Invigilator Guidelines

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· Watching closed syllabus events to ensure all couples are complying with syllabus restrictions and patterns.

· Informing the responsible professional or amateur couple of any observed syllabus infractions (before penalties must be assessed if possible) and suggesting replacement patterns if necessary.

· Informing the Chairman of Judges of infractions.


1. Familiarize yourself with the NDCA List of Approved Figures, Elements, & Restrictions with the patterns & restrictions at each proficiency level. The list is available

2. Do not be hesitant or embarrassed to invigilate a dance competition! The step list and restrictions have been carefully chosen to level the competitive playing field; help instructors establish a logical progression through fundamental elements of a dance; and define standards of dance appropriate to each level.

3. Get some sleep! You have to be alert to do the job!


1. Bring your reference materials with you, including the NDCA List and any pertinent technique book(s) that you may want to reference.

2. You should get Invigilation forms from the Organizer, Registrar or Chairman just as the Emcee, Music Director and Deck Captain get their paperwork. If you don’t get them, ask the Chairman for them.

3. Examine the Invigilation forms carefully so that you know what couples are dancing what levels in any given heat. Remember that heats often contain couples dancing at many different proficiency levels.

4. As you watch the events, it’s OK to use all your reference materials. The more you read the list, the more you’ll be able to remember the information it contains.

5. Ask questions of the Chairman, the ‘Lead Invigilator’ or any other trusted source. No one person can remember everything.

6. Note infractions on the Invigilation forms. Use as much detail as possible. You will need to be able to give this information, precisely and concisely, to the competitor and the Chairman.

7. Simple mistakes and/or bad dancing are not an invigilator’s concern; these are issues for the judges on the floor to assess as part of placing the couples. Noted infractions must be clear and obvious.

8. Be conscious of and sensitive to floor-craft situations. For example, it is far preferable to see a Top Spin in Bronze International Foxtrot rather than a collision. Watch the couple in another Foxtrot to see if the infraction is repeated.


1. There is no single method that will cover all situations. If the emcee is paging couples/professionals to the stage or to another designated place such as the on deck area make sure you meet them directly. The emcee is usually very busy and on to the next heat. If you are walking around the ballroom to find couples/professionals yourself, take the Invigilation form and the list of allowable elements with you. It is preferable for you to leave the podium and find the professional competitor in order to discuss an infraction. If this is impossible, you may ask the Emcee to page the professional competitor to the podium.

2. Have the Invigilation Form and the List of Allowable Figures, Elements & Restrictions with you when you speak to a competitor so that you can discuss the problems specifically.

3. In all cases, speak to the professional/teacher privately, without students or other professionals near you. This is not an issue for a student to worry about; it is up to the professional/teacher to choose how and when to address the issue with his/her student. It is important not to embarrass the professional/teacher among his/her peers.

4. NEVER speak to children directly when invigilating Preteen, Junior or Youth events. Speak only to their coach if he/she is available. If the professional/teacher is not in attendance, speak to the parents. In this case, it is very helpful to write out the infractions for the parents to give to the professional/teacher.


1. If you do not know the competitor previously, begin by introducing yourself. Be sure to include that you are the Invigilator for this event, and explain what the invigilator does if the person does not know.

2. Address the issue in a light manner, such as "Just a Closed Bronze/Silver/Gold events, X step is not allowed at the level you are dancing."

3. If there are multiple infractions, try to address them all at once, rather than talking to the professional/teacher multiple times.

4. Make a suggestion for replacing the objectionable pattern or timing, if necessary. Most professionals/teachers appreciate an easy solution. For example, if the couple is dancing an Open Hip Twist in Bronze Rumba, suggest they can still start in Open Facing Position, but dance either an open basic (no swivel) to fan, walks, or go straight into a Natural Top. Sometimes the easiest suggestion is to leave out the disallowed figure.

5. Let them know that repeated infractions might cost them a placement or disqualification in that dance in subsequent events, particularly scholarships.

6. If a competitor asks you a question and you don't know the answer, find out. Don't give an answer just for the sake of giving an answer.

7. Thank the professional/teacher for his/her attention to the matter.

8. If the couple is uncontested, you should still speak to the professional/teacher. This should be a learning opportunity.


1. This is relatively rare, but it does happen. Being polite and respectful in your initial interactions will help defuse many potential "situations." Having said that, competitors will argue with the invigilator using language they would never dream of using to a judge.

2. Remain as calm as possible. Try to explain WHY the step is an infraction.

3. Continue to offer potential solutions, rather than becoming confrontational.

4. If you do not know, ask the Chairman and/or ‘Lead Invigilator’.

5. If you are uncomfortable with the interaction, inform the Chairman and have him/her speak to the professional/teacher.


1. Note on the Invigilation form that you have warned the professional by circling the ‘Warning Given’ to indicate that a warning was given, or the ‘Penalty Assessed’ to indicate that a penalty was assessed.

2. Make a note to watch the couple in an upcoming heat to see if the infraction has been addressed.

3. Even an attempt to change or modify an infraction should be recognized. Acknowledgement of their effort will make everyone feel better, and may be as simple as a nod to the teacher/professional.


1. You should not immediately recommend penalties for competitors without giving them a warning and watching to see if they are trying to remediate the infraction, although NDCA rules do allow this.

2. Tell the Chairman about any infractions that you feel should be penalized. Make sure you have documented the infractions and repeat any conversation you had with the professional/teacher. Also, make sure you have seen the infraction repeated with no attempt to correct it, especially in Scholarship/Championship events. Ask the Chairman, whenever possible, to watch the infraction (especially if you have had an unsatisfactory exchange with the professional/teacher and/or the infraction is egregious and/or the infraction gives a distinctly unfair advantage to the couple).

3. If the infraction is egregious or endangers other dancers, NDCA rules do allow you to penalize the competitors without warning.

4. When in doubt ask yourself, “Does the material being used give the couple a competitive advantage?”


1. Sign the Invigilation forms and leave them, complete with infraction notations, for the Chairman, ‘Lead Invigilator’ or the next Invigilator on duty.

2. If another invigilator is relieving you, tell him/her about the specific infractions. The forms with your notations should be left in the invigilator's area. Just as with judging, sign each form along with your judges' letter/number.


· If you do not want to invigilate for any reason, tell the Chairman IMMEDIATELY so you can be replaced.

· At larger competitions, there may be a dedicated invigilator who will need a break or two, but who may be available to help you if necessary. You should take this job as seriously as you take judging.

· Despite what many people think, Invigilators are not the bad guys! The team of a good Invigilator and responsive professionals/teachers will only enhance the positive experience we provide the clients.


Competitors whose figures are determined by the Invigilator (or Chair of Judges) not to be within the prescribed level shall be warned and penalized as follows:

(1) Early round violation - A warning from the Chairman of Judges or the Invigilator.

(2) Subsequent round repeated violation - All recalls or marks for that dance erased.

(3) Final round violation:

(a) Where no previous infraction has been made, marked down one place in that dance.

(b) When a competitor has already been warned and repeats the same infraction in a final round they will be marked down to last place in the dance where the repeated infraction occurred.