To test contestants’ dance skills and help strengthen technique, timing and teamwork by giving dancers the opportunity to experience dancing with a partner who cannot see, in the controlled environment of a contest.


Shades, refers to the sun glasses that have been blackened-out to simulate the loss of eyesight.


The Strictly Swing contest is designed to highlight social West Coast Swing dancing skills. The 2 individuals participating as a couple can be regular dance partners, but will dance to music randomly selected by the DJ; music will not be previewed by the competitors.


  • The Strictly Swing contest is limited to ten (10) couples.
  • Participants must be 18 years of age or older, have a basic knowledge of West Coast Swing and be able to execute a starter step, push break, side pass and a whip.
  • Each participant must have either paid the $20 individual admission price for Saturday nights dance, or purchased the two day pass.
  • Movements must be lead-follow (action-reaction) with no choreographed routines. No lifts or drops; Disconnected or solo movements are limited to 8 beats of music; must be 90% recognizable West Coast Swing movements.
  • No costumes or performance attire. Matching and/or dressy dance clothing is encouraged; clothing should be in good taste and suitable for a mixed age audience.
  • A couple consists of one individual dancing as a leader and a second dancing as a follower. Dancers will dance in their chosen roles throughout the contest.
  • Couples will dance in 4 heats; leaders will wear shades in 2 heats and followers will wear shades in 2 heats.
  • Couples will dance to 4 different songs; each song will be between approximately 1 minute 30 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds in length.
  • Shades will be issued to the designated partner and worn over the eyes before the music starts. Peeking from behind, or removing the shades before the music has finished will result in the judges not scoring that couples heat.


The Relative Placement System will be used to judge the Strictly Swing Challenge. Judges will be using the following criteria:

  • Timing– How well contestants move their bodies and work their feet to the syncopated rhythm of the music.
  • Technique– How well contestants execute footwork, show balance during spins & turns, control of arms & hands and smooth body flight.
  • Teamwork– How well contestants partner with each other, by displaying clear lead/follow or action/reaction and connection.
  • Choreography — How well and smoothly contestant’s performed the order of movements and transitions that they select.

Adapted from the World Swing Dance Council (WSDC) and the US Open Competition rules


  • Dancers interested in entering the contest can pre-pay and register in person (with their partners name and contact info) at one of the First Friday Footloose Dances, or by 9:00 PM Saturday October 6th. See First Friday calendar here.
  • Registrations will be accepted on a first come first served basis. We will have two extra couples registered as alternates just in case of no shows.