Scoring is very commonly misunderstood by competitors and friends and family every year, so we've built this page to help highlight the process we use to place dancers in our competitions.

Scoring is not a process of adding together judges marks and the lowest wins. At World Dance Masters, we use the Relative Placement system for the scoring of our competitions. This Relative Placement Scoring System is a global system used by the majority of dance organisations - including ballroom, swing, and street dance.

Scoring can be quite complicated - especially when the standard of dance is so high as it is at World Dance Masters. Below is a brief overview of how the Relative Placement System works. For a more detailed look, with examples, we recommend taking a look at this fantastic overview produced by the Swing Dance Council.

Scoring Individual Dances

The scoring of individual dances is based on a majority system. In the simplest terms, the dancer with the majority of judges placing them 1st will be given first place. For instance, if there are 9 judges on a panel, the dancer that has been given first place in a dance by 5 judges or more will win the placement. The process is then repeated for the rest of the placements (i.e. majority of 2nds, 3rds, etc.).

In a case where no dance receives a majority of judges placing them 1st, first place will be given to the dancer who has a majority of judges placing them 1st and 2nd. Once first place has been awarded, the process continues for the rest of the placements.

In many occasions, more than one dancer can have a majority of judges placing them under a specific placement. This is when tie-breakers come in.

If there is more than one dancer tied with a majority under a placement, the placement will be awarded to the dancer that has the highest majority. Here's an example:

101 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5
102 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 5, 5

In the above example, neither dancer has a majority of first places, so we look to see who has a majority of 1st and 2nd places. Both have a majority, but 102 has 6 judges placing them 1st or 2nd while 101 only has 5 judges placing them 1st or 2nd. Therefore, 102 will be awarded 1st place as they have a higher majority.

In some cases, dancers can be tied under a majority and have the same number of judges making up that majority. In this case, another tie-breaker takes place, whereby the lowest accumulation of the marks making up majority takes the placements. Here's an example:

103 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5
104 1, 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5

In the above example, both dancers have a majority under 3rd (with 5 judges giving them both 3rd or higher placements). As they have a balanced majority (i.e the number of judges), the placements are added together (103 1+2+2+3+3 = 11 and 104 1+1+2+3+3 = 10). As 104 as the lowest accumulated number, they take the placement.

There is a further tie-breaker after this stage but it is rarer. For an overview, please review the document linked above.

Scoring Overall Placements

Once all the individual dances have been placed, the overall scoring takes place. In this process, the dancers individual places are added together with the lowest winning the division, followed by second lowest, third, etc. Here is an example:

101 1st, 3rd, 4th = (1+3+4) = 8 = 3rd Place Overall
102 3rd, 1st, 3rd = (3+1+3) = 7 = 2nd Place Overall
103 2nd, 2nd, 2nd = (2+2+2) = 6 = 1st Place Overall
104 4th, 4th, 1st = (4+4+1) = 9 = 4th Place Overall

In the above example, we can see that the aggregation of the individual marks for each dancer has helped us place the overall. 103 has been awarded 1st Place as the addition of the three dances is the lowest out of the four competitors. 102 is placed 2nd, 103 placed 3rd, and 104 gets awarded 4th place.

There are multiple tie-breakers that can take place here when aggregated marks are the same. If you are interested in learning more about those, please read the document linked above.

We hope that this page sheds some light onto the scoring process at World Dance Masters.