2017 Divisions, Categories, Judging Criteria and Awards


Recreational: For those students who participate in dance class and/or extra rehearsals up to 3 hours per week. NEW: Students in more than 5 duet/trio or group routines cannot enter a Recreational Solo. 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.

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.  

*NEW this year: All 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. Placement is ultimately left to the teacher’s discretion.

Age Divisions:           

*Petite: 6 & under & 7-8      Junior: 9-10, 11 Teen: 12-13, 14       Senior: 15-16, 17-18     Senior Plus: 19-24, 25 & 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, 2017. 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.

*NEW this year: All Petite entries should be entered in the Recreational or Competitive Division.

Performance Categories:

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.

* Open Category includes those numbers which combine more than one style of dance &/or contain more than 3 acrobatic tricks. 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. 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.


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. Encore DCS Gift Certificates will be given to Competitive and Elite Division Overall Top Soloists & Duet/Trios. Gift certificates will be awarded to Competitive Division Overall Group winners, with Cash Awards for the Highest Score of the Day. Cash awards will be given to Elite Division Overall Top Group & Highest Score winners for the day. A minimum of 5 entries per age/ group division is required in order to receive gift certificates and cash awards. Overall, 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 bracelet. 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 and Spirit of Encore.

Encore DCS 2017 Rules and Regulations

  1. All competition entry forms or online registration must be postmarked or submitted online 28 days prior to competition date. Registration is accepted on a first come first served basis is limited to the amount of competition time available. This varies by city. Many of our events reach capacity well before the deadline, so please register early!
  2. Payment by check is appreciated and can be mailed to 203 West Butler Street Lexington, SC 29072. Please do not mail a money order. Full payment must be received at least 14 days prior to the competition date or else a $10.00 late charge per entry will be accessed. 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 can be mailed or submitted at 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. Dancers should be ready to compete at least ONE HOUR ahead of their scheduled performance time.
  7. A properly cued professional quality CD is required for all entries and should include the provided cd label.       Ipads and Ipods can be used as back up.
  8. Professionals may compete only in the Pro-Am categories.
    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.
  9. If more than 5 entries are received for one age group, we reserve the right to divide the category into smaller age brackets.
  10. 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 they will automatically be moved to the appropriate category for judging. 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.
  11. Students are no longer limited to the number of solos they can compete. Students who perform more than 1 solo 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Overall winners from the 2016 Grand Finals may not compete the same routine in the same division at any of the 2017 regional or grand finals competitions.
  16. 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 videotape submission.
  17. Encore DCS will provide two wireless handheld microphones and two headset 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.
  18. Photography and video recording is always prohibited! Videotaping and photography of any kind is not allowed 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!
  19. All dancers, teachers, and guests are expected to display good sportsmanlike conduct to all participants.      
  20. Only performers, teachers, and staff are allowed on stage before, during and after a competition.
  21. ENCORE DCS and the housing facility are NOT responsible for personal injury or property loss.
  22. 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 must be downloaded to the server after the event and will be emailed to teachers within three days of the event.
  23. All participants give Encore DCS the right to use their photo or video with any advertising or media campaign.