January 27 - 29, 2017
The Fairmont Hotel
San Jose, CA
Rules & Regulations

The following rules and regulations are in addition to the current National Dance Council of America (N.D.C.A.) rules and regulations. Please check current forms for specific information on age categories, levels, dances offered. There are many changes each year to our competition. Check for the latest information on the forms. 

General Rules & Regulations

  • Competitors must check in with the register to pick up their competition number.

  • All competitors must be ready to dance 30 minutes prior to scheduled dance time.

  • The Organizer reserves the right to merge or cancel any categories. Be sure to check this website periodically for updates.

  • All persons attending the event whether as competitors, spectators or officials are bound by the N.D.C.A. rules and by participating at the City Lights Open automatically become obligated to adhere to them.

  • The N.D.C.A., City Lights Open nor the venue for the event do not take any responsibility for loss or theft of articles left in the changing rooms, ballrooms or hotel rooms; nor can be held liable for injury sustained by persons attending this event. Everyone attending does so at his/her own risk.

  • All individuals attending this event, whether as spectators or as competitors or as officials or guests of the Organizers shall be bound by the N.D.C.A. rules, and by participating in this event automatically become obliged to adhere to them.

Tickets & Hotel Reservations

  • All competitors and spectators must have an admission ticket to enter the ballroom. Due to heavy lines right before dance session, PLEASE pick up your tickets well in advance.

  • Ticket Seating will be based on date of receipt in combination with the size of the order. For example, someone who is coming in a group with an advanced order will get preference; someone who is buying tickets for the weekend will get preference, etc.

Single Dance Events

  • Students of the same dance level, age category and gender category will be competing against each other.

  • Students may enter all events in all levels of the same category (i.e. all Bronze), but may only enter the first two levels in the next category such as Pre-Silver and Intermediate Silver, but not Full Silver.

  • Students may dance in a lower age division (except for Pre-Teen, Junior and Youth events).

  • Please no changes in dance category the day of event. Changes must be in writing and acknowledged by Registrar via email.

  • Music will be played for approximately 1 minute and 30 seconds

  • All rules above apply to Student/Student as well as Teacher/Student entries.


Solo Routines

  • Routines should be no longer than 3 minutes.

  • Figures should be kept within the syllabus of the level entered.

  • Music can be presented on a CD and labeled with the student and teacher’s name and dance. Your music should be taken to the music director at a minimum of 1 hour prior to the event.

  • The student will be assessed by 3 judges who will give a written critique that you may have at the end of the day session through the registration desk.

  • The 3 highest scores will be invited to dance in Saturday evening’s session to compete for top solo routine.

  • There is a maximum of TWO (2) Solo Exhibitions per student.


Formation Teams

  • A minimum of 4 couples is allowed per team.

  • See the N.D.C.A. handbook for guidelines and restrictions.


Professional Theatre Arts

  • Only 12 performances will be accepted, on a first come, first served basis.

  • Music must not exceed three minutes duration, including any walk on, walk offs. Competitors please see the music director during the break of the Evening Session prior to dancing, or before.


Pro-Am Multi-Dance Events

  • Participants in Scholarship, Championship, and 9-dance and 10-dance events will compete against each other regardless of age level or gender.

  • All Multi-Dance events are open syllabus.

  • World Dancesport Series rules apply to all Dancesport Series events.


Rising Star Events

  • In order to participate in Professional Rising Star events, professional couples must not have won the Rising Star category in the same style (e.g. Smooth, Standard, Latin or Rhythm) at any previous City Lights Ball, or at the United States Dance Championship (USDC). In addition, couples must not have placed as Open Professional Finalists in the same style at any previous United States Dance Championship. All other participants and winners from other competitions are welcome.

  • Students who participate in Rising Star must not have danced and won a previous Rising Star competition at City Lights Ball in the same style (e.g. Standard, Latin, Smooth or Rhythm). All other participants and winners from other competitions are welcome.

Syllabus Restrictions

  • No continuity movements allowed in Newcomer or Bronze levels in American Style.

  • Pre-Novice, Adult Newcomer and Pre-Bronze events are restricted to closed syllabus.

  • Novice, Pre-Champ, Championship, Pre-Teen, Junior and Youth my dance open syllabus.

  • Pre-teen dancers can only dance syllabus steps of bronze, silver and gold. Juniors and youth can dance syllabus or open.


Age Category Guidelines & Restrictions

  • The age category for Pre-Teen, Junior, and Youth are based on the birth year of older partner (not the birthday on date of competition).

  • Pre-Teen, Junior and Youth may dance up one age category.

  • Amateur adult categories are defined by the younger person in the partnership, evaluated on the day of the competition.

  • Adult categories my dance any lower age category.


Costume Guidelines & Restrictions

  • A costume is one that has sequins, rhinestones, feathers, glitter, fringe, pears or other similar decoration.

  • No costumes in Newcomer and Pre-Novice events

  • Pre-Teen and Juniors, please be aware of the current N.D.C.A. rules.

  • All other competitors may wear costumes for all levels.


  • Please no video cameras or digital video cameras in the ballroom. Videographers will be available to tape your routines. For children’s events, please contact the video vendor, listed on the City Lights Ball website.

NDCA Requirements

  • All Professional, Amateur, Pre-Teen, Junior and Youth competitors must be registered with the N.D.C.A. N.D.C.A. registration is a requirement. The N.D.C.A. requires that you renew your membership prior to December 31 to avoid a 50% surcharge. Application forms and fees will be accepted at the registration desk for those who have not registered prior to the event. For new members, the surcharge is waived. Refunds will not be available for non-compliance.

  • N.D.C.A. registration -- contact Eleanor Wiblin, P.O. Box 22018, Provo, Utah 84602 (801)422-8124.



  • The number and which judges per event is determined by the Chairman for City Lights Ball and is kept confidential until the event.

  • Any discrepancies about marks should be directed to the Chairman at the event, during a break. The Chairman shall be responsible for decisions concerning ties.

  • Marks will be posted in a notebook and made available at the Registration desk. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES REMOVE A PAGE OR WRITE ON THESE PAGES. Results will later be posted on the City Lights Ball web site.


Cancellation & Refund Policy

  • A full refund will be given for entries if City Lights Ball is notified in writing 4 weeks prior to the competition. In cases of medical or family emergencies, contact organizer directly, where credits for next year’s event will be given. There will be no refunds for missed events or admissions.