31st Annual Desert Challenge

April 26 – 27, 2024


Event Information

USA Dance - Sanctioned Collegiate EventWelcome to the 31st DC Competition! Join us for the American and International style individual events, multi-events, Formation teams, and Team matches!

Date: Friday, April 26 (5-10PM) and Saturday, April 27 (9AM-4:30PM & 6-10PM)
Location: UNLV – Paul McDermott Physical Education Complex (MPE; South Gym)

Please spread the word with our event flyer!


How to Register: We are using Ballroom Comp Express! Please Sign Up or if you are already registered- Log In.

Deadline: Monday, April 15, 2024, 11:59PM PDT

Late Entries: Entries submitted between Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 12:00AM PDT and Monday, April 22, 2024, 11:59PM PDT will require the entry fee and a $10 late fee (unless stated otherwise). An entry is processed after payment is received. There is no guarantee that competitor names will be part of the program.

Any changes to the entry information must be finalized by Friday, April 26, 2024, 5PM PDT.

* A collegiate competitor is considered 18 years old and over. Also, the student must take at least one course this semester at a college, university, or trade/technical school.


Cost Regular (through April 15, 2024)
Collegiate Registration: $50.00 + event fees
Youth Registration: $25.00 + event fees

Formation Team**: $40 per routine
Team Match**: $0; The late fee is waived.
Memorial Team Match**: $30 per team

Cost Late (through April 22, 2024)
Collegiate Registration: $60.00 + event fees
Youth Registration: $35.00 + event fees

A submitted entry will be processed after payment is received online or in the mail.

Admission ticket fees:

  • Friday evening (5-10PM): $5
  • Saturday day (9AM-4:30PM): $10
  • Saturday evening (6-10PM): $10
  • Weekend pass: $20

Spectators can purchase admission tickets at the door with cash or credit card payments. Advanced ticket purchases are available.

Free admission for both days will be for one (1) coach per school entry. For ticket purchases, please contact the organizer. The advanced ticket purchase will be held at Will Call for pick up.

Also, admission is free for volunteers who work a two-hour shift for that day. If you’re interested, please visit the Volunteers page.


Deadline and postmark date:
Monday, April 15, 2024, 11:59PM PDT

Payable name: Desert Challenge
Note: Add “School name – Formation Team” and payment breakdown (if multiple entries)

Zelle/PayPal payment:

Check/money order payment:
2024 Desert Challenge
c/o Gail Michel-Parsons
6524 Roy Rogers Dr
Las Vegas, NV 89108

Refunds will be considered on a case-by-case basis, only with a 48-hour advance cancellation notice.

Discounted Hotels

For accommodations near UNLV, book early for hotel discounts.

Syllabus Information

The single dance American and International events are closed syllabus events. The material should be based on an NDCA or USA Dance recognized syllabus. International is restricted to ISTD syllabus. No continuity styling is allowed at the American Bronze level. Also, no open work is allowed in the syllabus-level events; events will be invigilated. Coaches, please ensure your students adhere to this.

For this competition, Newcomer is defined as someone who has never competed and has been dancing for less than twelve (12) months. Both members of the partnership must meet these guidelines.

Competitors may compete in two consecutive syllabus levels and one multi-dance level. American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard, and International Latin are all considered separate syllabi; therefore, dancers may be at different levels for each.

Couple (Similar Proficiency)

Dancers may register for one of each event:

  • Syllabus event (two consecutive levels):
    • Newcomer/Bronze
    • Bronze/Silver
    • Silver/Gold
  • Multi-dance event (one level):
    • Novice
    • Pre-champion
    • Champion

Individuals may have more than one partner; however, you may not dance “down” in order to partner with someone at a lower level.

The Cabaret event is open to all competitors and consists of up to three (3) couples. The dance must be a ballroom-related style with lifts. Music selection is your choice. The time limit is four (4) minutes.

Fees: Multiple entries are allowed without extra charge.

Collegiate competitor (18+): $50 (includes admission)
Youth competitor (under 18): $25 (includes admission)

Rookie / Veteran (Mixed Proficiency)

This level is for schools that do not have enough leaders or followers to partner with new dancers. It is also called the “Mixed proficiency” and is similar to a Pro/Am event, but with an experienced Amateur instead of a Pro. To enter this category, the two dancers cannot be regular partners.

The rules:

  1. One partner (the Rookie) must dance for less than one year, and the other partner (the Veteran) must dance for more than one year.
  2. Both partners must be amateur dancers and have not been in a partnership.
  3. The dance patterns are strictly restricted to Bronze syllabus only.
  4. There are no costume restrictions.
  5. The events will be all single dance events (no multi-dance).


Multiple entries are allowed without extra charge.

Collegiate competitor (18+): $50 (includes admission)
Youth competitor (under 18): $25 (includes admission)

Formation Team

Schools may choose to present either a single dance or a medley. The time limit will be six (6) minutes, including entrance and exit. Timing will begin when the first team member steps onto the floor and will end when the last team member steps off the floor. Note: Coaches, the time restraints will be strictly enforced. Please adhere to them. If the dance goes over the time limit, competitors will be penalized.

NDCA and USA Dance rules regarding lifts will be followed. No lifts are allowed in the body of the routine only at the entrance, exit, or both. The single dance routines will be judged independently of the medleys. Please include a list of your team members with your entry.

Schools may compete with multiple teams provided the following guidelines are adhered to:

  1. These teams must be separate and distinct.
  2. They must perform separate and distinct routines.
  3. There must be no duplication of members between the teams.

If a school wants to showcase an exhibition routine, please fill out another form (i.e., exhibition) and pay an additional entry fee.

Teams may have ten (10) minutes to mark their routines in the ballroom during registration or dinner break. Schools will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis. To request your time, please contact the organizer.

Fees: $40 (collegiate); $0 (youth); plus, admission fee per student who is only a team participant (i.e., Saturday evening $10 or Weekend Pass $20)

Note: Students participating only in the Formation Team, Team Match, or Memorial Team Match will be required to purchase an admission ticket for Saturday evening ($10) or the Weekend Pass ($20).

Team Match

Two Team Matches will be offered at no charge: American and International styles. These teams may be integrated for additional fun! Please be prepared.

Fee: $0; plus, admission fee per student who is only a team participant (i.e., Saturday evening $10 or Weekend Pass $20)

Note: Students participating only in the Formation Team, Team Match, or Memorial Team Match will be required to purchase an admission ticket for Saturday evening ($10) or the Weekend Pass ($20).

Donna M Medrano Memorial Team Match

Winner: $200 scholarship

This competition is limited to one entry per school. Each school wishing to participate will enter four (4) couples, one couple for each dance style (i.e., one couple for American Smooth, one couple for American Rhythm, one couple for International Standard, and one couple for International Latin). These must be four (4) separate couples. Costumes are encouraged.

Each couple will compete in one dance within that particular style. However, the specific dance will not be chosen until before the competition and will be chosen by a draw. Each dance will be judged independently. The scores will then be combined, and the team with the highest total score will win.

The winning school will be awarded the Donna M Medrano Perpetual Trophy to take home and display at their school for the rest of the year. For the following year, they will return the trophy to the organizer one month before Desert Challenge. At that time, a plate with the school’s name and the year won will be placed on the trophy.

This event is also a scholarship event. This year the winning team will be awarded a $200 scholarship.

The organizers desire that this event embodies all that Donna Medrano represented:

Teacher, coach, mentor, and friend both on and off the dance floor. The grace and beauty that she radiated in all that she did. She desired that ballroom dancing should be enjoyed by all, both dancers and observers. And her desire is that competition should be friendly and fun!

With this in mind, we hope you will choose to participate in the annual event worth waiting for!

Fees: $30 (college); $0 (youth); plus, admission fee per student who is only a team participant (i.e., Saturday evening $10 or Weekend Pass $20)

Note: Students participating only in the Formation Team, Team Match, or Memorial Team Match will be required to purchase an admission ticket for Saturday evening ($10) or the Weekend Pass ($20).


Same-sex partners ARE allowed in the syllabus events. The Open Events are open to everyone, regardless of your dance level. The organizers reserve the right to cancel events with fewer than four (4) couples entered.


Kay Teague
Mikey Krizner
Chairman of Judges:
Dana Edwards
Ross Pearce
John Nielsen
Anne Montserrat-Poloyapoy
Michael Feeley


For Formation Teams and Cabaret competitors, you must submit your music to the DJ before the end of the dinner break.

Competitors must provide the music on a flash drive or CD. Please be sure to have a backup copy of it incase of problems.


Costumes are encouraged and NOT required. Shoes must have soles and heels that do not leave marks on the floor.


All results will be posted at the event and the Competition results page.

Event Flyer

Please spread the word about the competition!

2024 Desert Challenge Flyer


Organizer: Gail M Michel-Parsons
Email: desertchallengelv@gmail.com

Mailing address:
Desert Challenge 2024
c/o Gail M Michel-Parsons
6524 Roy Rogers Dr
Las Vegas, Nv 89108


Thank you for your support.

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Event Fundraisers

During Desert Challenge, we’re having fundraisers at the locations below. Please mention the promo code when purchasing your meal, and a percentage of the sales will be donated to our foundation!

Panera Bread
365 Hughes Center Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89169
Date: Friday, 4/26, 2-9PM
Code: FUND4U
Donation: 20% of the sales get donated

Panera Bread Fundraiser Flyer

4530 S Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Date: Saturday, 4/27, 4-8PM
Code: 24V4GVF
Donation: 25% of the sales get donated

Panera Bread Fundraiser Flyer


Sponsorship levels are available to advertise on our website, social media, and at our dance competition, starting at $50. Any monetary and non-monetary donations are appreciated. Learn more


Ongoing and event volunteers are needed. Get a free admission ticket to Desert Challenge for volunteering. Learn more


Admission tickets are available at the door. Cash or credit card payments are accepted.