What exactly is a Trophy Ball exhibition? It might be helpful to first understand what the Trophy System is all about.

Let me explain. In most studios, different levels of dance are taught. They range from social beginner to a gold dance sport level.

The trophy system is for students who want to become good dancers and also acquire technical knowledge. When people come to a dance studio, they might have a goal in mind. The instructor can then take them through the learning process to reach that goal.

The first level is social bronze, where dancers can perform popular ballroom dances with fun and confidence with any partner.

The next level is advanced bronze, in which dancers develop flair while dancing more intricate patterns.

Silver is the next level, and this is where dancers have a greater sense of confidence, more self-expression and an enhanced sense of movement.

The final level is gold. These dancers have achieved the highest level of dance expression using emotion, style and poise, as well as achieving the highest technical ability.

When Trophy Ball comes around, each student’s level must be assessed so they can be put in the appropriate category. It is also important that students stay in their assigned level and perform specific “syllabus” patterns, such as side step, turn, whisk and pivot.

Trophy Ball is typically a popular event due to its informal nature. This is not a showcase so there are no “show” routines or real choreography, no set and no elaborate costumes. It is a true ballroom exhibition because the audience sees the raw basic material that ballroom dance is made of.

Once a trophy ball is complete, a dancer will proceed to the next highest level for the next exhibition. However, a dancer may be a bronze level in one dance and silver level in another. They might have mastered the Waltz but not the ChaCha.

If a dancer wants to take all his or her dances to a higher level, then this will always be a work in progress, as there are so many different dances with so many different syllabus steps.

This unique method of instruction is an exciting way for students to measure their dance progress and achieve their dancing goals. The trophy system defines various levels of accomplishment in dance.

If you would like to see a Trophy Ball, the next one is at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio, 1300 Fording Island Road in Bluffton. For more information, call 843-837-6161.

Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom.