TOSHC Rules updated for 2024

Competitors are responsible for adhering to these rules, regardless of whether or not they have read them… SO PLEASE READ THEM.


COMPETITOR’S MEETING – There will be no Competitor’s Meeting.  All competitors must check in with the marshall (the person with the tablet at the side of the main ballroom dance floor) 15 minutes before their division is to compete.  Do not leave the ballroom once you have checked in.  You may want to converse with your fellow competitors, indeed friendliness is encouraged, but it is important to listen to the MC for direction.

Please remain in the ballroom after your preliminary heat for subsequent semi-final or final heats. Competitors not present in the ballroom will be scratched from competition.

ALL COMPETITIONS – Prizes will be awarded in all divisions that have at least 5 leaders and 5 followers. Should any significant changes in the schedule be required, these changes will be announced and clearly posted. The organizers may, at their discretion, cancel or combine any competition for which they feel insufficient entries have been received. If a competition is cancelled, fees for that competition will be refunded.

PETITIONS – To request to compete in a different division than you’re allowed, please fill out the Petition Form and submit it to Registration or 24 hours before your competition.  Please provide a telephone number where you can be contacted in order for us to let you know the committee’s decision after your petition is reviewed.

AGE RESTRICTIONS – Persons under the age of 16 by the close of the event may not enter Jack and Jill competitions. Persons under 16 may enter competitions where partners have previously agreed to dance together, such as Strictly competitions, Pro-Am Strictlies, or Pro-Am Routines.  They may also social dance, perform, and attend workshops and must be under the supervision of an adult at all times.

Masters Competitions may only be entered by persons that are 50 years of age by the close of the event.

Jack & Jill Competitions

Jack & Jill competitions are designed to showcase a competitor’s skills in spontaneous swing dancing and their ability to dance well with a variety of partners.  Competitors enter individually and are randomly assigned to several partners.

Preliminaries – Each dancer will be judged individually as a leader or a follower.

Finals – You will be judged and scored as a couple.

  • For West Coast Swing, you may choose to Lead or Follow regardless of your gender, please refer to the WSDC website for rules regarding participation in more than one division and/or role.
  • For Hustle, you may choose to lead or follow regardless of your gender and may enter different divisions in either role.  You may not enter the same division as both a lead and a follow.
  • Partner selection is luck of the draw.
  • During the preliminaries, couples will be judged in heats and will rotate partners as many times as deemed necessary by the judges.
  • Should there be an imbalance in the number of leaders and followers entered in the contest, some contestants may be required to dance in more than one heat.
  • If semi-finals are required, an announcement will be made regarding the time and number of dancers chosen to advance. Couples will be judged in heats and will rotate partners as many times as deemed necessary by the judges.
  • Contest music and the order in which it is played will be selected by the DJs.
  • Lifts, Breakaways or Routines are not permitted in Jack & Jill competitions.  Drops will be permitted only in Intermediate, Advanced, and Open divisions.
  • This is a Hustle Dance Tour event for Hustle.  See the Hustle Dance Tour page for complete information on the Hustle rules.
  • This is a World Swing Dance Council Registry Event for West Coast Swing.  We will be using the WSDC Jack & Jill Points Registry to determine your division. The registry provides the points resulting from participation in national swing dance competitions.  Please refer to the WSDC Points Registry Rules found on the WSDC website to determine where you should compete.
  • If you have not competed before, you must dance in Newcomer.  After that, you may dance in Novice.  If you have 5 or more Newcomer points or any Novice points, you must dance in Novice.

Strictly Swing and Just Hustle Competitions

Strictly Swing and Just Hustle – you pick your partner, we pick the music.

  • Competitors enter as a couple.
  • All dancing is to be lead/follow.
  • Contest music and the order in which it is played will be selected by the DJ’s.
  • Costumes are prohibited, though coordinating attire is acceptable.
  • All scheduled preliminary competitions may be run as finals if the head judge deems it appropriate.
  • All rounds will be danced in heats.
  • Partners do not have to adhere to Male lead/Female follow roles.
  • For swing, couples must dance the level of their WSDC Qualifications.  If partners are at different levels – they must dance the level of the higher dancer’s division.  For a dancer that has a choice of what division they are dancing in, the division they choose to dance in at the TOSHC J&J determines the division they are allowed in for Strictly.
  • EXCEPTION:  Two teachers dancing Strictly at the same level must compete at the Intermediate level or above, regardless of WSDC points
  • Results in Strictly Swing have no effect on WSDC points.
  • Lifts, Breakaways or Routines are not permitted in Strictly Swing Competitions. Drops will be permitted only in Intermediate, Advanced, and Open divisions.

Rising Star Routines

The Rising Star division at TOSHC is governed by the rules of the Rising Star Tour which may be seen here. 

Pro-Am Routines

Routines will be danced in a spotlight format. Dance order is chosen at random and posted prior to the division start time. Music provided by each couple must be a single track on clearly labelled media at least 2 minutes long and no longer than 3 minutes.

For this contest, Amateurs are defined as someone who does not teach dancing.

A Professional is defined as someone who makes a significant amount of income teaching, competing in or performing dance. Couples entering the Pro-Am divisions must have a prior student/teacher relationship.

  • Swing Routines must include at least 60% recognizable Swing content. Any style of Swing is allowed.
  • Costumes are allowed and encouraged. No props are allowed.
  • Choreographed entrances will be counted towards time limits.
  • Lifts, drops, tricks and stunts are allowed but not required.
  • Break-away should be no more than 8 beats.

General Rules

  • Competitors must purchase the appropriate weekend pass.
  • Competitors must register for each competition by the entry deadline.
  • Competitors must pay the required entry fees.
  • Competitors must sign the appropriate waivers before competing.
  • Competitors must wear assigned numbers on their backs during all competitions.  Leaders should attach their numbers between their shoulder blades and followers should attach their numbers at their lower back. During the Strictly Swing contests, only leaders may wear numbers.
  • Results will be posted for viewing after the awards ceremony.
  • Competitors should wear nice clothing; jeans are not recommended.
  • Competitions that are classified as Open may be entered by any level of dancer from Newcomer to All-Star.

Competitor’s Responsibilities

  • Competitors must demonstrate good sportsmanship, both on and off the competition floor.
  • Competitors should be in the ballroom at least 15 minutes prior to the start of a competition.
  • All Routine music must be provided to the DJ 15 minutes prior to the start of the competition


  • Breakaway – A set of symmetric or complementary movements or footwork executed by a couple who intentionally break contact (except for spins and turns), which is not a clearly leadable derivative of a recognizable swing pattern.
  • Lifts – Any move lasting longer than a full beat of music where the feet of one partner are clearly off the floor and the other partner supports the lifted partner’s weight.
  • Routine – Any segment which, in the opinion of the judges, consists of prearranged choreography (to include symmetric or complementary movements or footwork).
  • Violation – An apparently intentional breach of the rules. Each violation shall be penalized by a drop of one or more positions in the final placement of the competition or disqualification from the event.  Each violation shall be penalized at the discretion of the judge observing the violation.  Examples of violations include, but are not limited to, a lift during a West Coast Swing Jack & Jill competition, the use of an apparent routine during the Strictly Swing competition, or breach of good sportsmanship.
  • Drop – Any move where one partner’s head drops below one’s own standing waistline.
  • Costumes – Attire which, in the opinion of the judges, are specifically designed or selected for couples competition and would not generally be worn for social dancing.
  • Entrance – Pre-choreographed segment of a performance, where competitors formally enter the floor and prepare to dance. Acknowledging your partner, the judges, or the audience is not considered an entrance.
  • Exit – Pre-choreographed segment of a performance, where competitors leave the floor. Acknowledging your partner, the judges, or the audience is not considered an exit.
  • Props – Throw away skirts, shirts, scarves, etc are considered props in this context and are not allowed. Anything other than what would be considered acceptable clothing.