Rules – World Salsa Championships
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World Salsa Championships Rules

  1. Partnerships in all Showcase Divisions will be designated as one male and one female partner unless specifically designated as a same gender division.
  2. All Professional couples in On1, On2 and Cabaret Divisions will be dancing in a heated format for the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final Rounds. Finalists will be chosen via a “Return” system to determine the Final Round. Only Finalists will perform their choreographed Showcase routines on Saturday night at the Gala and Broadcast Final Night.
  3. All Showcase Routines (Professional) should be no less than 1.5 minutes and no more than 2.5 minutes long. This includes optional entrance and/or exit music.
  4. Music for all divisions must be 80% Salsa music. For approved music see “approved music” section on this website.
  5. Couples will have no more than 20 seconds to get into place for performance. Any choreography prior to the beginning of the music will be counted toward the overall timing of the performance. Likewise, dancers will have a maximum of 20 seconds at the conclusion of their routines to bow and leave the stage.
  6. Props are not allowed.
  7. Cabaret Division: This is an Open Division, meaning all styles of Salsa are accepted. Tricks are allowed. Couples can choose to dance either On1 or On2, but must maintain consistent to that timing for the duration of the routine. Recognized timing for this competition is 1-2-3, 5-6-7. Routines must be 50% recognizable salsa. The remaining 50% can be made up of tricks, flares, dips and side by sides (shines).
  8. “On1” & “On2” Showcase Divisions: One foot must remain on the floor at all times even during tricks. If both feet of either partner leave the floor via the assistance of the other partner, it will be considered a lift and there will be a 10% deduction from the final score. A maximum of 3 tricks/dips or flares are permitted for the routine. A maximum of 4 bars/16 Beats/4 counts of 8 are allowed for continuous turns. More than this will result in a penalty of 10% off of the final score.
  9. Team Divisions: May utilize actual lifts and overheads. The same rules apply to this division as the Cabaret Division. Routines must be 50% Salsa Dancing.
  10. Music for performances to be supplied in CD format to the disc jockey, or designated deck captain, and must be provided no less than 1 hour prior to the start of the competition. Song for the actual performance to be the ONLY song on that CD. CD’s should have the names of the competitors clearly marked on the CD. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in a penalty of 10% off of the final score.
  11. Tricks, Dips, Drops, Leverage Moves and Flares: A trick is defined as any movement that requires the support of the other partner to maintain. This is regardless of whether the feet remain on the floor or not.
  12. Costumes: Costumes are not required, but are highly recommended. All costumes should be in good taste with all private parts covered by non-transparent material.


  • Professional: Defined as a person who receives financial compensation as a Dance Instructor, Performer, Dance Competitor or Dance Adjudicator, and who makes the majority or entirety of their income from these activities.
  • Professional Division: Defined as two Professional dancers performing together to form a partnership, or a group of Professional dancers performing together to form a team.
  • Same Sex or Divisions: Defined as an all Male or all Female Partnership or Team.
  • Showcase Divisions: Defined as a category whereby the partnership or team showcases choreography, and dances to the music of their choice. Showcase divisions mean the competing couple or team will do a solo performance.


  • Just Dance: Defined as dance only. No lifts, tricks, flares or drops permitted whatsoever. This is a lead/follow division, rather than choreographed, designed to show the ability to connect with one’s partner and display timing, musicality and creativity to whatever music is played.
  • Tricks, Dips, Drops, Leverage Moves and Flares: A trick is defined as any movement that requires the support of the other partner to maintain. This is regardless of whether the feet remain on the floor or not.
  • Teams: 6 people or more dancing choreography. Maximum is 20 per team. By definition, a dance team must have a coach (or coaches) and/or belong to a dance academy. No team may compete with less than six (6) on the competition floor at any time.


Scoring of the Showcase Routines will be based upon the following criteria, and will be weighted in the scoring room in the following manner:

  1. 20% Timing: Recognized Salsa Timing is designated for this competition as 1-2-3, 5-6-7. Competitors can choose to break ON 1 or ON 2, but must maintain consistency for the duration of the routine. The direction of the break step can be either to the front or the back, as long as the timing of the break is consistently maintained (either 1 and 5, or 2 and 6). The majority of the routine should show recognizable Salsa Timing.
  2. 15% Musicality: Couples will demonstrate their ability to creatively work with the timing of their individual music. This can be done in a variety of ways, including patterns, footwork, “hits”, tricks, etc.
  3. 15% Technique: Technique is reflected through balance, placement and line. This refers also to general technique for partner dance, where the movement is “grounded”, and there is clarity of proper weight changes from foot to foot. Technique and/or body styling that is specific to Salsa Dance. Movement should appear to be both clear and effortless.
  4. 15% Difficulty: Reflected by difficulty of patterns, turns, intricacy of shine movements, and level of tricks, dips, drops and flares. Examples: The amount of turns done on both double and single foot. How intricate were the shines? In the cabaret division, what was the difficulty of the lift-work? Was it properly executed? How about jumps, kicks, extensions? Any movements requiring exceptional balance, flexibility or strength? In order to get credit for any of these things, the movement must be successfully executed.
  5. 15% Partnering/Connection: This is reflected in the lead/follow aspect of the dance. Are partners truly connected, or are they merely executing choreography while holding hands? Synchronicity during side by sides or shines will also help determine the score in this category.
  6. 10% Choreography: The couple’s interpretation of the music. Good choreography should contain clever turn patterns and shines. All choreography should be musical, and couples should show a good usage of the space itself. Originality is a factor here.
  7. 10% Overall Presentation: You Will Be Judged By Your Overall Presentation. This includes costuming, showmanship, and also good sportsmanship.