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.

Schedules & Stuff to Bring:
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.

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

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

Styles:
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:
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, Small Group, Advanced 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.

Awards:
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.

ADJUDICATION BREAK DOWN Example:
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.

Overalls:
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.