No, we're not talking Olympics! Ballroom dancing classes and competitions are often broken up into bronze, silver and gold categories. Learn what they mean!
Ballroom dancers come in all shapes, sizes and ability levels. While some are professional, executing highly complicated and difficult choreography with grace and style, others are content to learn a few steps to get them around the dance floor at the Saturday night dance. There are many levels in between each extreme, and the bronze, silver and gold designations help to put some order to it all.
Bronze, silver and gold levels of ballroom dancing each have their own syllabus of steps, goal for the dancer and difficulty level. Learning what they mean help the dancer know where they belong based on their skill level. Many ballroom dancing group classes are grouped by these designations.
Bronze Level Ballroom Dancing
Bronze level is the most basic level of ballroom dancing, and this is where all new students should start. The goal of this level is to teach the dancer good balance, rhythm and how to move their body. They learn how to dance with a partner and work as a team.
In American Style ballroom dances like Waltz and Foxtrot, there is very little “continuity”, which is where the dancers pass their feet and flow into the next step. Instead, they end most patterns by bringing their feet together. The patterns in bronze level tend to be fairly simple, although they increase in complexity and difficulty as the dancer moves from beginning bronze to intermediate bronze and then to full bronze.
Silver Level Ballroom Dancing
When the dancer has mastered the basics of bronze level, they are usually ready to move on into silver. This is when ballroom dancing really gets fun—the steps flow more gracefully from one to the next, and the dancer learns to make bigger movements with more turns and arm styling. They are expected to use good technique, balance, partnering skills and do it all with flair.
While the beginning silver steps are more difficult than bronze, they are still fairly easy and most dancers can execute them with varying levels of success. For example, bronze level dancers often add silver steps to their repertoire, but they do not execute them as well as they should. As one moves up the syllabus toward full silver, the patterns become much more demanding.
Gold Level Ballroom Dancing
Gold level is the highest level that the syllabus goes to. Dancers at this level have even better balance and perform even more difficult patterns than silver level dancers. At this level, it becomes very apparent if the dancer has not established a good foundation in their dancing, because they are unable to perform many of the steps at all, let alone well.
Open Level Ballroom Dancing
“Open” in a ballroom competition means that the performed steps do not have to adhere to any syllabus. Choreographers for these events are able to either modify syllabus patterns or make up their own. Dancers who do open level choreography should have a firm grasp of all of the syllabus requirements. This allows for a lot of creativity and fun.
By starting at the bronze ballroom dancing level and moving up through gold, a dancer gets a good foundation in technique, balance and partnering skills.