Ebb & Flow Steppers Presents – Chicago Style Stepping:  Keeping it Classy, Sexy & Smooth

2017 Contest Categories, Rules & Judging Criteria


BEGINNERS:  Beginners should have two (2) years or less of total dance time.  This category specifically seeks the ability of dancers to execute solid fundamentals of the dance with emphasis on:

  1. Timing and coordination.
  2. Synchronization with partner.
  3. Mastering basic turns and basic
  4. The initial development and/or foundation of a unique style.

INTERMEDIATEIntermediate category is designed for Steppers with six (6) years of dancing or less.  Dancers should be fluent in all basic elements of the dance.  Emphasis in this category will be placed on footwork, pulling the female dance partner in close while dancing, and overall style and rhythm.  Turns, dips and drops are acceptable.

TRIO:  The Trio category is executed with three partners dancing together in unison.  Coordination, rhythm, timing, and creativity are important elements of the Trio.  While the lead in a Trio dance can change, the basis of this dance is for the lead dancer to keep his or her partners continuously involved in the dance.  Limited routines will be accepted in this category.  Turns, dips and drops are also allowed in this category.


  1. No dancing on knees or on the floor.
  2. No props. A prop is defined as any foreign object or substance used by a contestant to enhance their performance.  Taking one’s suit jacket off during the contest is not considered a prop.
  3. One foot must remain on the floor at all times in all categories. Both feet leaving the floor at any point of a participant’s performance will result in the couple’s disqualification.  All couples must make a minimum of one full rotation around the dance floor.
  4. Participants must have on respectful attire that covers all private body parts and under garments. If any private body part or undergarment is exposed, the couple will be disqualified.  (Note:  Ballerina dresses with appropriate undergarments are acceptable.)
  5. Age requirement for all categories is eighteen (18) years or older.
  6. All contest music must be submitted by the specified deadline. If the contest music is not submitted by the deadline, contestants will be required to dance to the DJ’s selection.
  7. Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated and is at the discretion of the event hosts and judges.
  8. In the event of a tie, there will be a dance off to be scored by the judges. Music selection will be DJ’s choice.


[Originality, Synchronization, Footwork, Appearance, Showmanship]

Synchronization: Two partners dancing with one another in time with emphasis on teamwork, timing and technique.  Points will be deducted for the following execution areas:

  1. Missing hands.
  2. Slips, falls, or missed dips and drops.
  3. One partner out dancing the other partner.

Footwork: Moving both feet in a rhythmic pattern that looks effortless.  Foot movement should coordinate with upper body movements and turns.  Points will be deducted from couples who:

  1. Fail to execute footwork while dancing.
  2. Move feet in an awkward manner that detracts from the effortless movements that are characteristic of the dance.

Showmanship/Creativity: Showmanship consists of movements, both impromptu and choreographed, that are executed in the context of the dance and present with flair and dramatic presentation.  Showmanship could consist of turns, dips, drops, style body movement and swagger.  Make sure to pay attention to the criteria of each category before integrating showmanship into your dance performance.  Points will be deducted from couples who:

  1. Miss partner cues.
  2. Dance without flair, energy, or creative moves.
  3. Fail to engage the audience in their dance.
  4. Fail to keep their head up while dancing.

Appearance: Couples should be dressed from head to toe in ‘steppers sharp’ attire that is coordinated in color, but custom-tailored suits are not a requirement.  NO JEANS.  Contest apparel should be appropriate, consistent with the rules, and should not detract from the performance by being overly revealing.  Judges should not deduct points from contestants because of differing fashion opinions.  However, distracting apparel will be decided at the judge’s discretion.  Points will be deducted from couples who:

  1. Fail to coordinate their attire.
  2. Have wardrobe malfunctions that don’t violate the rules.

Originality: The foundation of the dance should be Chicago Style Stepping and  all movements should be executed in time within the basic pattern of the dance.  Originality is not creativity and the two should not be confused.  Points will be deducted from couples who:

  1. Deviate from the basic pattern of Stepping and begin executing another dance form (Ex: Swingout, West Coast Swing, etc).  Note:  Routine movements will be accepted, so long as they are executed within the basic pattern and time of the dance.

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Contest March 11, 2017