Recent Rules & Updates
for Contest Season

(Some of the following updates have been in place since 2006 or earlier, while others may be new for 2017)

Since 2017 For All Star and Studio teams, we will conform to the USASF team divisions with these changes:
- MASCOT (6 and under)
- ELEMENTARY (7-9 years on Aug. 31)
- INTERMEDIATE (10-12 years on Aug. 31)
- JUNIOR (13-15 on Aug. 31)

- SENIOR (16-18 on Aug. 31)

Since 2017 Read about music copyright information that has been on the US law books for over 75 years. Recently, some issues were brought to light in our industry that may affect the way you edit music for any public performances in the future.

Since 2016 Show Production will now be in its own division and will not count towards team sweepstakes, Best in Class, Best of the Best, or overall State or National Champion Teams. We will be adding several awards in addition to Judges Awards in this category to give more recognition for this event. At State and Nationals, a winner and runners up will be selected in this division.

Since 2016 We are adding an ensemble division for dance class students (cannot contain any of your active team members). The ensemble can be any size and must come from one of your school dance classes (no studio groups).

Since 2015 At Nationals, teams, officers or ensembles earning category titles will be eligible to order nationals letterman style jackets.

Since 2014 We will no longer allow teams, solos, or any groups to perform tap routines unless the surface at the contest venue allows for taps to not damage the floor surface. Please contact the office for clarification for the contest venue.

Since 2014 • Team Size Rule: After reviewing the number of teams and team sizes for High School teams this past season, we have determined that we need to alter the team sizes to allow the team distribution to be more even. As of 2014, the new high school team sizes will be as follows:
Extra Small Team – 15 & under
Small Team - 16-25
Medium Team - 26-35
Large Team - 36-45
Super Team – 46+

Varsity Public High School Dance Teams classified by team size (XSmall, Small, Medium, Large, and Super), must determine their size by reporting the actual number of members on their team class roster and not how many members will be competing at the competition. Contest administrators may elect to further divide some of these team categories that have a large number of participants including 60+ for an XL Division, or splitting divisions if a large number of teams. If there are less than three teams in a division, we may combine those teams with the closest next division. Changes in team size must be made in writing two weeks before the contest and signed by your administrator. No changes in team size will be made after the final schedule is sent out.

Since 2014 We added an additional college division for NAIA college teams. Provided there are at least three teams entered in that division, we will award national collegiate champions in that category.

Since 2003 • 70% RuleRoutine Performance Requirement: Varsity Public High School Dance Teams must perform a minimum of 70% of their actual team membership on all team routine events entered. All performers must be on the official team roster in order to perform in team events. Performers should be on the floor in view of the judges, and not behind backdrops or curtains, for at least 70% of the routine. Any team that elects to perform less than 70% will be placed in the Elite category. Any exceptions must be approved by the American office.

Music (CD's or iPods): American contests will offer pitch control for CD’s in addition to patch cords for iPods, iPad, laptop and smart phones (please have phones on airplane mode). There will be a 'sound check' station in each performance area for you to check your CD's to make sure that they will read properly in our equipment and that you have them set for the correct pitch. All CD players will play at the same speed and speed changes can be consistent from one to the next. If you bring music on an iPod or iPhone (MP3 device), you will need to have a manager or someone that can run the music when given the cue by the announcer. We cannot take responsibility of your MP3 device, laptop, or iPod left at the sound area. We use the highest quality Denon equipment for our events. Music not picked up after your performance will be placed in your results sacks. Please make sure to check your sacks to inventory your CD's/music device prior to leaving the competition site.

Props and Backdrops Usage: Curtains, staging, and other props for routines should be constructed to fit through a 7 foot tall double door, with the center support bar removed, found at most public school gymnasiums where regional contests are held.

Props and staging may have minor assembly on the floor but setup and breakdown time for props and staging will be added to the actual routine performance time length to produce total floor time. Total floor time should not exceed 4 minutes (including set up, entrance, performance, exit and prop removal for all team dance categories except show production (10 minutes). Any exceptions must be approved by the contest administrator, in advance of the competition.

Staging and backdrops at Nationals can be brought into the North Tunnel within 30 minutes of your performance and must be removed from the building immediately following the performance.

USB Flash Drives: All American contests will have judges audio and video comments on a USB flash drive for the directors to view their performances while listening to the judges comments. For team, officer and ensembles, two judges will each give comments onto the flash drive. For solos, there will be two judges that will give their comments and video on flash drives. Individual solos who are competing without their team present and have paid the individual entry fee, will receive two USB flash drives. All solos that are competing representing their team in other events, the judges will compile all video/audio comments on one set (2) of USB flash drives that the director will receive in their results sack. We will no longer use cassette tapes for comments. We hope that this unique new technology will add a new dimension to your contest experience.

Contemporary Dance will be a new category for the 2011 Contest Season. The definition is a dance style that utilizes ballet, jazz, modern, or post-modern movements. The choreography should be innovative and fresh, as well as an interpretation of the music itself. This category is designed for routines that incorporate modern elements with both classical and non-classical movement.

Open Category will now be a 3 minute time limit and include styles of dance that do not fall under another category, ex., Folkloric, Ballet, Ethnic or a combination of 3 or more styles of dance.

SHOW PRODUCTION : Show Production category will be a themed production that has some staging and props to carry out a theme and can include any style or combination of styles of dance. The dancers must consist only of grade eligible students from your school (no one outside your school). The time limit for this category is 10 minutes inclusive (set up, performance, break down). Penalties will be incurred for teams exceeding the 10 minute limit. Begining in 2016, Show Production will be a separate division and cannot count as one of your team events that goes towards Best in Class, Team State or National Championship. It can be recognized for Judges Award and earn a divisional trophy at Regional competitions, and be eligible for State or National Champion in Show Production at state and national competition. All Show routines will be combined in this division with no separation for team size, etc. There is a different entry fee for Show Production than the other team categories.

Performance Schedule: A 5 point penalty will be assessed to teams not ready to perform when scheduled unless the delay is caused by a technical problem in the competition. This will be determined by the officials conducting the competition. If the competition is running ahead of schedule, teams will have the option of performing early or waiting until their scheduled time but no later.

Late Entry additional fees: Any entries received after the registration deadline (3 weeks prior to the contest date) will be charged a $25 late fee for each team, officer, ensemble, and solo routine entered.

Late cancellations: Any team that drops events after the schedule has been made will still be responsible for those entry fees unless cancellation has been approved by the contest administrator.


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