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Judges take their place at the 2023 Nationals. Photo by Rose-Ann Lynch.

Selection of Judges for Nationals

By Joe Dancer

The full officials panel for the 2024 Nationals has been announced.  

The DanceSport Committee strongly encourage dancers to check it out, and is confident that participants of all styles will be excited by the depth, expertise, and faces of this year’s judging panel.

Our International Adjudicators have almost 30 World Championships between them, and too many National Championships and Finalists to count.  Our Domestic Adjudicators have impressive credentials as well – National Championships and Finalists, World Championships, and coaches to elite schools or champions. 

So how were these judges selected?

Each year, significant efforts are taken to ensure the panel matches the talent our competitors demand. There are several ways the National Organizing Committee works to make that happen each year.  A non-exhaustive list of approaches is below:

  • A Panel Selection Committee: No individual who has a stake in the outcome – as a competitor or potential judge – can be involved or know the potential adjudicators until they are formally selected.
  • Use of Highly Certified Judges: Not just any judge can judge a National Championship.  They must have certifications to prove they understand all styles of ballroom dancing and a body of work as a judge that shows they are among the best in their field.
  • A Whole Lot of Judges: This year’s event has 24 adjudicators. This means that the judging panels can be put together to be deep in experience in each particular style.
  • Eliminating Potential Bias Factors: There are limits on how many judges can come from one area of the country, on lead/follower ratios, and from backgrounds in any one style. This ensures we can have panels that are representative of all perspectives of dance.
    • Addition of International Judges: We work to bring respected adjudicators who our couples may see on panels in the World Championships.
  • Judging Panel Rotation: A reasonable percentage of the panel is rotated so that no one judge is on the Nationals panel for too many consecutive years.
  • A Bonus: Their Body of Work: Where we can, we try to bring in individuals who have backgrounds outside of being a judge we feel are important to represent. This can be as champions, as coaches, or advocates in the dancesport world. For example, this year even our assistant music director is a World Finalist, our Co-Chair is a College professor, and a judge is a highly regarded body movement coach. Additionally, many judges this year have also worked as coaches to elite college teams.


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