2019 Divisions, Categories, Judging Criteria and Awards

Mouse Click each Rule to view details


Recreational: For those students who participate in dance class and/or extra rehearsals up to 3 hours per week. This provides a less intimidating approach to the competitive experience for those dancers new to competitions or who have less experience.  Recreational entries are ineligible for cash awards. Students in more than 5 duet/trio or group routines cannot enter a Recreational Solo and must move to competitive for a solo.

Competitive: For students that participate in class and/or extra rehearsals for 3-6 hours per week.

Elite:  Our Elite division is for Junior, Teen and Senior students who participate in class and extra rehearsals for more than 6 hours a week.

Pro-Am: Any routine containing a professional must compete in the Pro-Am age division. A professional is defined as any person 20 years of age or older who is or has ever been a teacher, assistant teacher, or professional dancer. A group division containing only one professional forces that group division to compete in Pro-Am.  Pro-Am entries are ineligible for cash awards.  

All Mini and Petite entries should be entered in the Recreational or Competitive Division.  Duet/Trios and Groups containing a combination of recreational, competitive, and elite dancers should be entered in the division in which the majority of the dancers fall.  Any division changes must be made by teachers prior to the first day of competition.  Because dance competitions have no way of knowing how many hours a week a student trains, placement is ultimately left to the teacher’s discretion. 


Age Divisions:           

*Mini: 5 & Under     *Petite: 6-8       Junior: 9-11    Teen: 12-14       Senior: 15-16, 17-18      Adult:  19-24, 25-39, & 40 & up

Every category with more than 5 entries will be split into smaller age brackets.   All ages for Regionals and Grand Finals are determined as of January 1, 2019.  Solo ages for Encore Extreme are determined by the first day of the event.  For Duet/Trios and Groups, the average age determines the age division into which you fall.   Drop the decimal point when averaging the ages, i.e., an age average of 12.5 would compete in the 12 year old division.

*All Mini and Petite entries (age 8 and under) must be entered in the Recreational or Competitive Division

Performance Categories and Acrobatic Tricks:

Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Contemporary, Clogging, Song & Dance, Musical Theater, Character, Gymnastics, Folkloric, Modeling, Baton, Best Costume, Pom Pom, Liturgical, Modern, Hip Hop, Vocal, Open and AcroJazz.

Unlimited tricks are allowed only in Gymnastics, Character, Open, Pom Pom, Musical Theater, AcroJazz Hip Hop, and Contemporary.  **All other categories are limited to 3 acrobatic tricks. Routines that contain more than 3 tricks will be automatically moved to the correct category.  If multiple students perform the same trick at the same time, it only counts as ONE trick.  All passes with multiple tricks are counted as ONE trick.

Group Divisions & Time Limits:

Solo & Duet/Trios - 3 minute maximum,

Small Group {4 – 9 dancers}, Large Group {10 – 16} & Super Group {17 or more}– 4 minute 30 second maximum,

Productions {unlimited dancers}  – 9 minute maximum.

*Extended time is permitted in all divisions at a rate of $5/person for every minute over the time limit.  Email if you need to purchase extended time. 




All entries will be judged based on a point system by a minimum of three qualified judges.  Judging is based on technique, performance, musicality, and overall appeal.  Judges decisions are final. If a tie in scoring occurs, the tie will first be broken based on technique scores.  If a tie still exists, it will be broken based on performance scores, musicality, etc.  In the case a tie still exists, the judges will make the final decision.  Judges reserve the right to move entries to proper category for judging if improperly registered.  A minimum point requirement must be met to receive 1st place in the event that only one entry is registered for that category.

Trophies & Awards:

  • Every routine will receive a diamond, platinum, high gold, gold or silver recognition in addition to the 1st-5th placements awarded in every category.  Every category with more than 5 entries will be split into smaller divisions.  A Trophy, plaque or banner will be awarded to 1st place routines in all divisions.  Medals will be awarded to 2nd-5th place Soloists and Duet/Trios, with ribbons or pins going to all Group participants.  Information on cash awards can be found on our awards page.  All cash awards are made payable to the studio, not individual students.  A minimum of 5 entries per age/group division is required in order to receive gift certificates and cash awards.  19 and over entries are not eligible for gift certificates or cash awardsOverall, Top 3, Top 5 or Top 10 placements will be recognized in each division, based on the number of entries.  All Overall winners will receive an Encore Pin.  Vocal and Song & Dance entries will be excluded from the dance overalls, but will be recognized in the Top Vocal Performance Overalls and/or Top Vocal Performance Super Solos.  Additional awards are given for Top Choreography, Most Entertaining, Encore Super Soloists, Grand Finals’ Workshop Scholarships, Encore Extreme Scholarships, Discovery Spotlight Scholarships, Spirit of Encore and Top Studio.

General Rules and Regulations: 

  1. All entries should be completed via online registration at at least 28 days prior to the event.  Registration is accepted on a first come first served basis and is limited to the amount of competition time available.  This varies by city.  Many of our events reach capacity well before the deadline and any entries exceeding the limit will be turned away. 
  2. Payment by check is appreciated and can be mailed to 203 West Butler Street Lexington, SC 29072.  A 2% service charge will be added to all credit card payments. A 50% deposit must be received 28 days prior to the event.  Full payment must be received at least 14 days prior to the competition date or a $10.00 late charge per entry will be accessed.  Money orders are not accepted via postal mail.  A $25 fee will apply to all returned checks.  Returned checks will automatically be turned over to an outside Collections Agency and/or the Solicitor’s office.  Absolutely no personal checks or credit card payments for entries will be taken at the event, and any unpaid entries will not be allowed to perform. 
  3. Gift certificates and scholarships for Encore DCS and Encore Extreme are NOT interchangeable and can only be used at the event listed on your certificate.
  4. All Parents must sign a Waiver in order for their child to participate.  This can be downloaded on the registration page of our website and should be submitted with payment two weeks prior to the event.
  5. No refunds of fees will be given after the deadline date.  A credit for another regional competition or Grand Finals for the current year or following year will be issued to the studio in the event that a dancer is unable to perform. 
  6. Encore DCS reserves the right to change the number of competition days based on registration received and is not liable for refunds based on schedule changes.
  7. Dancers should be ready to compete at least ONE HOUR ahead of their scheduled performance time. 
  8. Music can be submitted via one Master CD or Flash Drive per studio.  If using CD, a playlist listing the order of routines must be provided.  If using a flash drive, please label each file with the entry number and song title.  A backup form of music is always required.  We recommend CD, Ipads and Ipods for backup. 
  9. Professionals may compete only in the Pro-Am division.  A professional is defined as any person 20 years of age or older who is or has ever been a teacher, assistant teacher, or professional dancer.
  10. If more than 5 entries are received for one age group, we reserve the right to divide the category into smaller age brackets. 
  11. Numbers containing more than 3 acrobatic tricks must be entered in the Open, Gymnastics, Character, Musical Theater, Contemporary, AcroJazz, Hip Hop or Pom category, or the routine will be moved to the correct category.  An acrobatic trick consists of a complete 360-degree rotation of the body with head inverted or a pass containing multiple gymnastic moves excluding shoulder rolls.  It is considered one trick if more than one student performs IDENTICAL tricks or passes at the same time. 
  12. Students who perform more than 1 solo (not including vocal or song and dance) are placed in our "Super Solo" category whereby a total score of all solos performed are averaged to determine the Super Solo score for overall title placement.  ALL Super Soloists will be recognized with a special award.  Students performing only one solo per competition will be judged separately and will compete for the Top Soloist in every age division. Soloists may not compete against themselves in the same category.  All other dancers in duet/trios, groups, and productions may enter as many categories as they wish as long as they do not compete against themselves in the exact same groups.  (Soloists are limited to one solo at Encore Extreme conventions.)
  13. A 10-point deduction will be made for routines that are not completed.  This applies to dancers that re-perform their routines after a false start unless the re-performance is caused by a technical error or other uncontrollable event not attributable to the dancer’s performance.
  14. Freestanding props are allowed but must be easily moved into the theater and on & off stage without disrupting the competition in progress.  No fire, water, or excessive littering is allowed on stage.  No human props are allowed.  Any person on stage must be registered in the event and their age should be included in the average.
  15. We do not accept independent entries.  A dance studio attending the competition must support each entry.  Each studio is required to bring a minimum of TWO (2) performing individuals.  This rule does not apply to soloists that qualify for Nationals.  Independent dancers can register for Encore Extreme convention classes, but must be registered under a studio name if competing in the solo competition.
  16. Overall winners from the 2018 Grand Finals may not compete the same routine in the same division at any of the 2019 regional or grand finals competitions.
  17. All 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place routines, or those scoring a minimum of 240 points at regionals are eligible to attend Grand Finals. If a student is unable to compete in a group at Finals, a substitution may be made.  New routines not competed at regionals may be pre-qualified for Grand Finals through video submission.
  18. Encore DCS will provide two wireless handheld microphones for use in Vocal and Song & Dance routines.  Personal microphones and headsets can be used with our sound system, however, must be tested before the competition starts.
  19. Teachers and studio directors should bring any question or challenge of routines or rules to the attention of the Encore DCS director in charge prior to the respective awards ceremony.
  20. Judges reserve the right to deliberate and choose the Highest Score of the Day routine.
  21. All rules and regulations listed here for Encore DCS apply to Encore Extreme.
  22. Photography and video recording is always prohibited! Videotaping and photography of any kind is not allowed in order to protect choreography and due to our contracts with professional videographers and photographers.  Personal cameras, video cameras, and any other recording devices are prohibited in the auditorium when a professional is contracted!   
  23. All dancers, teachers, and guests are expected to display good sportsmanlike conduct to all participants at all times.  Encore DCS does not discriminate, but does reserve the right to refuse entrance to any competitor, spectator, studio, or individual that has been deemed to exhibit unsportsmanlike behavior.
  24. Only performers, teachers, and staff are allowed on stage before, during and after a competition.
  25. ENCORE DCS and the housing facility are NOT responsible for personal injury or property loss.
  26. All awards and music should be picked up at the conclusion of the event and will not be mailed.  All music may be picked up at the registration table by teachers or studio directors at the conclusion of Petite and Junior competition and again at the conclusion of Teen and Senior competition.  Judges audio critiques and score sheets will be downloaded to the server after the event and will be emailed to teachers within three days of the event.  Score sheets and video critiques will also be available in the studios Dance Comp Genie account. 
  27. All teachers, parents and participants give Encore DCS the right to use their photo or video with any advertising or media campaign. By performing at Encore DCS events, all competitors consent to the use of photographs and/or video footage for promotional purposes, which may include social media and streaming of routines online.
  28. Gift certificates that are awarded to groups can only be redeemed for group entry fees at future Encore DCS events.