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Contact Event Directors Richard & Bonnie Robertson
at (501) 614-9090 or e-mail ribonrober@aol.com

 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If the Arkansas Country Classic is your first country & western dance event (or your first American Country Dance Association Event), we understand that you may have some questions about the dances, format and program. We have assembled this Frequently Asked Questions list to help you enjoy the event even more!

What is American Country Dance Association?
American Country Dance Association is a country and western dance organization comprised of independent dance event directors. These directors hold events similar to the one you are at now in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas. But more than just an organization, American Country Dance Association is a philosophy. It is our belief that country and western dance events should be fun for the participants, well-organized, fair, a good value for your dollar and simple to participate in. We focus on delivering what the country-dance community wants while promoting and preserving country & western dance as an art form.

What kind of dancing do you do? Is it square dancing?
Dancers at American Country Dance Association events can choose to compete in a variety of categories. However, square dancing is not one of the dances we do (however, square dancers might see a few things that occasionally seem familiar!) Our couples compete and social dance in a variety of dances, including the two step, waltz and swing. Line Dancers do the latest line dances, but still love many of the traditional club favorites. Teams can be seen doing a combination of both of the above! Although our couple’s competitors wear western costumes & boots, we don’t square dance in American Country Dance Association competitions.

What are the rules?
The rules to American Country Dance Association range from what the couples can wear to the steps they can do. However, to emphasize the “fun” of dancing, we believe that the rules should be simple and not too restrictive. Basically, they define what is expected of the dancers, the character and patterns of the dances and what the dancers can and cannot do on the dance floor. The rules are only a few pages long and available from any event director or at the official American Country Dance Association website.

What are the dances that couple dancers do?
The couples dance the two step (a fast, sharp dance with a quick-quick-slow-slow step pattern), the waltz, cha cha (with a Latin motion and flair), triple step (a smoother dance that travels around the floor), the snappy, lilting polka, the nightclub two step (a slower couple's dance) and two “flavors” of swing (east coast & west coast). All are based on a six to eight count basic pattern that the couples build a variety of patterns from. When you come to the Arkansas Country Classic, see if you can get a feel for the “character” of the dances and pick your favorite!

What is Pro-Am?
Pro-Am stands for “Pro-Amateur”. It is designed for dance students to showcase their talents by dancing with their dance instructor. Only the amateur dancer is judged, unlike other couples dancers who are judged as a partnership. Pro-Am students do the same dances as other couples do (listed above).

What are the divisions the couples compete in?
Couples competitors (excluding Pro-Am) compete in several divisions. Divisions IV (entry level competition) through I (advanced level competitors) are for any dancers 18 years or older. Several age divisions also exist – Junior (youth & teen, for couples under 18 years old), Bronze (Dancers 40+ years old), Silver (Dancers 50+ years old), Gold (Dancers 60+ years old) and Platinum (Dancers 70+ years old). The “medal” divisions (bronze, silver and gold) are further divided into a regular and novice division. On top of all the divisions is SuperStars and Royal SuperStar – divisions reserved for the “best of the best”. There are currently less than a dozen couples that have reached this honored status in the American Country Dance Association.

Pro-Am couples compete in similar divisions, from Newcomer (for dancers new to competition), through Novice, Intermediate and Advanced (the highest level of Pro-Amateur student dancers). Each of these divisions also has age classifications very similar to those listed above. There is even a category called “Pro-Pro” where instructors can dance with THEIR instructors! American Country Dance Association works hard to ensure that there is a place for everyone in country dance while maintaining a level of quality competition.

What kind of dances do the teams do?
Teams can compete in one of three basic combinations. LINE DANCE teams compete in synchronized, choreographed line dances. COUPLES teams compete as synchronized groups of couples. CABARET teams can use props and stage decorations and often resemble mini-Broadway production numbers! There are also age divisions (youth & senior) and some performances may consist of combinations of the formats above.

How are the dancers judged?
Dancers are judged on their technique (ability to execute the steps and moves cleanly & with precision), style (the way the performance represents the character of the dance and the dancers), content (complexity and combinations of dance patterns) and presentation (costuming and command of the dance floor). Pro-Am students are ranked similar to Olympic medalists, receiving a rating per dance of Gold, Silver, Bronze or Honorable Mention. Some exceptional performances even receive Gold with Honors – the equivalent to the Olympic “10”! Couples competitors, line dancers and teams are judged in comparison to each other (first, second, etc.) per dance in their respective division

This looks like fun and I want to participate! How do I get started?
There are two ways you can start at the Arkansas Country Classic! Pick a workshop and participate… even if you are new to the dance and don’t pick up the entire pattern you will walk away with something. Or, pick one of the instructors or Pro’s that interests you and ask them about scheduling a private lesson. It is not necessary to take professional instruction to learn to dance, but it is unquestionably the easiest and fastest way to learn.

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