Beginners' competitions (when included) are restricted to those who started dancing that style at the start of the current academic year (ie October) or later. This means both halves of the couple. If there are entries from couples who have only started dancing since January, then separate prizes may be given (or an additional Absolute Beginners competition run depending on numbers). Any beginners' competitions are restricted to basic steps as defined by BDC.
All competitions are in non-competitive dress as defined by IVDC.
Open competitions are open to all comers.
Entry fees vary from year to year.
These vary from year to year but will include a number of Open contests in addition to the Inter-College Team Match.
- All competitors in the Team Match must be students or alumni of the University of Cambridge; or (if dancing for the Town) have been members of the CDC for one full term prior to Cuppers of that academic year.
- Any competitor who has never been a member of a college may compete for a Town team which will compete as a college.
- A team consists of four couples, one couple each dancing one of Waltz, Cha-cha, Quickstep and Jive, where all team members represent a single college (or "the town") with the exception of single sex colleges (as covered below). For the purposes of Cuppers, ARU is considered to be a college.
- There is no restriction on same sex couples.
- All competitors in the Team Match who are or were members of a college
must dance for their own college's team only, with the following exceptions:
- Members of (the three) single sex colleges may be partnered by people from any other college who are NOT required for their own college team (either because their college doesn't have a team, or because they were not selected for the team).
- Members of the University with affiliation with more than one college can compete for any of the colleges they are/have been affiliated with.
- In the event that a college has an incomplete team, each couple shall compete in only one dance and the incomplete team will be subject to the same rules and regulations as other complete teams.
- If a college fields one team, it is called the A-team, with subsequent teams being named B-, C-, and D-teams respectively. Each team must be completed before a subsequent team can be formed.
- Existing and former team partnerships may dance together as long as they meet all the criteria above.
Content and Scoring
- The Team Match shall be contested over the Waltz, Cha-cha, Quickstep and Jive.
- Each team shall, where possible, field one couple to compete in each of the four dances, and no team shall field more than one couple per dance.
- No competitor may compete in more than one dance or for more than one team in the Team Match.
- Each of the four dances (Waltz, Cha-cha, Quickstep and Jive) shall be run in that order as a one-dance competition using the BDC Skating System for scrutineering.
- There shall be no step restrictions.
- No competitive dress allowed as per IVDC rules.
- There will be a minimum of three adjudicators for the Team Match.
- The scrutineer, compere and chair of adjudicators will, where possible, seek to include the same number of rounds in each of the four one-dance competitions.
- Each team will receive four points for a couple dancing in the first round of the competition (i.e. for entering a couple into the competition).
- For each subsequent round a couple is recalled to (including the final), they shall score two points for their team.
- In the final, the winning couple shall receive 6 points for their team and the runners-up shall receive 5 points for their team and so on, with the couple finishing in sixth place receiving 1 point. Any couple finishing below sixth in a final shall receive no extra points (above the two they received for making the final round).
- All the points for each team shall then be summed and the team with the highest total shall be declared the Cuppers Champions for that academic year.