There are a number of competitive dance venues and each one has its own rules. Participants must qualify and follow all instructions for competition. It is important that competitors read the rules carefully before applying to any contest. Some dance competitions are only for students, and they must be able to show they do not earn a living as a dance instructor or stage dancer.
Age is a factor for student dance competitions. Proof of age is often a requirement before entries are accepted. Realizing that students are born throughout the year, many student competition rules state a student's age is counted on a certain date. If they are the correct age on the chosen day, that is their bracket for the entire year. Duos and groups have similar age considerations. It is important to check the rules for each competition in these cases because they do vary. Many use the age of the oldest group member to designate the age category where the group will compete.
Students must also follow rules when it comes to their stage performance. Because competitions take time, there is generally a set amount of minutes the performer can be on stage. Their routines are often two minutes or less. Competitors must also limit their props, wear proper costumes and makeup to match their style of music and dance. Failure to follow any rules may disqualify a performer at any time.
Judges for students are looking for the ability to compete within their age group. Each judge looks to see how closely the students have followed the rules. This is an important item and keeps students from winning by edging out their competition unfairly. Judges then score the overall performance. They are looking to see how well the moves were executed in time with the music.