Once you’ve sorted out the grading system, you have another set of terms to decode – The age groups. What’s the difference between an Adult and a Masters II competitor? It can be a little confusing, so lets shed some light on the situation. As with many sports, Australian dancesport breaks competitors up into age groups. These age groups have been defined as follows:
Sub-Juvenile: The youngest category, sub-juvenile competitors are aged 9 years and under.
Juvenile: Juvenile competitors are aged 12 and under. Competitors in this age group, as well as the sub-juvenile division, are subject to costume restrictions, so they can focus on skills and take care of their feet.
Junior: Both partners in this category must be younger than 16, and at least one partner must be older than 13. At this point, some dress restrictions are lifted, however, the males still cannot wear tails.
Under 21: As the name implies, both dancers in this category must be younger than 21. Additionally, the oldest must be at least 16 and the youngest not younger than 11. At this point, the dress restrictions are lifted.
Adult:. competitors are eligible to enter the adult field once they turn 16. Unlike the other categories, there is no upper age limit, and so if they so choose, dancers can compete in this level for as long as they feel they can. Winning the Adult Open events is one of the most prestigious milestones a dancer can achieve, so these events are usually fiercely contested. However, that’s not to say that any of the other categories are any less coveted. Which leads us to…
Masters 1. A dancer is eligible for the Masters 1 bracket in the year they turn 35. The younger partner may be as young as 30, as long as one of the partnership has reached 35. As the name implies, competitors in this category may have been competing their whole lives and have mastered many of the technical and artistic skills.
Masters 2. This division begins at 50, with the younger partner eligible at 45 years of age.
Masters 3. The final age bracket, the Masters 3 category is open to anyone aged 60 or above. As with the other Master’s divisions, the younger partner can be 55 or older.