What Are RSOBHD Dancer Cards?

What are RSOBHD Dancer Cards?

Dancer registration cards are the essential key to exploring the world of Highland dance competitions – so how do they work?

As we’ve explored in our previous posts, the Royal Scottish Official Board of Highland Dance (RSOBHD) oversees a global registration system which allows dancers to progress through different competitive categories based on their results. 

Want to learn more about the RSOBHD?

Check out our previous posts to get the full picture of how the dance world works!

Please note that this post describes how the process of registering for this system in Canada, and the process may vary in other countries.

Getting a Dance Card

Dancers must register on an annual basis with the RSOBHD to get their dancer card. 

Dance card applications are submitted to your provincial registrar (a volunteer position on your provincial affiliate organisation) so they can make your dance card. Your teacher will send you the form and help you with this process!

Your dance card is required at every dance competition. Competition organisers will check to ensure that your dance card is valid for that calendar year when you register. 

Let’s review how the cards work for each competitive category!

Primary

Primary is designed to introduce the youngest dancers (under age 7) to competitive dance. Once dancers reach age 7, they are moved up to the Beginner category. 

A primary age dancer can choose to compete in a higher category before turning 7, but must stay in that category (i.e.: no switching between Beginner and Primary). 

In primary, dancers compete with the following dances: 16 Pas de Basques, Pas de Basques and Highcuts, Fling, and Sword. 

No trophies or stamps are awarded in this category, and dancers are often given participation awards.

Beginner

Dancers move into the Beginner category when they turn 7, unless the dancer/teacher has decided to move up earlier. 

Dancers stay in Beginner until:

  • They win a first, second, or third place medal in six separate Beginner competitions (they get a stamp each time this happens)

OR

  • 12 months pass after they receive their first stamp. 
Whichever occurs later. Then, dancers move into Novice.
 
In this category, Beginners can earn stamps by competing with the following dances: Fling, Sword, Seann Triubhas, Reel, or a special event Fling. 
Dancers may also compete with, but may not earn stamps with the following dances: Lilt and Flora. 

Novice

Novice is the level following Beginner. 

Dancers stay in Novice until:

  • They win a first, second, or third place medal in six separate Novice competitions (they get a stamp each time this happens)

OR

  • 12 months pass after they receive their first stamp. 
Whichever occurs later. Then, dancers move into Intermediate. 
 
Novice dancers may earn stamps with all dances. 
In Novice, dancers compete with the following dances: Fling, Sword, Seann Triubhas, Reel, Lilt, Flora, and special event Fling. 

Intermediate

Intermediate is the category following Novice.

Dancers stay in Intermediate until:

  • They win a first, second, or third place medal in six separate Intermediate competitions (they get a stamp each time this happens)

OR

  • 12 months pass after they receive their first stamp. 
Whichever occurs later. Then, dancers move into Premier. 

Intermediate dancers may earn stamps with all dances. 
In Intermediate, dancers compete with the following dances: Fling, Sword, Seann Triubhas, Reel, Lilt, Flora, Laddie, Barracks, Hornpipe, and Jig. 

Premier

This is the highest competitive category in Highland dancing – goodbye, stamps!

Dancers are now eligible to compete in Championships, Premierships, and Pre-Championships. 

  • Pre-Championship eligibility: Dancer has never placed first-overall in a championship or pre-championship event.
  • You may also occasionally see “restricted Premier” events. To be eligible for a “restricted” event, a dancer must not have won an overall winner trophy in the past two years. 
  • If a Premier dancer is not eligible for a restricted event (i.e.: they have won an overall winner title within the past two years), they would simply be placed in the “Premier” category. 
  • A dancer eligible for “restricted Premier” may choose to dance in a non-restricted category, but a non-restricted dancer may not choose to dance in restricted.

Are you looking to learn more about how dance competitions work?

Check out our previous post on!

Are you looking to get involved in Highland dance?

At Saorsa Studio, your first class is on us! Contact us today to get started on your Highland dance journey.

Sources:
Royal Scottish Official Board of Highland Dance
ScotDance Canada

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