qualified might mean that the less experienced dancers would not get a chance to dance with more experienced dancers in later contests. This would make them less appealing (to competitors and spectators) and, again, might negatively affect our dance attendance.
  •  Some people who have qualified for the finals don’t sign up again, but they offer to participate if we need extra people to balance the number of leaders and followers. (See below about the need for an equal number of followers and leaders).
  • Although some people believe that “the same people always win,” the truth is that most people don’t place in the top five (to qualify for the finals) more than 2 times during the series.

What are the prizes at Club dances?

  • We provide one complimentary dance pass (value: $9.00/$14.00) to the top five leaders and followers each month. This minimizes the Club’s costs in holding competitions.
  • For the finals, the Club contributes Boogie by the Bay tickets for the winners.

What qualifications do judges need to possess?

All judges for our Club must be dancers with extensive training as judges. They also must have practiced judges a considerable amount.

Also, to ensure fairness, a person may not judge a contest that his or her significant other or immediate family member is competing in.

Moreover, a judge may not compete in any individual contest within a Luck of the Drawseries, even though they may not be judging that particular night.  Again, this requirement is in the interest of leaving no doubt of fairness.

Why do we have to have a contestant meeting before every competition? 

The reason for the meetings is to do a roll call to make sure that we know about everyone who is supposed to be in the contest and to verify that we have an even number of leaders and followers. That way, if there are problems, we take care of them before the contest actually starts. In most cases this makes the contest run quickly and smoothly.

    The Relative Placement Scoring System

    The Next Generation Swing Dance Club uses the Relative Placement Scoring System at monthly dances as well as at Boogie by the Bay dance convention.

    The Relative Placement scoring system assures that each judge has an equal vote in the final outcome. Relative Placement is the scoring system used for all competitions at Boogie by the Bay.

    A. Number of Judges Needed

    1. An even or odd number of judges may be used for callbacks in preliminary and semifinal rounds. For Jack & Jill callbacks, half the judges may select leaders and half may select followers.
    2. An odd number of judges will be used in all final rounds to minimize the possibility of ties. A minimum of 5 judges is recommended for Relative Placement; 7 or 9 judges are even better. (Boogie by the Bay typically will be using 7 judges plus a Chief Judge for all finals.)

    B. Preliminary and Semifinal Rounds

    1. In the preliminary and semifinal rounds, a callback system is used. In this system, each judge selects individuals (in Jack & Jill contests) or couples (in Strictly Swing contests) for callback to the next round, but does not rank them in any particular order.
    2. The Scorer converts each judge's selections into ordinals: 1 for all those selected, 2 for any alternates, and 3 for all those not selected. Contestants are then ranked according to the total number of 1s, 2s, and 3s received from the judges.
    3. After the judges' scores have been tallied, the Chief Judge determines how many individuals or couples will be promoted to the next round.
    4. The Chief Judge's scores are used only to break ties.

    C. Tallying the Final Placements

    1. In the finals, each judge must place every couple in rank or order (1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, etc.). In a finals with a
      large field of couples, the judges will concentrate on placing the top twelve couples.
    2. Raw scores (9.5, 8.9, 7.6, etc.) are used only to determine a judge's order of placements. If a judge submits only raw
      scores, the Scorer will convert them into ordinals (1, 2, 3, etc.) for Relative Placement.
    3. Duplicate placements are not permitted. If a judge mistakenly provides duplicate placements, the Chief Judge will request that the judge provide unique placements for each couple.
    4. A couple must have a majority of judges' votes to be awarded a final placement.
    5. If no couple has a majority of votes, then the next placement is added to the previous placements (1st through 2nd, 1st
      through 3rd, etc.) until a majority is reached.
    6. If there is a tie, a larger majority beats a lower majority (for example, 5 votes beats 4 votes).
    7. If two or more couples have an equal majority (such as 4 votes each), then the numerical value of the placements for
      each couple is added. The couple with the lowest sum gets the higher position. If the sums for two or more couples are
      identical, then the next placement is added to the previous placements for those tied couples only.
    8. If two couples remain tied through all placements, then each judge's placements for only those two couples are compared. The couple with a majority of higher placements wins.
    9. The Chief Judge's scores are used only to break any remaining ties.

    D. Example of Relative Placement

    1. In this example, there are 6 couples competing. Because there are 5 judges, a majority of at least 3 judges is
      needed to award any couple a final placement.
    2. Here, no couple has a majority of 1st place votes from the judging panel. Adding the next placement and counting 1st
      through 2nd place votes, only couple #1 has a majority of at least 3 votes. Therefore, couple #1 is awarded 1st place.
    3. Counting 1st through 3rd place votes, only couple #6 has a majority of at least 3 votes. Therefore, couple #6 is awarded
      2nd place.
    4. Counting 1st through 4th place votes, three couples have an equal majority of 3 votes. When the numerical value of the
      ordinals making up those votes is added, couples #2 and #3 both have the lower sum of 7, whereas couple #5 has the
      higher sum of 9. Couple #5 is therefore awarded the lowest final placement of the three couples, in this case 5th place.
    5. To break the tie between couples #2 and #3, it is necessary to count 1st through 5th place votes. Couple #3 has 5 votes, one more than couple #2, which has 4 votes. Couple #3 therefore is awarded 3rd place, and couple #2 is awarded 4th place.
    6. Couple #4, the only remaining couple, is awarded 6th place.
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