The cliff notes version they have made the costuming rules ridiculously restrictive for everyone, but especially for those not in open yet. Some of the existing restricions were fine, basically they levelled the playing field for those who couldn't afford all-out costumes right away. The new restrictions are beyond silly though. Adult women can't wear heels taller than 2 inches. Never mind that its hard to find heels that low (2.5 inches is the standard height sold by most major shoe makers), but arguably its more difficult to do proper latin in heels that low. The makeup restrictions are silly too: nothing beyond eyeliner and lipstick. Anyone who has seen me in comp makeup (or watched Strictly Ballroom) knows that that's not going to cut it. Even in open, which had typically been just short of 'anything goes', there are new restrictions that are at best ill-defined. Ballgowns that are low-cut are out, but what constitues low-cut isn't really defined. My current ballgown happens to show a hint of cleavage, is that too low-cut? Somehow I find it difficult to think that people will be shocked at anything my current gown reveals.
Happily, none of these rules really apply to me. I don't do USA Dancesport/USABDA competitions anymore. In fact, it was there previous bad policy decisions, not to mention the attitude of many officials, that drove me away. Most of the better competitions in the US are run by the professional body, the NDCA. I get the feeling that the new set of rules might lead some other dancers to abandon them as well. Price is still a factor. It used to be that USABDA competitions were much cheaper when it came to entry fees, etc. That's not strictly the case these days, as a number of these supposedly not-for-profit competitions have been raising their feed considerably, while NDCA competitions have remained flat, and in some cases decreased their prices for amatuers.