Help – i’m a newbie

So… did you get to this page but you have no idea what an “ETDS” is? ETDS stands for European Tournament for Dancing Students. It is a biannual event for ballroom dancers from all over Europe, and the next edition is during the Whitsun weekend of 2023 in Amsterdam.

During the weekend, there will be a dancing tournament, dancing parties, opportunities to socialize, shows, and much more. Participants will stay at the same venue for the entire weekend (if they wish so) where they will dance, eat and sleep.

Now you know what the weekend is about, but you probably have many questions if this is your first time joining an ETDS. This page is made especially for newbies and will hopefully answer most of the questions you have. If you can’t find your answer below, you can check the FAQ. If you can’t find your answer there either, please contact your team captain. 

BEFORE THE ETDS

Every competing team has one or two team captains. These people are the contact points between the organization of the ETDS and participants like you. They enthuse people to participate in the ETDS, they make sure registrations go smoothly, they provide information about the weekend to participants etc. If you don’t know who your team captain is, you can ask one of your teammates and they will point you in the right direction. If you don’t have/know any team mates or if you don’t have a team captain, you can contact us via etdsamsterdam@gmail.com.
Registrations and payments go through the team captains. In most cases, they will send you an email with a registration form that you can fill in, and they’ll make sure you’re signed up. Please keep an eye on your email when your team captain registered you, because you’ll need to accept the privacy statement to confirm your registration. If you have questions about this, please ask your team captain.
Unfortunately not. In most editions, there are a bit more people that want to participate than there are spots. Participant selection is done via raffle rounds, about which you can find more information here. If this is your first time registering for an ETDS, you do have a higher chance to get in than people who have participated before. After registration, your team captain will let you know if you got in or not.
As soon as the exact price for participants is decided, you can find it here. It will probably be somewhere between €80 and €120 (the final price may vary and may be more than €120). Costs for students will be lower than for non-students. This price includes everything, i.e. a sleeping spot from Friday until Monday, a midnight snack on Friday, three meals per day on Saturday and Sunday, breakfast on Monday, participating in the competitions on Saturday and Sunday, and entrance to the parties on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening.

If this price is too high for you, you can consider registering as a super-volunteer. In short, this is a person who volunteers during the whole weekend instead of joining the competition (think of: bartending, checking badges, helping with the catering, being a first aid person (if you are certified for that), etc.). They get free admission during the entire weekend (including food and a sleeping spot), but they can’t join the competition. They can, however, socialize with and cheer on your teammates that do join the competition, of course. Lastly, they can join the parties in the evening for free, if their volunteering shifts allow this.
No problem! Many people register without a partner. On Friday night (and even shortly on Saturday night), everyone who doesn’t have a partner yet gets the chance to find one. There will be multiple speed-dating-dancing rounds in which you can dance with a lot of people. If you find someone that you would like to participate one (or both) disciplines with – and that feeling is mutual you can sign up at the registration desk. The process of finding a partner during the weekend is called blind dating, and more information can be found here.

If you want, you can have a different partner for standard and for latin. You can also register with a partner for standard and find a partner during the weekend for latin or vice versa. For people who dance competitions at a certain level, blind dating may be mandatory. More information about this can be found here.

In general, you don’t need to worry about blind dating. It’s a fun experience, you get to meet loads of people that also love dancing and your team captain and team mates can help you find a great dance partner if you want.
You can always cancel your registration through your team captain. However, if you can get your money back depends on a number of factors. For more information, see our registration policy.
Of course you can! If you just started dancing, you will participate in the Breitensport class. At the beginning of the competition, there will be a qualification round that divides all Breitensport dancers in groups of approximately equal level. In the rest of the competition, you will only compete against couples that were placed in the same group. We will award prices for the best couples in every group. In other words, you don’t have to be the best dancer to have a chance at winning a prize!

If you just started dancing, you will probably only have to dance slow waltz, tango and quickstep for standard, and cha cha, rumba and jive for latin. If you have time to practice before the ETDS, you can focus on those six dances. On this page, you can find what dances you have to dance based on your class.
Yes you can, in two ways! Instead of registering to the ETDS, you can buy a night admission ticket for Friday and/or Saturday and/or Sunday evening. These tickets can be bought upon entrance, so you don’t have to reserve anything in advance. As soon as the exact price for a night admission ticket is decided, you can find it here. It will probably be somewhere between €5 and €20 per evening (the final price may vary).

You can find the program of the weekend, including the start times of the parties and the themes of the parties in the ‘program’ section. Keep in mind that on Friday (and also a bit on Saturday), there will be times at which the dance floor is only available to blind daters.

Lastly, keep in mind that you cannot get a sleeping spot at the venue if you buy a night admission ticket, so make sure you are still able to get home or have another place to stay. If you only want to join a party on one of the evenings, we advise you to come Saturday or Sunday, since on Friday there is a lot of blind dating going on, and most people go to bed reasonably early to be fit and awake for the competition Saturday.

The second option to only join the parties and not the competition is to register as a super-volunteer. In short, this is a person who volunteers during the whole weekend instead of joining the competition (think of: bartending, checking badges, helping with the catering, being a first aid person (if you are certified for that), etc.). They get free admission during the entire weekend (including food and a sleeping spot), but they can’t join the competition. They can, however, socialize with and cheer on your teammates that do join the competition, of course. Lastly, they can join the parties in the evening for free, if their volunteering shifts allow this.
Yes, they can! You can buy a day admission ticket (for watching the competition) and/or a night admission ticket (for joining the party) at the venue. These tickets can be bought upon entrance, so you don’t have to reserve anything in advance. As soon as the exact price for these tickets is decided, you can find them here. Day admission tickets can be bought for Saturday and/or Sunday. Night admission tickets can be bought for Friday, Saturday or Sunday evening.

For more information about the parties, see “Can I also just join the parties and not the competition?”. For the people that want to come and watch the competition: here you can find the competition program per day. Look at “What does the weekend look like” to see what you can expect during the day.
You are right! The theme of this ETDS is: black light district. There will be theme decorations and a theme party on Saturday, in which we would like you to dress up in a theme outfit. Most of the time, the teams find a subtheme and will discuss outfits and decorations amongst themselves, so if you’re part of a team, perhaps you can align with your teammates. If you’re not part of a team, you can think of something theme-related yourself.

The party on Sunday will be a gala themed, so please take your most danceable glamorous outfit with you as well.

PREPARING FOR THE ETDS

Here, you can find a packing list that should cover everything you need for the weekend.
At the ETDS, real dancing competition clothing is not allowed. This means: no tail suits, no feathers, no glitters, and enough coverage on your breasts, bum and belly. Clear rules on what is and is not allowed can be found here. Most importantly, you should wear something you feel good in and that you can comfortably dance in (i.e. does not restrict your movement).

For the ladies:

You can wear a simple dress or skirt. Make sure it’s not too long so you don’t step on your skirt during dancing. Take something that covers breasts, belly and bum. Wear short pants underneath your skirt if you are not sure everything is covered while moving. If you wear dancing shoes, heel protectors are mandatory. Ask your team captain or your teammates if you are not sure where to get those. We would advise wearing dancing shoes, but you can also wear other (not too high and danceable) heels or flat shoes. Just make sure not to wear sneakers. Ask your team captain or teammates for advice if you’re unsure about your outfit.

For the men:

We advise you not to wear jackets. They have shoulder pads that look very ugly when keeping your arms up. Wearing a vest (waistcoat) and a button down shirt is recommended. Moreover, choose trousers in which you can move freely. Dancing shoes are recommended, however dress shoes are possible too. Just make sure not to wear sneakers. Ask your team captain or team mates for advice if you’re unsure about your outfit.
The next ETDS will be from Friday evening 26th of May until Monday morning 29th of May 2023 in Amsterdam. The exact address of the venue is:

USC Sportcentrum Universum

Science Park 306, 1098XH Amsterdam

Netherlands

You can go to the venue by train (8 min walk from the nearest train station Amsterdam Science Park) or by car. We will provide more information about parking locations and parking costs here.
The food that is included is:
  • A snack on Friday
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday & Sunday
  • Breakfast on Monday
The exact menu will be on our website as soon as this is decided.

During most of the day, free coffee, tea and water will be provided. There is also a bar where you can buy other drinks at a fair price. You can also bring your own drinks and snacks if you wish.

If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, you can indicate this during registering with your team captain and we will make sure there is something to eat for you. (don’t worry: the catering and the committee have first-hand experience with allergies and cross-contamination). If you are worried that we will not be able to cater your dietary needs, you can send us an email via etdsamsterdam@gmail.com.

Allergies and dietary restrictions have to be mentioned during registration, otherwise we will not be able to take your wishes into account.

DURING THE ETDS (COMPETITION)

The dances you have to dance differ per class in which you participate. You can find information about this in the dances tab.
After the first round of your class, some couples are immediately placed through to the second round. The rest have to dance again in a so-called redance. This gives the judges a second chance to take a closer look. Don’t worry if you are in the redance, you still have all the chances of getting into the final!

From the redance, again a number of couples are selected for the second round. For the rest, the competition sadly ends. However, this means that everybody dances at least 3 rounds.

All couples in the second round will have to dance again. Every intermediate round, some couples are placed through and some are eliminated. This continues until 6 couples remain in the final.

All couples that were in the semi-final are called to the entrance of the floor at the start of the final. Then one by one, the finalists are called onto the floor. Together they will dance the final round. After all finals, the prize presentation will start in which the finalists will hear the results.
Points can be scored per dance in every round, and rounds consist of 3 to 5 dances (depending on your class and the round you’re in, see here). Several jury members will stand around the dance floor with a phone in their hands. If they see a couple that they think should go through to the next round, they will put a cross on their phone next to the couple’s number (the leader of every couple has a paper with the couple’s number pinned on their back). The couples that have the most crosses in total per round will be placed through to the next round.

In the finals, things are a bit different. Usually, finals are danced with about six couples. During the final round, the jury members will give every couple a ranking from 1 to 6 per dance. After the final round, these rankings will be converted to points. During the prize presentation the finalist will hear their results.

The jury will mostly give points based on your technique and if you are dancing in rhythm, but also on appearance, show, and how you look when getting on and off the dancefloor.
There are two classes in which you can participate. The first is breitensport class, in which most dancers will participate. The second is the open class, in which only people with a certain competition level can participate. If this is your first time joining an ETDS and you don’t have (a lot of) competition experience, you will participate in the breitensport class. If you are in doubt about what class you should be in, you can look it up here.

All dancers in breitensport class start the competition with a qualification round. In this round, all breitensport dancers will be categorized into six subclasses by the judges, namely (in order of increasing level):

Enthusiasts

Amateurs

Professionals

Masters

Champions

Legends



After your qualification round, the presenter will announce which couples made it into which subclass (and the information will be available in the xtds portal). From that moment on, you will only compete against couples that are in the same subclass as you are.
If you get to the finals of your class, you can win a medal or a prize cup, but having fun is much more important than winning! Your team can also win a prize (this has to do with how well you and your teammates perform, how many first-time participants there are, how many volunteering helping hours the team did in total etc.). More information about this can be found here.
Aaah, that’s a difficult one. All judges have their specific things which they pay attention to. They give points based on your technique and if you are dancing in rhythm, but also on appearance, show, and how you look when getting on and off the dancefloor.
Don’t think too hard about technique on the floor, then it’s too late already

Your round starts the moment you walk onto the floor, not when the first music plays. Similarly, your round only ends the moment you walk off the floor, not when the music ends.

You are dancing for yourself and for the audience in the first place. Judges come second. So show you’re having fun!

If everybody around you is clearly clapping in a different rhythm than in which you are dancing, you’re likely out of rhythm. So: stop, take a deep breath, and try again. There’s no harm in that!

Most importantly: have fun! Judges will like you better if they see you’re having fun.

DURING THE ETDS (OTHER INFORMATION)

In general, your weekend will look as described below. However, some people choose to deviate from the general planning (by, for example, arriving on Saturday or leaving on Sunday, sleeping at home, dancing only one day of the competition, etc.). Make sure you notify your team captain about your plans for arriving later or leaving early, because they have to arrange a lot for the participants.

You arrive on Friday evening. First, you have to stand in line at the registration desk to get a badge that allows you to enter the venue. Then you will drop your stuff in the sleeping halls, and maybe even put up your air mattress and sleeping bag already. You can also get changed, or not, after which you will go to the tournament hall.

In the tournament hall, there is a very big dance floor and a lot of tables around it. Every team gets a place at one of the tables, so you can find your table and socialize with your teammates. If you don’t have a dance partner yet for either standard or latin, there will be the possibility to find one through blind dating. After the blind dating, there is a social dancing night in which you can dance with whomever you like. At some point in the evening, you will get a snack that will give you the fuel to keep dancing for many hours if that’s what you want. You can also go to bed reasonably early to be fit for the competitions on Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday you will start with breakfast and getting yourself ready for the competition (i.e. doing your hair, doing make-up, finding your dance partner etc.). You will be dancing your standard tournament on this day (only if you’re in Breitensport class, which you are if you are a beginner. If you’re in Open class, you will dance latin on Saturday. For more information on classes, look at ‘classes’ in the Tournament section). The competition starts with a classification round (only for Breitensport), in which all couples will be divided into groups of approximately equal level. After this, you will compete against couples that are in the same group. After every round, the presenter of the day announces what couples go through to the next round. In the afternoon, there are finals for every group, in which about six couples per group participate. Even if you are out of the tournament, it’s a lot of fun to stay and watch, socialize and cheer on your teammates. Prices will be rewarded in the evening or afternoon, either before or after dinner.

In between competition rounds in the morning, there is a moment in which every team can introduce themselves, so you can see which cities and countries are participating in the competition.

After the tournament, there is dinner and you have some time to freshen up. Then it is time to party! The Saturday evening party is a theme party with the theme: black light district. Everyone dresses up, so we hope you do as well! For the rest of the evening, you can dance with whomever you like. The party will be interrupted for a bit because of blind dating (for the people that did not find a partner for the Sunday competition on Friday evening), and for a mystery show, but besides that you can dance the whole night. Sunday is quite the same as Saturday. You will dance latin this day (unless you are in Open class, in which case you will dance standard) and the theme of the party in the evening is: gala. We hope you bring your gala outfit (but make sure it is comfortable to dance in). This party will not be interrupted for blind dating or a show, but we will thank everyone who helped realize this ETDS.

After waking up on Monday, you will start by packing up your stuff. Afterwards, you go get breakfast and you get a chance to say goodbye to all your (new) friends. We ask everyone to stay for a bit to help clearing up the dance hall (i.e. putting away tables and taking out the trash). Then everyone goes back to their homes with many great new memories, and you can already start looking forward to the next ETDS, which will be around October 2023. The date, location and theme of the next ETDS will be revealed on Sunday evening.

Some time after the weekend, we will put up some photos that were taken by (professional) photographers during the weekend, so you can look back on these memories for years to come.
To keep the costs of the weekend as low as possible, every participant is required to do a few hour-long helping hours during the weekend (think of: bartending, checking badges, helping with catering etc.). For people who have participated before, these helping hours are mandatory. Division of these helping hours goes through the team captain. If this is your first time participating in an ETDS, helping hours are not mandatory, but we would really appreciate it if you still want to help out! In this case, you can ask your team captain to assign you some helping hours.

Do you want to help out more? Great! Ask your team captain to help you set this up. We greatly appreciate everyone who helps out voluntarily!
If you sleep at the venue, you will bring your own air mattress and sleeping bag and you will sleep in one of the big sports halls of the building, together with all other participants. Every team has their own area, so you are sure to have a spot with people you know. This sleeping hall is just a few meters away from the tournament hall where the tournament and the dance parties are, so you can roll right into bed after the party.

Some people, however, choose to sleep somewhere else. If you live in or close to Amsterdam you could choose to sleep at home. You could also book a hotel room (at your own costs of course) if that’s what you prefer. The costs for registration will not be reduced if you don’t sleep at the venue.

Wherever you choose to sleep, make sure you let your team captain know. For safety reasons, it is important for us to know how many people are sleeping at the venue, as well as we might be able to let more people participate when we have more sleeping spots available.

Other questions

I have another question. How can I reach you?

If you can’t find the answer to your question on the website, please look at the FAQ page first. If your question still isn’t answered, please contact your team captain. If they don’t know the answer either they can email us directly and they will get back to you. This way, you can help prevent that we drown in emails. If you don’t have a team captain, you can contact us directly with your question