Dance Syllabus

What is this syllabus all about?

Dancesport competitions are broken into two categories. The Syllabus category has Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels. The Open category has Novice, Pre-Championship, and Championship.

Each syllabus level has its own allowed steps for each dance. In a competition, a bronze level competitor would compete against other bronze level dancers based on the steps allowed in the bronze syllabus. The silver level would include all the steps in silver and bronze.

The Open category will allow any recognized step. In general, the syllabus is written as a guide for learning and fair competition. The bronze level may sound too easy, but keep in mind it has in it the basic techniques that will be used in later levels.

Recognized Syllabi and Syllabus Red Books

In collegiate and amateur competitions within the United States, there are five organizations that produce recognized syllabi (listed in alphabetical order).

Devil DanceSport compiles the syllabus information from these five organizations into single documents for ease of reference. Since we print them with a red cover when we travel to competitions, we call them the Red Books. You can find them below:

These are large files; we recommend saving them to your computer before opening them.

Caution: Devil DanceSport accepts all five of these syllabi at DDSI, but other competitions may only accept one or two of these syllabi. ALWAYS check the competition’s rules to verify that your favorite syllabus is usable!

Syllabus Styles

There are four main styles of ballroom and latin dance, as defined by USA Dance:

International Standard
A style of dancing in which couples must remain
in closed dance position. International Standard is distinctive in that it emphasizes remaining in a closed dance position.
International Latin
An internationally-recognized style of Latin. International Latin is distinctive in that the hip action is achieved after stepping onto a straight leg.
American Smooth
A style of dancing in which open work is allowed. American Smooth is distinctive in that it is less strict and allows the partner ship to “open up” in several steps.
American Rhythm
A style of Latin American dancing that is primarily offered in United States competitions. American Rhythm is distinctive in that the Cuban motion (hip action) is achieved by flexing the knee after taking a step.

Videos of Syllabus Patterns

Devil DanceSport members have access to NDCA syllabus videos as part of their membership benefits. If you did not receive the password for the syllabus videos when you registered for the club, please contact an officer for more information.

Other sources of dance syllabus information include ballroomdancers.com; here is a brief list of syllabus videos they have.