Within 4 happy feet there are multiple ways you can participate in ballroom competitions. You have the student tournaments, and the competitions organized by a federation. As student tournaments we have the European Tournament of Dancing Students (ETDS), and the smaller version the Dutch tournament for dancing students: Nederlands Toernooi voor Dansende Studenten (NTDS).
European Tournament for Dancing Students (ETDS)
The ETDS is a fun student tournament that happens twice a year: one in the beginning of the academic year in October, and one during the Whitsun weekend. The goal of the tournament is to create a fun weekend full of dancing. The tournament traditionally starts on Friday evening with a party, also called the 'blinddate evening'. At this party, people without a dancing partner for the tournament can try to find one. So it is possible to register without a partner for this event!
On Saturday the first competition takes place: standard ballroom. At the beginning of the competition everyone will dance a qualification round, based on this round you will be assigned to one of 3 to 4 different classes (based on how many participants there are). These 3/4 classes combined are called the Breitensport, a term originating from the beginning of the ETDS when only German universities held this competition. After the qualification round, the real competition will start. For (competition) dancers of a higher level there is the Open Class, this class starts on Saturday with the Latin competition. Saturday evening everyone will be dancing some more at the theme party.
The next Sunday everything is repeated, only the breitensport dancers now dance Latin and the Open class dancers now dance standard ballroom. There will be another qualification round before the competition in the breitensport. Again, everyone is divided over 3 or 4 classes. At the end of the competitions, at Sunday evening, another party will be held. Traditionally this is a gala night.
During the competitions the different teams participating compete for "der Tanzmaus". This much desired trophy will be awarded to the university that did best during the whole tournament. October, 2015, Team Twente/Lublin managed to win "der Tanzmaus"! On Monday morning the last breakfast will be served, it is time to pack your bags and say goodbye to all the new friends you've made during this tournament.
Nederlands Toernooi voor Dansende Studenten (NTDS)
The Dutch tournament for dancing students (Nederland Toernooi voor Dansende Studenten, NTDS) is a smaller version of the ETDS. Despite the course of tournament being quite similar to the ETDS, there are a few differences. First of all, at the NTDS there is a special class for beginners. Only dancers with less than a year experience may participate in this class. For this reason, the NTDS is a perfect opportunity for beginning dancers to get a taste of competition dancing. Next to that, the duration of the NTDS is shorter and the tournament is over directly after the competition on Sunday. There is no party on Sunday evening, and everyone is leaving for home after the competitions. Instead of competing to win der Tanzmaus, at the NTDS the teams compete to win the NTDS Lion.