What Judges look for? (3'Ts + PD)

Judging Jack and Jill competitions is a skill that needs to be developed to ensure judging is done accurately, consistently, and fairly.

Judging is never intended to punish a competitor for weaker skills. Rather, the spirit is to recognize competence in the different categories explained in this training, for the purpose of supporting and growing a strong, healthy Zouk community.

With this in mind, the Brazilian Zouk Dance Council recognizes five distinct areas for judging. These include the Three T’s, plus a few additional categories. The Three T’s are:

  1. Timing (20%);
  2. Technique (40%); and,
  3. Teamwork (20%).

In addition, judges will also consider:

  1. Presentation (10%); and,
  2. Difficulty (10%).


Timing includes:

  • Dancing on-time
  • Musicality
  • Musical interpretation (how the dancer hears and applies the song)

Beyond the basic 20% of the score allotted for timing, BZDC recognizes that timing also affects the judging of all other categories. Therefore, judges might also be lowering scores for technique, teamwork, difficulty, and showmanship when elements in those categories are not danced on time.


Dancing on-time:

Brazilian Zouk can be danced to any 4/4 time signature music. The pulse is on the downbeat (1, 3, 5, 7), when counting the 8 beats in 2 measures (dancers count). BZDC competitors must accent the downbeat (“Pulsing” the up beat constitutes an error in timing). Competitors are permitted to dance Lambada movements as long as they have the pulse on the downbeat.



Musicality includes phrasing, measuring movements, and the appropriate use of breaks. This category moves beyond basic on-time dancing, and includes syncopations, speed changes, and strategically using movements to “hit” or demonstrate certain elements of the music.


Musical Interpretation;

Musical interpretation is how the dancer hears the song. BZDC recognizes that every dancer hears music differently, and therefore does not judge competitors down for having a different interpretation of the music, provided that the competitor is on time and displaying appropriate musicality.


Technique (Execution):

Competitors begin the dance with a 0% score for technique. Judges add to the score as the competitors display appropriate technique. Keep in mind that poor teamwork and timing should reduce the amount of credit given for technique, as this is considered improper technique.

Technique can be divided into two types: Individual and Partnership.


Teamwork (connection):

Competitors begin the dance with 20% score for Teamwork. Connection is judged the same way at all levels. Teamwork is divided into three components:

  1. Partnership technique (Partner centering | connection | lead/follow)
  2. Partner communication (Compatible musical interpretation | partner awareness)
  3. Partner compatibility (Compatible musical interpretation | adjusting personal styles to compliment the partnership | adjusting to a partner’s limitations or strengths)



Competitors begin the dance with 0% score for difficulty. Difficulty refers to the level of technical or musical difficulty in the dance.

Judges will give credit to the added level of difficulty when competitors dance wearing high heels. Judges will deduct points if the use of high heels impact the competitor technique, timing, and/or teamwork.


Presentation (Showmanship)

Presentation is a competitor’s ability to entertain, excite, and inspire an audience. Competitors begin the dance with a 0% score for presentation.

Presentation will be judge on the following criteria:

  1. Polish (The “Look”)
  2. Entertainment Value
  3. Stage Orientation and Floorcraft
Basic elements and Zouk content

In judging Individual and Partnership technique, judges will make sure that the concepts are applied to Brazilian Zouk technique. For example, competitors should demonstrate:

  1. Brazilian Zouk foundational movements, including Basic, Lateral, Simple turns, Soltinho, Lunges, Elastic with contraction, Bonus or boomerang, and Io – Io(and variations on these basics, according to level).
  2. Proper use of head movements and cambres (according to competitor’s level)
  3. Proper use of body waves, isolations, and other body manipulations (according to competitor’s level)
  4. Proper use of pre-movement and preparations (according to competitor’s level).


In assessing all categories, judges will judge whether a competitor does the following:

  1. Uses variety and contrast:
  2. Variety of variations, patterns, or aesthetics
  3. Variety of accepted rhythms and syncopations, including contrast of smooth and sharp or fast to slow.
  4. Creates a strong opening and ending
  5. A definitive start and a strong finish to the dance. Need not be a travelling or complex entrance or exit. The start and end of the dance should fit the music (for example, sharp or smooth; still or travelling)
  6. Maintains continuity (Harmonious flow from one pattern to another)
  7. Uses Brazilian Zouk movements

Judges are able to differentiate between Zouk and other dances, as well as a various accepted styles of Zouk.

  1. All styles of Zouk are accepted (for example, Neo, Flow, Tradicional, Lamba), as long as they are danced with the accepted timing outlined above.
Please read the rules, policies and guide to competitors bellow