Ballroom Dance Rating System

NOTICE

This rating system has been updated to reflect the rising cost as well as some other factors based on some feedback. The gist of the change involves the weighting factors have been changed and both the value and dancability values have been given an upper limit of 10.  The mean rating of dances is 6.9 with a standard deviation of 1.1 based on the currently active dance pages. In April 2007, the snacks factor was removed due to more and more extreme variability among dances.

I've been trying to come up with a dance rating system that is relatively objective.  There are many subjective aspects to consider that do not lend themselves to easy quantification.   As a result of my somewhat unpleasant experiences with the dances at Mass MoCA, I have hit upon a couple of different rating numbers. This rating formula was revised in March 2006, and again in April 2007.  After the latest revision, the rating systems measures only two things.  The amount of dance and lesson time you get for the price and the freedom to dance unencumbered by other couples. It is NOT an attempt to provide a subjective rating of the pleasure of an "evening out". It is strictly a rating based for the ability to dance.  With a higher rating you will be able to dance more easily for a longer time at a lower cost.  If you are interested in the subjective aspects, look to the description, or send us in your review; it can be added to the guest book.

This rating system does not include such subjective factors as whether the dance features live bands or CD music, whether the music is well planned and varied, if requests are played, the general friendliness of the people who attend, the degree to which they pay attention to dance floor etiquette, how far one has to travel, whether the dance encourages attendance by individuals as well as couples, etc..  Bear all this in mind when you consider the rating. 

One measure is the "value" of a dance - how long you get to dance for what price.  My rating system begins with the concept of how much dance time is available for the price.  Lessons are a nice addition and contribute to the value of the dance for some of us, but I'm assuming that we go to dances to dance.  The majority of lessons that are given with dances I've attended benefit primarily the beginners or novices.  For most of us, the value of the dancing is more.  I've chosen to give a weighting of four to the dance and one for the lessons. Logic dictates that any such rating should go up as the time available is longer and go down as the price goes up.  In other words, the "value" of a dance should be directly proportional to the time available for dancing (and lessons) but inversely proportional to the cost. For my system, a weighted average of the dancing and lesson times is divided by the cost plus a "leveling" factor (and multiplied by a scaling factor).   It is not possible to rate a dinner dance because of the variation in services and cost.  The resulting value rating numbers range from a low of 4.9 to a high of 9.5 with a maximum of 10. A bigger number is a better value.  The actual formula is:

Value = scale.factor ( 2 lesson.time + 3 dance.time)/(leveling.factor + price)

. I've chosen 11 as the scaling factor and 8 as the leveling factor.

Another rating measure is the "dancability" of a dance - how much space there is to dance in for the people who are dancing.  This rating criteria is based upon how "un-crowded" the dance floor is.  To compute this rating I divide the area by the "popularity" (average attendance). This is the amount of space or area for one person.  Multiply that by 2 and you get the area available for one couple.  From this figure I then compute the average distance between couples. The resulting number is the size of the space between couples - how much room you have to move into. The actual formula for this factor is:

sqrt( 2 ( 2 / sqrt( 3 ) ) area  / attendance ) - 2.

The first 2 is for two people to a couple, ( 2 / sqrt( 3 ) ) adjusts for the fact that more people can fit in the same area if they stagger rows, and, of course, taking the square root converts from area to distance. The final -2 accounts for the approximate diameter of a couple. (I measured my wife and myself together.)  With couples in closed dance position, this number is exactly the average space between couples.  However, neither factor is allowed to exceed 10, so as to keep the result in the 1 to 10 scale.

The higher the number the better the rating. Larger numbers are better for Quickstep and Tango; smaller numbers are acceptable for Latin or spot dances.  This measure does not take into consideration the fact that not everybody dances every dance.  The percentage of people that sit out a dance varies with the kind of dance music as well as the character of attendees.  Waltzes, Fox Trot, Cha-Cha, and Swing are quite popular at most ballroom dances.  The popularity of Hustle and Salsa varies with the local.  Quickstep is much less well known, and there's generally a much larger percentage of people who watch rather than participate - as a result, it tends to be featured much less or not at all in many places.  In some places, patrons will do swing to a quickstep and will prevent quickstep aficionados from dancing by blocking the lanes.  If you dance the Paso Doble, chances are you'll have the dance floor to yourselves in some areas (provided you can get the host to play one).  Consequently, this rating number represents an overall measure of how un-crowded the dance conditions are at worst case - with everybody dancing.  This number can also be exaggerated when the dance sponsors under-report attendance figures. 

To obtain an overall rating, I use the geometric mean of the value and space.  The geometric means prevents the final rating from being dominated by an extreme value.  If the space figure is not available, the rating uses a default value of 5.

The big "subjective" advantage of this rating system is that the results come out approximately on a 1 to 10 scale.

Here is the list of rated dances on this site.
(Not all are still active.)

"[But] don't forget the quality, diversity, plays requests, and overall comfort level of the other dancers and politeness of other dancers in your rating system - sometimes cold numbers just don't do it." -- Doug

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Adams MA Quintessential Dance Learn to Dance Practice Dances 1 1.5 $7 4.8 1600 30 9.1 6.6
Chicopee MA Saturday Ballroom Dancing at the Elks Lodge 0 4.5 $9 8.7 ??? 100 ??? 6.6
Chicopee MA Widows & Widowers dance club 0 3 $8 6.2 1600 55 6.2 6.2
Hadley MA Latin Dance at the American Legion 0 3.75 $7 8.2 1200 50 5.4 6.7
Lenox MA Quintessential Dance Learn to Dance Practice Dances 1 1.5 $10 4.0 256 8 6.6 5.1
Ludlow MA Gremio-Lusitano Club Ludlow Ballroom Dance 0 3 $12 5.0 ??? 75 ??? 5.0
Northampton MA Dance Northampton Saturday Studio Dance 0 3.5 $5 8.9 2000 60 6.8 7.8
Northampton MA Second Sunday Country Club Ballroom Dance 1 3 $10 6.7 1000 65 4.0 5.2
Pittsfield MA First Saturday Rockefeller Ballroom Dances 0.75 2.25 $15 3.9 3200 50 10.0 6.2
Pittsfield MA USA Dance Chapter Dances 0.75 4.25 $13 7.5 3200 100 6.6 7.0
Westfield MA Dancing at the Bistro Music Hall 0.5 2 $10 4.3 ??? ??? ??? 4.6
Albany NY Albany Hot Spots Latin Night 0 5 $5 10.0 350 80 1.2 3.4
Albany NY Danceland Ballroom Dances 0 3 $12 5.0 ??? ??? ??? 5.0
Albany NY West Coast Swing Dancing at the Hibernian Hall 0 3 $7 6.6 ??? ??? ??? 5.7
Albany NY First Friday Argentine Tango Paz y Amor Milonga 0 3.5 $15 Dinner* 2600 ??? ??? Dinner*
Albany NY Albany Hot Spots Salsa Night 0 5 $5 10.0 350 80 1.2 3.4
Albany NY SOS Community Ballroom Dances 0.5 3.25 $10 6.6 1875 100 4.6 5.5
Albany NY Loraine Michaels Ballroom Latin and Swing Dances 0.67 2.33 $5 7.0 2118 66 6.6 6.8
Albany NY Brian Sipe and Bob Englert Saturday Dance Parties 0.75 3.5 $10 7.3 ??? ??? ??? 6.0
Albany NY USA Dance Chapter Dances 0.75 3 $12 5.8 1875 80 5.4 5.6
Albany NY LAllegro Dance Club Ballroom dance 1 4 $13 7.3 ??? 144 ??? 6.0
Albany NY Capital Swing Dance 1 3.5 $4 10.0 ??? ??? ??? 7.1
Averill Park NY Crystal Cove Ballroom Dance 0.75 3.25 $25 Dinner* 2400 80 6.3 Dinner*
Chatham NY PS 21 Friday Swing Dances 0.5 2 $10 4.3 768 55 3.7 4.0
Clifton Park NY YMCA Friday Night Ballroom Dance 0 2 $7 4.4 ??? ??? ??? 4.7
Clifton Park NY Shen Senior Center Second Saturday Dances 0 3 $8 6.2 2367 40 9.7 7.8
Clifton Park NY Shen Senior Center Last Sunday Dances 0 3 $5 7.6 2367 40 9.7 8.6
Cohoes NY Sunday Ballroom Dances 0.75 3.5 $10 7.3 2600 70 7.3 7.3
Cohoes NY Thursday Ballroom Dances 1 2.75 $10 6.3 2600 55 8.4 7.3
Cohoes NY Wednesday Night California Mix Dances 1 3.25 $10 7.2 780 45 4.3 5.6
Colonie NY Albany Ballroom Social Dance Studio Dances 0 3 $10 5.5 1500 70 5.0 5.3
Glens Falls NY USA Dance Chapter Dance 1 2.5 $12 5.2 3200 50 10.0 7.2
Latham NY Tuesday Practice Dances at Ballroom on Sunset 0 2 $10 3.7 3150 20 10.0 6.1
Latham NY First Sunday dances at Ballroom on Sunset 0.75 3 $10 6.4 3150 95 6.8 6.6
Latham NY First and Third Friday dances at Ballroom on Sunset 0.75 2.5 $10 5.5 3150 50 10.0 7.4
Latham NY Second Fourth and Fifth Friday dances at Ballroom on Sunset 0.75 2.25 $10 5.0 3150 50 10.0 7.1
Latham NY Second Sunday Dances at Ballroom on Sunset 0.75 3 $10 6.4 3150 50 10.0 8.0
Menands NY Albany-Tula Alliance Benefit Dance 0 5.5 $100 Dinner* 1000 100 2.8 Dinner*
Queensbury NY USA Dance chapter Dance 0 3 $12 5.0 11250 40 10.0 7.1
Saratoga Springs NY Wednesday Night Dance 0 4.5 $5 10.0 1500 30 8.7 9.4
Saratoga Springs NY Third Saturday Big-band Dance 0.5 3.5 $15 5.5 11000 200 9.3 7.1
Schenectady NY Eileen Spadaro Saturday Ballroom Dance 0 3 $5 7.6 1855 35 9.1 8.3
Brattleboro VT Friday Latin or Ballroom Dance 0 1.5 $5 3.8 1250 36 7.0 5.1
Brattleboro VT Third Saturday Dance at the Stone Church 1 3 $10 6.7 1250 16 10.0 8.2

Compute your own dance ratings

time for lessons
(1/2 hour = .5)
time for dancing
not including lessons
price of
admission
computed
value
dancable area
not including seating
average number
of attendees
Computed dancability
distance between couples
overall
rating

This page was updated by Ralph Kenyon on 2009/08/29 at 10:22 and has been accessed 22095 times at 298 hits per month.