A MESSAGE FROM OUR FOUNDER

Born out of a life changing loss of a loved one, I introduced DECAdance Competition to the world in 2019. Driven by a slow but steady energy to transmute my grief into something good, I spent four years researching and listening to active participants in the dance competition space - learning new insights that supplemented my own experiences within the industry.

Since 2016, a support network has grown around me to include some of the most innovative experts in our industry and many of those original friends and collaborators still walk (read: hustle) by my side at every event we produce. Although DECAdance Competition celebrates five years of service to artists in 2024, we’ve been building it for close to a decade.

As a new mother myself, I have a deep passion for creating experiences where children feel considered, supported, and celebrated at whatever life cycle they’re in. I want our minis to feel motivated, our juniors to feel jazzed, and our seniors to feel savvy and prepared for their next adventures. I used these aspirations as my driving force for creating the DECAdifference - our four-judge panel, our distinctive scoring system with weighted technique scores and live critiques, our fully sprung O’mara dance floor, our tenured team, and our educational events for all levels and ages.

I hope you’ll join us at an event this year as we celebrate five years of DECAdance Competition, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone in this industry who makes dance possible.

Thanks for joining us on the journey!

Samantha Tirone O'Neil (and baby Maxine!)

LEARN ABOUT DECADANCE ADJUDICATION

Genre-Specific | Four Judge Panel

Live Critiques | Proprietary Scoring

With our distinctive method of adjudication, dancers and their choreographers get more genre-specific technique scores plus they are guaranteed to receive feedback from a pre-screened judge who is an expert in the genre they’re competing in because we staff every judge’s panel to ensure it - ACRO, TAP, + HIP HOP INCLUDED!

With our inception, DECAdance Competition introduced a four-judge panel where each judge is assigned genres that align with their specialty as educators. As is industry standard, every judge critiques every piece at all our events and they all contribute a complete score that ranks technique, performance, choreography, age appropriateness and level of difficulty, however the DECAdifference is how we tabulate.

The technique score from the judge that specializes in each specific genre carries a higher rank in the overall tabulation - and their critique is even offered live for soloists in that category! For instance, a group jazz routine will receive critiques and scores from all four judges, but the technique score from the judge designated to the jazz genre carries more weight. If the piece is a solo, in addition to the weighted technique score from the jazz judge, the dancer receives 30-45 seconds of live feedback from that jazz-specific judge.

It is in these moments, watching that dancer’s face and posture change as they receive true one-to-one direction from someone who speaks their language that we are reminded how magical this industry really is. These moments are why we built DECAdance, and they are the guiding lights that keep our team dancing forward whenever challenges present themselves along our path.

With our inception, DECAdance Competition introduced a four-judge panel where each judge is assigned genres that align with their specialty as educators. As is industry standard, every judge critiques every piece at all our events and they all contribute a complete score that ranks technique, performance, choreography, age appropriateness and level of difficulty, however the DECAdifference is how we tabulate.

The technique score from the judge that specializes in each specific genre carries a higher rank in the overall tabulation - and their critique is even offered live for soloists in that category. For instance, a group jazz routine will receive critiques and scores from all four judges, but the technique score from the judge designated to the jazz genre carries more weight. If the piece is a solo, in addition to the weighted technique score from the jazz judge, the dancer receives 30-45 seconds of live feedback from that jazz-specific judge.

It is in these moments, watching that dancer’s face and posture change as they receive true one-to-one direction from someone who speaks their language that we are reminded how magical this industry really is. These moments are why we built DECAdance, and they are the guiding lights that keep our team dancing forward whenever challenges present themselves along our path.

We’re proud to employ in-house DECAdance Competition judges who dancers have come to recognize and respond to year after year. At DECAdance we really recognize that trust is built when dancers feel seen and considered in the evolution of our industry. Part of that evolution is honoring the needs of educators and adjudicators, providing them consistent work with competitive compensation. In supporting our judges with steady opportunity and all-star treatment, we in turn support our attendees with dependable role models they can connect with season after season. And we don’t stop there.

To supplement our in-house judges, we staff every panel with judges from Impact Dance Adjudicators, a nationally-recognized service that provides pre-screened judges who are working in the industry as professional educators, choreographers, and performers right now. Their insights are relevant, compassionate and backed by years of experience in the performing arts industry. Especially crucial for dancers who wish to pursue their artistry beyond graduation, our combination of in-house and IDA judges provides guidance that will serve dancers who seek to navigate the entertainment industry as professionals.

PRIORITIZING DECADANCER HEALTH AND SAFETY

Tenured Team | Fully Sprung Dance Floor | Conscious Planning | Industry Partnerships

We’re proud to employ in-house DECAdance Competition judges who dancers have come to recognize and respond to year after year. At DECAdance we really recognize that trust is built when dancers feel seen and considered in the evolution of our industry. Part of that evolution is honoring the needs of educators and adjudicators, providing them consistent work with competitive compensation. In supporting our judges with steady opportunity and all-star treatment, we in turn support our attendees with dependable role models they can connect with season after season. And we don’t stop there.

To supplement our in-house judges, we staff every panel with judges from Impact Dance Adjudicators, a nationally-recognized service that provides pre-screened judges who are working in the industry as professional educators, choreographers, and performers right now. Their insights are relevant, compassionate and backed by years of experience in the performing arts industry. Especially crucial for dancers who wish to pursue their artistry beyond graduation, our combination of in-house and IDA judges provides guidance that will serve dancers who seek to navigate the entertainment industry as professionals.

PRIORITIZING DECADANCER SAFETY

Health-Focused Partnerships

Tenured Team | Conscious Planning

Fully Sprung Dance Floor

FULLY SPRUNG O'MARA DANCE FLOOR

As dancers ourselves, we know what it's like to leave everything we have on the stage when we perform. DECAdance is honored to provide a dance surface that works in response to this energy by offering a fully sprung dance floor at every event - a handcrafted stage that literally gives back to dancers as they move.

Our 40x30 foot birch wood O'mara sprung floor is laid carefully at each and every event by our DECA Dream Team. The floor was built by hand just for DECAdance Competition and “un”convention by fellow family-owned business, O’Mara Sprung Floors located in Flint, Michigan!

Providing this floor for our DECAdancers - meeting them with the same commitment to their bodies as they bring to their performances - has been a five year dream in the making! Although DECAdance is the first US dance competition to offer the opportunity to compete on a sprung dance floor, we do not wish to be the only ones to do so. By making this investment into dancer health, we hope to inspire a shift throughout the industry. And in the meantime, we feel so grateful to provide dancers of all ages, levels and genres

a literal safe place to land

throughout their weekends with us.

Tap dancers and choreographers rejoice!

Sound quality? Check. Injury prevention? Double check!!

BACKGROUND-CHECKED, TENURED TEAM

From our software engineer who created our distinctive DECAdance scoring system to our backstage staff and crew, we're proud to call our team professional and steadfast. Most of our staff have been with us since inception, recognizable season after season by studio owners, dancers and families.

DRESSING ROOM MONITORING + BACKSTAGE PASSES

In addition to our carefully monitored dressing rooms, we also provide a family dressing room for those needing a place that is gender neutral and private. Backstage passes are issued for dancers and studio staff to ensure there are no unauthorized attendees in our backstage area.

PASSWORD PROTECTED LIVE STREAMS

Professional photography and videography are complimentary at regional DECAdance events, but we also monitor our livestream to ensure viewers are familiar and safe. Our livestream feed is password protected to ensure studio owners are the only folks with the ability to share that information with their studio.

FULLY SPRUNG O'MARA DANCE FLOOR

As dancers ourselves, we know what it's like to leave everything we have on the stage when we perform. DECAdance is honored to provide a dance surface that works
in response to this energy by offering a fully sprung dance floor at every event- a handcrafted stage that literally gives back to dancers as they move.

Our 40x30 foot birch wood O'mara sprung floor is laid carefully at each and every event by our DECA Dream Team. The floor was built by hand just for DECAdance Competition and “un”convention by fellow family-owned business, O’Mara Sprung Floors located in Flint, Michigan!

Providing this floor for our DECAdancers - meeting them with the same commitment to their bodies as they bring to their performances - has been a five year dream in the making! Although DECAdance is the first US dance competition to offer the opportunity to compete on a sprung dance floor, we do not wish to be the only ones to do so. By making this investment into dancer health, we hope to inspire a shift throughout the industry. And in the meantime, we feel so grateful to provide dancers of all ages, levels and genres a literal safe place to land throughout their weekends with us.

Tap dancers and choreographers rejoice!

Sound quality? Check. Injury prevention? Double check!!

  • BACKGROUND-CHECKED, TENURED TEAM

From our software engineer who created our distinctive DECAdance scoring system to our backstage staff and crew, we're proud to call our team professional and steadfast. Most of our staff have been with us since inception, recognizable season after season by studio owners, dancers and families.

  • DRESSING ROOM MONITORING + BACKSTAGE PASSES

In addition to our carefully monitored dressing rooms, we also provide a family dressing room for those needing a place that is gender neutral and private. Backstage passes are issued for dancers and studio staff to ensure there are no unauthorized attendees in our backstage area.

  • PASSWORD PROTECTED LIVE STREAMS

Professional photography and videography are complimentary at regional DECAdance events, but we also monitor our livestream to ensure viewers are familiar and safe. Our livestream feed is password protected to ensure studio owners are the only folks with the ability to share that information with their studio.

COLLABORATION CREATES COMMUNITY

We are proud to partner with these amazing industry leaders who are paving the way for a healthy and inclusive dance industry for ALL. Not just dancers, but adjudicators, studio owners, artistic leaders, educators, families and their communities as well.

Read more about our partnerships and their contributions to DECAdance Conventions and Competitions here!

GET IN TOUCH

If you are ready to reserve a competition date or have any questions, let us know!

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