Dance competitions can be a wild ride for newcomers. So many sequins, so much hairspray and people everywhere! Then there's awards -- what the what is going on there?! Read on to prep yourself for what's to come.

Competition Schedules:
We receive competition schedules up to 2 weeks prior to the first day of competition. These schedules vary greatly and it's difficult to predict when our students will perform. Please keep the entire weekend on hold until we have schedule in hand.

Call times:
Your "call time" (or arrival time) is typically 2 hours prior to your scheduled performance. However, if you are dancing first thing in the morning or first thing on a Friday afternoon, it's likely the doors to the venue won't be open 2 hours in advance. In these instances, we will give you a call time closer to your performance time. We really do use all this time to get the dancers ready to go on stage. It's also common for a competition to run ahead of schedule so we need to be ready to dance. You should arrive at the venue with hair and make-up done wearing studio jacket.

What to Bring:
We suggest making a list that includes all costumes, accessories, shoes, hair supplies etc. It can be helpful to bring your own make-up mirror. Dream Duffles are also a popular device for carting around everything you will need. In the event that the dressing room happens to be a gymnasium, you may find it nice to have a camping chair with you. In many venues we can bring in food and drinks. However, some venues have strict policies against this. We'll let you know what type of venue we are going into.

Rules & Etiquette:
Please share these rules/etiquette reminders with all members of your party who plan to attend competitions. In certain instances our studio and dancers can be penalized by the competition if anyone from our studio violates these rules.

  • No Photos/Videotaping: Most competitions prohibit all spectators from taking any photos or videos of routines performing on stage. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the primary goal in the end is dancer safety. Please do not sit in the audience and record/photography any routines (not even our routines!) as you will likely be asked by competition staff to leave the venue and our students may be penalized. Additionally please refrain from taking photos or video in dressing rooms. It's highly likely someone will photobomb your shot while changing in and out of costumes and you'll have photos with undesirable contents.
  • Entering/Exiting the Venue: Do not walk through the auditorium while a dance is performing on stage. It is incredibly distracting to everyone trying to watch. Imagine if you are watching your dancer on stage, and a family of five takes their time finding seats directly in front of you, blocking you from watching your child perform. It's very frustrating. Please don't be that person. We move in and out seats in between dances and during judges breaks or awards.
  • Be careful what you say about routines from other studios: You never know if the person sitting in front of you, the woman next to you in the dressing room, or the guy in line for the bathroom is somehow connected to a dancer in that routine and wouldn't it be awful if you said something less than nice in front of them?! We'd hate for that to happen to us so pleaseeeeeee pay attention to who is around you before you dish on a routine that just wasn't for you.
  • Dressing Rooms: Dressing rooms are for dancers and whoever is assisting them in changing costumes. Dancers change in the dressing rooms and often have minimal coverage on. Competitions are very good about marking girls and boys rooms and have started adding additional spaces to accommodate other family situations. In short, dressing rooms are not for extended family and in most cases, it's a same-sex only space. Please reconsider taking photos while in a dressing room. It's highly likely someone in the background of your shot may be getting dressed!
  • Outside Food & Drinks: We try to attend competitions in high schools because they are usually more flexible about bringing in outside food and drink. Whereas venues like Lowell Memorial Auditorium are very strict and prohibit everything and will search you upon entry. We don't anticipate having any issues with bringing food or drinks into competitions this year; however, we will let you know if we hear otherwise.

Categories, Age Brackets & Divisions:
Routines are categorized by the following elements: number of dancers in the routine, average age, dance style, experience level.

Solo = 1 dancer
Duet/Trio = 2-3 dancers
Small Group = 4-9 dancers
Large Group =10-19
Line/Super Group/Production = 20+ dancers

Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Open, Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Musical Theater, Acro

Ages Brackets:
Industry standard is 8 & under, 9-12, 13-15, 16+
Ages are averaged and the basic math behind calculating the average is always the same. However, there are 2 factors in play here. First, birthday cut-off date. Competitions like Elite Performance Challenge cuts off at January 1 - how old are you January 1? That’s your age for that competition, regardless if you have a birthday between Jan 1 and the first day of the competition. Other competitions use first day of competition as the cut off. Second, do they round up, down or drop the decimal entirely? When ages are averaged and there is a remainder, EPC drops this remainder entirely. In other words, if the average age came out to 12.99, EPC drops the .99 and the age becomes ’12’. Groove however uses a rounding policy. If the average age is 12.49, they round down to 12. If the average age is 12.5, they round up to 13. For reference, most competitions calculate the age for studios. We submit birthdays and they assign the age bracket. You may notice age brackets switch during the season.

Experience Level:
Typically competition offer 3 levels comparable to a 'Beginner', 'Intermediate' and 'Advanced'. Each competition has their own names for these levels and general guidelines based on number of hours in the studio per week. Ultimately it's up for the teachers to make the final call on what level at which to place their students. We tend to place our younger dancers in the Beginner level and older dancers in Intermediate level.

Division = number of dancers in routine + age bracket + experience level - A Division will include dances of ALL styles. An example of a division is "Teen, Large Group, Intermediate Level" - this is the Division our Senior Company group routines are usually a part of. We count the number of dances in each of our Divisions as soon as we have a program.

Adjudication award:
Every routine in the competition receives a ‘placement’ award based on their score out of 300 possible points (3 judges each with 100 points). Each competition has different names for these Adjudication awards and awards are more or less subjective — there are no rigidly defined guidelines like you see in gymnastics or ice skating.

Elite Platinum = 288.0-300.0 (average of 96+ points per judge)
High Platinum = 282.0-287.9 (average of 94-95.9 points per judge)
Platinum = 276.0-281.9 (average of 92-93.9 points per judge)
Gold = 264.0-275.9 (average of 88-91.9 points per judge)
Silver = 252.0-263.9 (average of 84-87.9 points per judge)

Special Judges awards:
These awards are purely judges’ discretion and have nothing to do with score. We love special judges awards and always hope to receive one.

Competitions announce the top scoring routines for each ‘division’. Depending on how many routines are in the division, they will announce up to 10th place. Overalls are always the goal. You want to place in the Overalls.